American Brewer Spring 2012 : Page 20
McMenamins and Rogue have high price points. The owners of both companies attribute their pricing to the quality ingredients used. McMenamins serves hormone-free Oregon Country beef, and Rogue has a line of Kobe beef burgers and hot dogs. “The way we make our beer and what we put in it is expensive,” Joyce says of the price point of Rogue’s beer. “I think the price reflects quality,” says Brian McMenamin. “Prices aren’t dictated by our projects, but by the products that go into it. To get products made locally is more expensive.” So whither The Nation and The Kingdom? Distilling, and the interplay of spirits, beer and wine, seems to stand out as the focus of both companies. McMenamins recently added a 150-year-old cognac still to its Cornelius Pass location. Brian McMenamin is excited about the possibilities of using wine and spirits barrels for aging beers at Edgefield, and vice versa. Rogue has released its Dead Guy whiskey, made from the beer of the same name. It’s also introduced John John, a barrel-aged version of Dead Guy Ale, as well as John John Juniper, a pale ale aged in Rogue gin barrels. “Craft spirits are where craft beer was 20 years ago,” says Joyce, whose company has just purchased a 500-gallon still to add to the 150bbl distillery in Newport. “In 2003 we were one of the first five in the U.S. Now there are over 250 craft distilleries. The market hasn’t quite caught the fever yet, like it has with craft beer and wine. I think ultimately craft spirits will have its revolution.” Joyce foresees putting “a unique twist to styles, with local flavors.” McMenamins Hogshead does just that. The single-malt whiskey is a Northwest original, not discernably bourbon, Scotch PHOTO COURTESY OF ROGUE or Irish in inspiration. McMenamins has also released Monkey Puzzle, a dry-hopped whiskey with estate honey. As the heirs to the Kingdom and the Nation come into their own, there are sure to be more creative homegrown beverages, and more pubs to enjoy them in. It’s the Oregon way, after all.