I think my excitement walking in and seeing the Empress on the beer board made me come across quite strange to the waitress that approached me, but once she realised I liked beer and was there for the Empress, she soon got me seated and with a glass of the good stuff. I am not sure if the pour was so good on the first one, or if after a week at the bar the beer was just not as fresh, but there was a bit of a chalky flavour in the beer, much like when we added too much cocoa powder to one of the choc porters Stass and I made. The texture was also a little off with it a bit watery and the flavours were separated a bit, but still had enough velvety chocolate heading into liquorice before the alcohol hits towards the back.
Looking over the food menu I saw they had a black pudding with apple slices and ginger sauce, and seeing I had a pretty dark beer, this was probably as close as I could get a meal that would suit the beer. However, I then realised they also had the Rogue's Dead Guy Ale, which while is probably the most accessible of the Rogue's beers, is one I had not tried before, so decided to break up my Empress journey with the glass of this over dinner.
Expecting a pretty hoppy beer from Rogue's, I was happily surprised to find it flavourful and pretty easy drinking. A nice, maybe mainly krystal sweet malt front, melded great into citrus hops with no lingering aftertaste. Flavourful but not overpowering, was surprised with the lovely balance of the beer. Maybe I am starting only to remember the big hoppy beers from my trip to the N/W of the US.
The black pudding itself was really good too. Was surprised to see so much apple slices next to the pud, but after seeing how flavourful and creamy it was, found it took a lot of apple to give a really good balanced taste overall. I did make this comment to the waitress, and she did explain how they got it so creamy, but once I got back onto the Empress for my final beer I had forgotten what she had said.
As you can see from the photo, the second pouring of the Empress went pretty well (though I think the keg was nearly out as it took a while for the barman to get it to me after a few pour-and-settles), and could get really lost in the beer. Now I just have to wait til Slowbeer get it on the growlers and Holgate finally put it into bottles.
Great beer, great food and great service make this a well worthy place to visit, and I look forward to getting back to Josie Bones when Mick can make it, to see what other beers come across their bar.