This beer is never available here. But even if it were, every sip would still be a special occasion all on its own. It's that spectacular.
Maple Bacon Ale is something all of Ontario should view with awe - not only because of its apple-wood-smoked bacon and maple flavours but because of the gleaming triumph it represents for Portland's economy. Craft breweries in Ontario don't have this level of success, but only because they lack the opportunity of Rogue Ales.
There are 49 craft breweries within Portland's city limits, and many, many more outside the metro area, says the Oregon Brewers Guild. Close to half of all draft beer in Oregon is made in state by craft breweries. These small brewers bring an estimated $2.4 billion into the economy.
Contrast that to Ontario, with four times the population. We have about 30 craft breweries in the entire province, but many of their beers are not available for purchase in Toronto. The real travesty is that our local suds, as good as anything in Oregon, are equally hard to get.
This is due to the legally sanctioned, monopolistic Brewers Retail, a cartel that "protects" Ontarians from craft brewers while serving us mass-produced swill.
Brewers Retail is a joint venture owned by Labatt, Molson Coors and Sleeman. All three of those shareholders, since incorporating Brewers Retail in 1927, have been bought out by multinationals but continue to brew under those names to keep the monopoly agreement alive.
Unless a beer product is brewed by one of those three shareholders, it must pay a listing fee to be sold in the Beer Store, where Ontarians buy the majority of their beer. This is a price so high that it's out of reach for many start-up breweries.
This system of beer distribution has few supporters apart from its shareholders and their beneficiaries.
Oregon, too, had anachronistic, nonsensical beer laws. Breweries weren't allowed to sell beer directly to the public for much of the last century. But in 1985, Oregon legalized direct sales, and you can scroll back a few paragraphs in this article to see the results.
The situation in Ontario is unjust. We favour large multinationals over small, local and potentially lucrative businesses. And there's no change in sight. We're likely to see democracy in North Korea before we see the dismantling of Brewers Retail. So how do we get from Toronto to Portland, metaphorically speaking?
Look no further than the big pink bottle of bacon beer. On its side, it lists just 13 natural, lip-smacking ingredients, including bacon.
Compare that to what's in corporate beer in Ontario. Wait - you can't, because no ingredients are listed. The mega-breweries don't have to let anyone know what's in those generic brown bottles.
When you list ingredients on bottles, the superiority of craft beer is on display, as is all the cheap filler the corporate beers use. (For example, do mainstream beer drinkers know they're drinking corn products?)
If enough consumers realized what they were drinking, more of us would crave craft beers. And more demand requires more direct access to buy the beers.
Listing ingredients is an incremental change, granted. But countless protests have failed to change Ontario's anti-small-business beer monopoly.
Of course, the easiest protest is to try a different tap, tell the barkeep how much you like Ontario's craft beer and hoist a pint in the air for real beer.