Feb. 27, 2013 - Issue #906: Tegan and Sara - Pop goes their world
Knock you on your Butte beer
Late 2012 and early 2013 have been good times for Alberta. I cannot tell you how many world-class craft beer have entered our market in recent months. I have written about a few lately, but I am not nearly done. In recent weeks, one of my faves among the new entrants is from one of the United States' craft beer pioneers, Deschutes Brewery from Oregon.
Deschutes opened in 1988, which was a hard time to start a craft brewery. To make things worse, their flagship was a dark, roasty ale—which you might think would be death for a newbie brewery, but somehow it worked. They have gone on to produce a large number of quality craft beer, and have become the States' fifth-largest craft brewery, dwarfing almost every brewery we have in Canada.
But that shouldn't diminish our appreciation for their beer. Their flagship is Black Butte Porter—named after the mountain near the brewery—one of the two beer they have sent our way. I had a small sample of Black Butte a couple years back at a conference and when I heard it was here permanently, I did a little happy dance. I don't normally give away my impression of a beer before describing it, but in this case I will make an exception. But let me describe it before I go further.
It pours a rich, dark brown, voluminous tan head that finds a way to hang around through the whole glass. The aroma is dominated by dark chocolate, accented by hazelnut, dark fruit and touches of lightly roasted coffee.
The front of the flavour is chocolate, burnt caramel, brown sugar and a generic fruitiness. The beer dries out as it works its way back, as a light roast and a burnt-almond flavour come to the front. Yet the beer holds some sweetness, preventing it from becoming too stout-like.
Porters were the world's first mega-beer, a huge hit among the English working classes in the 1700s, but they died out about 100 years ago. We owe a thank you to Deschutes and others for resurrecting this classic style. And I think I can say, as someone who wasn't around in the 1700s, that this is what a porter should taste like.
I plan on returning to this beer often. It walks that delicate line between brown ale and stout, without being too rich or too roasty. All told, a lovely example of a porter. V
Black Butte Porter
Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon
$20.15 per six pack
Jason Foster is the creator of onbeer.org, a website devoted to news and views on beer from the prairies and beyond.
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