Morimoto Hazelnut an ale tasty enough to warm souls near and far

Jim Lundstrom

Rogue Ales Newport, Ore.

Palm Harbor, Fla., reader Dick Bauman e-mailed to ask if I had tried Rogue’s Hazelnut Ale.
“Here in Florida it’s one of our favorites, even though it’s from Oregon,” he wrote.
“I have a great fondness for good micro beers and make a point to try to find new ones,” Bauman wrote. “I have been a fan of micros since the mid ’80s and enjoy the good ones whenever we find them.”
I wrote back to Bauman that I had tried Rogue’s Hazelnut in the past, and would revisit on his recommendation.
I went to the liquor store and picked up a bottle of Rogue’s Morimoto Hazelnut, not realizing that Bauman might have been talking about Rogue’s other nutty beer, HazelNut Brown Nectar.
HazelNut Brown Nectar was a tribute to a similar beer made by a homebrewer for the 1993 American Homebrewers Association convention.
Morimoto Hazelnut is part of a Signature Series of ales launched by the brewery several years ago, this one celebrating Chef Masaharu Morimoto, one of the stars of the Iron Chef series on the Food Network.
Seven different grains, hazelnut extract and two kinds of hops are used to brew this tasty beer.
The aroma of hazelnuts wafts out as soon as you crack the seal on the bottle. The hazelnut flavor is distinct, but does not overpower the brown ale to which it is wedded.
Bauman, a former Wisconsinite, said he is able to drink Rogue’s hazelnut on tap at a sports bar/brewery in Palm Harbor that “has at least 99 micros on hand at any given time.”
“We continue to look this area over for ones that we like and there does seem to be many to choose from,” he wrote. “We have five or six microbreweries within five miles of our home and more are being planned, so this seems to be a great area for micros.”
Funny, I always thought of Florida as a wash when it came to beer. I thought it would be filled with those light beer-drinking people who actually don’t like the taste of real beer. Good to hear I was wrong.