Tasting Notes: Counter Currant from Rogue Ales

RogueCounterCurrantPour_editedTasting Notes is back to close out yet another week and this time around we are focusing our attention on Counter Currant from Rogue Ales (Newport, Oregon).

Born out of inspiration sourced from the black currants grown at Rogue FarmsCounter Currant is a “ground to glass” Fruit Beer that features “rich flavors of black currant and a dry, tart finish.” Light in body and a “deep purple in color”, Counter Currant (6.4% ABV) is an eye-catching, “food-friendly” brew that will be at home on just about any table during the holiday season.

Counter Currant launched earlier this month and will be available through February 2019.  You can expect to find this Seasonal Release available in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Oregon and throughout the rest of Rogue’s nationwide distribution area.

Now that we are all a bit more familiar with this beer’s background, let’s dive into these Tasting Notes and see where the Counter Currant takes us!

Tasting Notes for Counter Currant from Rogue Ales

Appearance:  A gentle pour produces a beer that is an incredibly rich purple in color and wearing over two fingers of dense, dark pink foam that rises well above the brim of the glass.  When held to direct light, garnet tones push through to add a pop of vibrancy.  The beer is far too dark to provide any visual indication of the carbonation level.  Head retention is fantastic, falling ever so slowly to a creamy 1/4 finger top cap that leaves some seriously chunky lace patterns on the glass after each sip.

Aroma:  The first thing to hit the nose is an aroma that is strikingly similar to straight up cranberry juice.  This opens further to offer a bright note of black currant and a slightly sweeter presence of blackberry and blueberry.  An earthy and slightly spicy hop character comes in near the end of the profile to attempt some balance, but this beer is all about a sublime level of fruitiness here.

Taste:  Black currant is quick to grab the palate with a sharp level of tartness and a slightly tannic presence.  This sharpness is rapidly tempered with a rush of sweetness that takes the form of blackberry jam and cranberry cocktail.  Earthy hops mingle with those tannic notes to offer equal parts balance and support.  A bit of biscuity malt slides in near the finish but is quickly lost in all this tart and tangy fruitiness.

Mouthfeel:  On the lighter side of medium in body with a middling carbonation level, Counter Currant has a nice weight to it and a silken texture on the palate.  The beer’s tart, tangy and sweet notes all work together to find a sense of balance and achieve a pretty dry finish.  The ABV is nicely masked by the tartness and does not feel anywhere near 6.4%.  The aftertaste is all berry goodness.

Final Thoughts: After finishing off this glass, one thing has become quite clear: Counter Currant pulls zero punches and does all that it can to let every characteristic of the black currant shine.  This beer is considerably tart/sour – almost aggressively – and it does not appear that Rogue wanted to avoid that for the sake of accessibility.  Instead, they put themselves out there, focused on the main ingredient, and just allowed those black currants to do their thing.  This was a risk for Rogue and we could not be happier that they took it.  It shows that a brewery of their size is still willing to take a chance by embracing an assertive ingredient/flavor profile to produce a beautiful and memorable beer.  We may have already used this word in the description above, but “sublime” is truly the best way to describe Counter Currant.  Be sure to give it a shot before its Seasonal run comes to an end in February.  Prost!