This review comes with a heavy heart upon learning that Rogue Ales cofounder Jack Joyce passed away recently in Hawaii on May 28, 2014 due to a heart attack. He was just 71.
Jack Joyce had an incredible career, serving 15 years as a successful attorney in criminal defense and construction litigation in Corvallis, Oregon. In the early 80’s he then went on to become a top level marketing executive for Nike. It was there at Nike where he met and became close friends with Bob Woodell and Rob Strasser, also top level executives who would eventually leave Nike and partner with Jack to start Rogue Ales & Spirits in 1988 in Ashland, and then Newport, Oregon. Rogue has since gone on to win many awards and respect within the American craft brew community.
On a personal note, I had the pleasure of having several one-on-one chats with Mr. Joyce at Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii Kai where he’d drop in every now and then to chat with “the Hawaii Kai boys”. This, being he spent lots of time in Hawaii at his part-time home in Portlock on Oahu’s east side. And he was exactly in person as how they describe him in many interviews and articles: he called a spade a spade, saying whatever what was on his mind. You heard it straight up from Jack, B.S. need not apply. At the same time, he was very generous, buying all the boys rounds every time he came into KBC HK.
Let me just say, Jack had a profound impact on me from a motivational aspect, even with the brief conversations I’ve had the fortune to have with him.
The also late and great local Journalist John Heckathorn did a great article for Hawaii Magazine on how Side Street Inn Ale by Rogue came to be, with Jack walking into Side Street Inn one day and approaching owner and Chef Collin Nishida with a bottle of the stuff by surprise. Jack’s motto was all about businesses that give back to the community, and he recognized that with Colin’s business ethic at Side Street Inn, hence being rewarded with their own signature Side Street Inn Ale by Rogue. Nice!
And being Rogue is not just their name, but also their business model, as most of Rogue’s bottled brews distributed for retail are in “rogue-sized” 22 oz. bottles, including this here Side Street Inn Ale. And they’re NOT cheap, with this one going for a 2-finger head swiping $8.49. Ouch. And this is from a store, not even within the cozy, service-friendly confines of a brew pub!
Let’s take a complete look at Rogue’s Side Street Inn Ale 22 oz. bottle from all angles…
Ahh, you can see where the label design came from, which was a story that ran in the Honolulu Star Bulletin (remember them?)…
The icons below the ingredients and description suggest this beer is excellent when paired with either pork or fish.
Below the recommended pairing icons are beer specifications usually only included on craft brews such as this, including PLATO, IBUs and AA. Here’s what that means:
Plato – This indicates the ratio of fermentable sugars to water in the beer. It’s based on the specific gravity (the gravity/density of the beer at any given time), and is given in degrees.
IBU – International Bittering Units. This refers to the amount of isomerized hop resins in the beer, and is given in parts per million. Essentially, the higher this number, the more hoppy the beer.
AA – Attenuation is a measure of the degree to which sugar in wort has been fermented into alcohol in beer. Ceteris paribus, a sweet beer has more residual sugar and lower attenuation. Hydrometer measurements of the specific gravity before fermentation and after fermentation are used to determine attenuation. However, the residual sugars are not in a solution of pure water; rather they are in solution with water and ethanol, which has a density of 0.79 g/ml. Thus, many brewers give a number which must be called the “Apparent Attenuation” (AA)
160L – L stands for lovibond. t’s a scale that measures how dark the malt is. The higher the lovibond, the darker the malt. Darker crystal malts will add more color and “darker” type caramel/toffee flavors.
Surprisingly Rogue doesn’t indicate AV, meaning alcohol by volume, where this Side Street Inn seems quite high, no pun intended.
The cap (same for all bottled flavors)…
The label also clearly states “DEDICATED TO COLIN AND HIS PORK CHOPS”, so it looks like we’re going to have to sample this with Colin’s Pork Chops! Except this time I’m going to attempt making it myself using Colin Nishida’s Side Street Inn recipe the Honolulu Star Bulletin provided:
Side Street Inn Pork Chops
2 tablespoons garlic salt
2 tablespoons pepper
1-1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup cornstarch
4 7-ounce fresh island pork chops, about 1-1/2 inches thick
1 cup cottonseed oil
Combine garlic salt, pepper, flour and cornstarch. Coat chops well in the mixture. Heat oil in a skillet. Fry chops about 10 minutes, turning frequently until browned.
Cut meat from the bones and slice the chops into bite-sized pieces. Serve over shredded cabbage with ketchup on the side. Include bones for gnawing. Serves 4.
That said, let’s walk through making Side Street Inn’s famous Pork Chops at home, starting with 1.23 pounds of center-cut loin pork chops (2 pieces) @ 3.89/lb. ($4.89 total), with a 1″ thick cut (thickness is key!)…
While the recipe didn’t call for it, I went out of the way and additionally seasoned these buggahz with Hawaiian Salt and Fresh Crack Black on just one side….
Coat these bad boys in the seasoned flour and cornstarch mixture as Chef Colin Nishida’s recipe calls for…
The TRICK after this, is to let the flour and cornstarch battered pork chops sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before frying, to let the cornstarch break down the enzymes in the protein fibers of the pork meat, which helps to tenderize and further flavor it. This is an “Ancient Chinese Secret” in getting meat buttery tender… and so easy! “Ancient Chinese Secret”… remember that TV commercial?! If you do, then you’re old like me. Sigh. lol
Remove pork chops from refrigerator and bring them to just below room temp’ before putting them in the fryer, which in my case, I used an old beat-up pan, as I couldn’t find my trusty cast iron pan at the time. That’s OK, just get ‘er done….
Fry until “GBD” (Golden Brown Delicious) on both sides, then remove to plate layered with paper towels to absorb all the excess oil…
In the mean time, I also made Ho Farms Tomato Tako Poke to go along for the Side Street Inn Ale ride…
That there is Tako (Octopus that’s been boiled and sliced), Ho Farms assorted heirloom and hybrid Cherry and Grape Tomatoes (sliced in half to let loose the juices) and a generous helping of chopped Green Onion.
Tossed and mixed to coat evenly with Yamasa Shoyu, Sesame Oil and Mirin TO TASTE…
And Voila, a Rogue Side Street Inn Ale, served with homemade Side Street Inn Pork Chops and Ho Farms Tomatoes Tako Poke…
Hoooohhh, da’ buggah look ono!
Note, instead of regular cabbage as noted in Side Street Inn’s recipe, I used chopped Chinese Bak Choy as the bed under the fried pork chops, as that’s what I had on-hand.
Let’s zoom in…
Note it’s served with good ‘ole Ketchup, which pretty much rounds out this dish as what Tutu (grandma) would have served you back in the day. This my friends is truly home style comfort food from mom or tutu’s kitchen at its best!
Let’s check out that Ho Farms Tomato Tako Poke I made to go along with this…
Pfft. Dude, I must admit, I totally NAILED Side Street Inn’s AMAZING homestyle Pork Chops on this very first attempt at D-I-Y. Winnah-winnah Pork Chops Dinnah, my friends!
The key was that I seasoned the pork with Hawaiian Salt and Fresh Crack Black before coating it in the seasoned flour and cornstarch batter. Also, letting it sit in the refrigerator for an hour to let the cornstarch work its magic in tenderizing the pork.
As for the Ho Farms Tomato Tako Poke, the mirin was the magic, countering the acidity from the juices leaked out of the tomatoes. KILLER Tomato Tako Poke, that’s all I gotta’ say.
Oh, that’s right, this is all about Rogue’s Side Street Inn Ale!
It held a two-finger head for a short while, with minimal lace afterwards.
It’s definitely hoppy and bold, with an in-your-face characteristic. I wouldn’t say smooth, but more connoisseur. In other words, you’ll either love or hate it. I personally LOVE IT, as it fits right within what I consider a finely crafted beer that stands up not only to my palate without food, but also with something rich such as Side Street Inn’s awesome Pork Chops. Even better when adding the ketchup for that fruity-meets-acidic accent.
Summing it up, I really, really enjoyed Rogue’s Side Street Inn Ale, paired both with Side Street Inn’s famous Pork Chops, as well as my very own Ho Farms Tomato Tako Poke. It’s bold, rich, full-bodied, and can stand up to any in-your-face dish you can throw at it, just as the late and great Jack Joyce could do.
In loving memory of Jack Joyce.
More related links:
• Side Street Inn Ale by Rogue Ales – BeerAdvocate.com user reviews