The OGs of Craft Beer | Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Rogue Ales & Spirits Dead Guy Ale first emerged in 1990 during a special November 1 Dia de los Metros (Day of the Dead) celebration at Casa U-Betcha, a Tex-Mex restaurant in Portland, Oregon. For the rest of us, the beer came into our lives in 1994 during the Clinton Administration, the first season of Friends, and 14 years before Facebook arrived. Nevertheless, even after its nearly 25 years of roaming the craft world there’s nothing dead about Dead Guy Ale.
The beer received an extra boost in early 2017 when Rogue decided to can the beer for the first time and update its label artwork. Indeed, the beer has grown so iconic that one will not find the name “Dead Guy” anywhere on the cans because most every drinker knows the beer simply by the Dead Guy imagery.
Dead Guy Ale
ABV: 6.8% | IBU: 40
Style: German Maibock in style, but an ale that includes Rogue Farms proprietary Pacman yeast,
Ingredients: 2-Row, C15, Munich & Rogue Farms Dare™ and Risk™ Malts; Perle & Sterling Hops; Free Range Coastal Water & Pacman Yeast.
First, you might wonder: What is a Maibock?
The Bock style—a lager—dates back several centuries. Traditionally, Maibocks (or Helles Bock) were brewed in spring (Mai = May) and offered beer drinkers respite from the onslaught of darker beers (including its Bock sibling) produced during the winter.
Rogue Dead Guy, though, marches to the beat of its own drum. In addition to its fall release, the beer is an ale, not a lager. And, rather than offer fans a break from darker beers, it played counterpoint to the influx of hoppy ales emerging on the West Coast at that time.
Dead Guy Ale enjoys a light to medium body and pours cloudy with a color comparable to deep honey, but with a reddish-hue. The predominantly malt-forward beer enjoys lovely breadiness and nutiness, but the notes of toffee or caramel sweetness shines in Dead Guy Ale. The level of booziness (6.8% ABV) found in the beer along with an ever-so-subtle bitter hoppy flavor provides structure to Rogue Dead Guy Ale.
In the end, Dead Guy exists as a simple, malt-forward beer that’s exceptionally easy to drink, and a wonderful accompaniment to a variety of meals; this beer won’t come close to wrecking your palate.
What makes Dead Guy Ale an OG?
It’s somewhat fitting that Rogue Dead Guy is attached to Día De Los Muertos. Although Mexicans celebrate it on November 1 (and Americans use it as en excuse to extend its Halloween celebrations). The holiday was originally celebrated by Aztecs to commemorate the seasonal harvest in late-August. The holiday evolved, and so has Rogue. In addition to expanding its beer portfolio and adding distillation to its repertoire, the folks at Rogue also proudly own and manages Rogue Farms. Hence, the beer that celebrates a day once attached to a seasonal harvest now comes from a brewery that manages its own harvest. How apropos!
Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. What is not a stretch is the beer’s relevancy within the craft beer world. It seems implausible that anyone could think of Rogue without also thinking about Dead Guy Ale, and not because it used to be good, but because it has always been good.
Rogue Dead Guy did what many craft beers have done, it dually re-acquainted beer drinkers with styles that had vanished from the American beer scene during the 20th century while also demonstrating innovation that would drive the industry to its boom time —and that’s what makes it one of the OGs of Craft Beer.
When Rogue Dead Guy arrived, only a few hundred breweries operated—modern craft beer was very much in its infancy, but Rogue Dead Guy Ale remains the same today as it was yesterday—a really tasty beer.
And it has the hardware to prove it.
|1994||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Bronze|
|1995||California Beer Festival||Dead Guy Ale||2nd|
|1996||Underground Wine Journal Great American Microbrew Awards||Dead Guy Ale||Bronze|
|1996||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Bronze|
|1999||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Silver|
|2002||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Silver|
|2003||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Gold|
|2004||Australian International Beer Awards||Dead Guy Ale||Bronze|
|2005||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Silver|
|2006||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Silver|
|2007||Great International Beer Festival||Dead Guy Ale||2nd|
|2007||NWBN Reader’s Choice Award||Dead Guy Ale||Best Bock|
|2007||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Silver|
|2008||Great International Beer Festival||Dead Guy Ale||2nd|
|2008||International Beer Challenge||Dead Guy Ale||Top 50|
|2008||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Gold (Best of 2008)|
|2009||Australian International Beer Awards||Dead Guy Ale||Bronze|
|2009||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Gold (Best of 2009)|
|2010||Asia Beer Award||Dead Guy Ale||Silver|
|2010||Australian International Beer Awards||Dead Guy Ale||Silver|
|2010||BrewNZ||Dead Guy Ale||Bronze|
|2010||Northwest Conference (Thirsty Beagle)||Dead Guy Ale||2nd|
|2011||Draft Magazine March Beer Madness||Dead Guy Ale||2nd|
|2011||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Gold (Best of 2011)|
|2012||Australian International Beer Awards||Dead Guy Ale||Bronze|
|2012||International Beverage Exposition & Competition||Dead Guy Ale||Bronze|
|2012||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Gold (Best of 2012)|
|2013||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Silver|
|2013||World Beverage Competition||Dead Guy Ale||Platinum, Best of Show|
|2014||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Silver|
|2015||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Gold|
|2015||Great International Beer & Cider Competition||Dead Guy Ale||First|
|2015||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Gold|
|2016||World Beer Championships||Dead Guy Ale||Gold|
|2016||San Diego International Beer Festival||Dead Guy Ale||Bronze|
|2016||Australian International Beer Awards||Dead Guy Ale||Bronze|
|2016||Great International Beer & Cider Competition||Dead Guy Ale||2nd|
|2016||World Beverage Competition||Dead Guy Ale||Bronze|
|2017||World Beer Awards||Dead Guy Ale||Best of US – Bock|
|2018||World Beverage Competition||Dead Guy Ale||Platinum|
|2018||New York International Beer Competition||Dead Guy Ale||Gold|
We at Porchdrinking.com thoroughly enjoy covering craft beer trends and showcasing the newest and beers. But, before terms like Brut, Milkshake, New England and even BBA entered the brewing-industry lexicon, beer fans were thrilled to taste Ambers, Pale Ales and some mysterious beer that may or may not have arrived from India. So, for one month, we are going to take time to remember some of those OGs of Craft Beer — the brews that made it all possible. While we can’t cover all the OGs of Craft Beer, we want to take this time in August to pay homage to several of them. If your favorite “classic” isn’t on the list; don’t fret. Let us know what you loved back in the day (or still do), and bring attention in the comments section below or via our social media channels.