Celebrity chef Morimoto partners with Rogue brewery

on 13/06/11 at 8:07 am

Beer

Celebrity chefs are nothing new to the American food scene, but over the past several years they have begun to pay more attention to beer. while I think this is good overall – especially as they begin to bring high quality craft beers into higher class establishments traditionally reserved for wine and liquor – it has also resulted in the permeation of their brands into the beer market.

The poster child for this is Morimoto’s collaboration with Rogue Brewing Company, which has brought at least four different beers under the Morimoto name to Philadelphia. according to Rogue’s website, three of these beers were brewed specifically for Morimoto (Soba Ale, Black Obi and Imperial Pilsner), while the fourth is simply a rebottling of Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar under the name Morimoto Hazelnut Brown. this fourth beer was the only one of the series in stock at the Foodery, so I decided to give it a chance.

Rogue Brewery opened in October 1988 as a brewpub in Ashland, Ore., by Jack Joyce, Bob Woodell and Rob Strasser. The company struggled at first and decided that if they were going to succeed they needed to expand beyond Ashland. Mohave Niemi, director of the Port of Newport, convinced Joyce to open up their second brewpub in a vacant storefront, which she rented to them on two conditions: that the brewery give back to the community once they were established, and that they always display a picture of her naked in a bathtub in the bar (and they still do, even after her death).

Masaharu Morimoto came to the United States in 1985 after operating a restaurant in Japan and quickly established himself in New York City. while working at an esteemed Japanese restaurant named Nobu, he gained fame from the TV show Iron Chef. In 2001, he opened his eponymous restaurant here in Philadelphia and he began working with Rogue to develop beers in 2005. this was a perfect fit for both parties, as Morimoto’s expertise is with fusion food styles and Rogue has always designed their beers to be consumed with food.

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