This week, I’ve finally broken down and purchased a 22-ounce bottle of Rogue’s Morimoto Soba Ale. For years, I’ve spotted it on shelves everywhere, but had always passed it up for something else. It’s been around for longer than I’ve been drinking beer, so I figured it was about time I gave it a try. I’ve had plenty of solid Rogue brews in the past, so I was expecting something good from this one. Plus, it has Morimoto’s name on it. That has to mean something, right?
If you don’t know, Morimoto is possibly best known for being an Iron Chef on both the original Japanese show and on Iron Chef America. His Culinary offerings are usually unique, to say the least. I expected as much out of his beer as well. There isn’t much I like more than an adventurous beer.
It poured a really light pale yellow color with a moderately sized white head which stuck around for a while before it settled. The bubbles that rose from the bottom to the top promised some amount of carbonation. It smelled slightly floral and citrus like with some fruit presence. Nothing overly impressive in either department.
The first sip was bland. I know no other way to say it. I swallowed and was left with just a slight saltiness lingering on the tongue and nothing else. I was really expecting something robust and bold, which I certainly did not get. I did, however, consider that there may be some delicacy of flavor that I was missing out on. Something that, perhaps, needed time to breath and open up on the tongue. Perhaps the beauty would be in its subtlety once I gave it a chance. After the Black IPA brewed by Stone that I had last night, it was certainly a possibility that I just needed to let my taste buds chill and linger on this one.
Twenty-two ounces later and I’m afraid my opinion is not that far removed from my first sip. It certainly did open up a bit and more flavors did come to the forefront. They were indeed subtle. Instead of a symphony of subdued notes that added up into some glorious whole, however, I had pallid flavors of floral citrus, malts, and a slight nutty finish. While it wasn’t bad by any means, it was also no where near as exciting as I had anticipated.
The bottle suggests it as a compliment to lighter cuisine, which I could understand. There is certainly no worries about it washing out any other flavors by being too strong. This would be the strength of this beer. Its light flavor paired with its light body and crispness give it a very drinkable character. It would make a decent palate cleanser and was also pleasantly refreshing.
Ultimately, I feel Rogue has better offerings. If you’re looking to entertain and are in need of a beer that won’t overshadow your food, this would be a pretty good bet. If you’re looking for something fun or interesting, go with one of their other brews, such as their hazelnut brown ale instead. As for myself, I’m going to go see if I have any more of that Black IPA left. If you need me, I’ll be digging in the fridge.