Interview with John C. Maier, Brewmaster at Rogue Ales (with Brewer,
Spokescreature and President of Rogue Nation since 1993)
By Jim Clarke
Jim Clarke: John, many microbrews seems to concentrate
on only a few brews – seven or eight, tops – but Rogue
seems unusually dedicated to creating a wide range of beers. Is
this just to practice your chops, or is there a philosophy behind
C. Maier: Rogue’s philosophy is that variety is the
spice of life.
How do you go about developing a new brew?
I get inspired in the wee hours of the morning when I’m
half asleep thinking about malt and hops and how to come up with
a new twist or a new beer style.
Brewer, does being a dog make it difficult for you to carry
out your responsibilities as the President of Rogue Nation?
No, I make it work to my advantage: barking, pawing, selective
hearing and licking are the tools that work for me.
If I may take a step back for a moment, what are your
I recruit new members and maintain peace in the Rogue Nation.
I also monitor the beer drinking levels of all members to make
sure par levels are maintained (the levels are top secret).
John, many of our readers come from a wine background,
and in winemaking the vineyard owner and winery are often the
same company. How closely do you work with your malt and hops
I work with our hop grower/broker closer than our malt supplier
as hops vary dramatically in availability and quality from year
to year; more so than barley.
Much is made of the importance of the Pacman yeast you
use; what makes it so important to Rogue’s beers?
Pacman gives us our house character. We ferment cold for ales
(60 degrees F). Pacman promotes maltiness therefore we can use
more hops and maintain balance.
Brewer, aside from going for walks, what other ways are you
and Rogue involved in the community?
I am Newport’s official beach patrol officer. I report any
suspicious activity. And dead sea lions.
John, how involved was Masahura Morimoto in developing the Signature
Series of beers?
He came to Newport and tested all of the beers. He picked
the soba and the nut brown and told me what twist to put on them.
Then we developed the Imperial Pilsner later.
Are any of your beers designed to match with specific foods?
Yes, the soba (Morimoto) is designed to go with Asian food.
One last question: Brewer, are you a stick, ball, or frisbee
My vet, Dr. Brown, told me that sticks give me the fiber I
need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.