Archive for Porter

#Beer world, prepare to be Chuck Norris’d…

Posted in Beer Reviews with tags , , , , , , on 07/18/2013 by beerbygarth

Yeah, this is happening…

I’m not going to bombard you with a litany of Chuck Norris jokes, no matter how hilarious.  Just assume automatically that they are all implied, in their entirety, and this allows you the freedom to insert your own favorites here and there.  Look, now we’re interactive.  How progressive!

I love spicy anything…to the point of self-harm.  When we lived in Portland (West Coast) we made a trip to a restaurant named Salvador Molly’s for the sole purpose of eating their Habanero Fritters because we saw them on Man Vs Food.  Two bites and my goddamn eyebrows were sweating, but they were delicious!  Point being, any kind of spice intrigues me greatly.  That being said, as I have gotten older, I have also come to appreciate the ability to balance said heat, rather than having ball melting inferno-ness completely on its own.  I see spicy beer, I am very interested.

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer pours a beautiful, rich, dark brown to black coloring that is just about opaque. A tall, frothy, dense, creamy, chocolate-brown colored head sits atop at about an inch and a half, and slowly settles into a firm, filmy surface coating that clings to everything it touches. Aromas of rich, creamy chocolate in the backbone, with a subtle, overlaying highlight of smoky and slightly spicy chipotle peppers. Smells pretty damn good, and well-balanced, too.  Something many spiced beers fall short of accomplishing, especially when heat-centric spices are involved.  Flavors of coffee and cream first, with a charred and spicy pepper profile following immediately. The pepper characteristics build rapidly as you drink, with a slowly cumulative heat. Oaky and earthy undertones throughout, which help give some layering to the brew. Spiced and peppery aftertaste, with a bittersweet chocolate backbone to it. Mid-bodied and fairly dry throughout, with a spicy, semisweet, thin finish that has a spicy linger to it. More so the more you drink.  This brew is definitely geared towards those heat inclined in regards to their palates, but is not so overbearing that it can’t be enjoyed by just about anyone.  Also, it was made for pairing with the spicy Mexican fare, in particular dishes made with the beauty that is the chipotle pepper.

So, maybe next Cinco de Mayo you quit being the typical gringo douche that loads up on Corona and picks up something with a little more substance and bite.  I mean, technically, it’s not from Mexico, but let’s not get too picky, eh?  If spice isn’t your thing, maybe don’t try this one, but hopefully this helps some folks realize that other interests and tastes (literally) can be found in the world of beer.  Fruit, hot peppers, wood, wine, etc…all characteristics that can be found in the craft beer world.  So get out there and fly your taste flag proudly…and as always, drink educated my friends!

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President’s #beer…

Posted in Beer Reviews with tags , , , , , on 02/20/2012 by beerbygarth

I actually put off posting for a day on purpose.  I was reading somewhere that George Washington’s beer of choice was the Porter, which absolutely makes sense given the Porter’s origins across the pond, from whence Washington came.  So, it only makes sense to talk about a Porter on President’s Day.  So, GW, whip out your wooden teeth and pony up to the bar…today we are pouring the Certified Organic Porter from the Eel River Brewing Company.

The Eel River Brewing Company can be found in Fortuna, CA, and they are the first ever fully certified organic brewery in the United States.  Using 100% renewable energy, they are churning out tasty brews with the most minimal of carbon footprints.  Their tagline of “Be Natural Drink Naked” pretty much says it all, and more information about Eel River can be found at their website (http://eelriverbrewing.com/welcome).  This was the brewery that introduced me to organic beers, and who better than the first organic brewery to have a beer representing the first president?  No one is better…that’s the answer that you are looking for…no one…so here we go.

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer pours black, with nut-brown highlights around the edges when held up to the light.  There is a very thin, filmy head atop the brew.  Very rich smells of butter and toffee, with slight hints of chocolate that make it smell like a Butterfinger.  This is one excited fat kid!  The initial taste is of malted mocha.  The beer also has crisp syrup flavors under the overtones of nut and coffee.  The beer is very sharp and carbonated in mouth, but that does a decent job balancing the heavy flavors and body.  Although balanced, it still rides a bit too light for a porter for me.  Nutty sweet aftertaste, with a bit of caramel, too, with a creamy finish.  A little rich in flavor to drink a lot of, but the body and carbonation lends itself to being sessionable when combined with the reasonable ABV.  Extremely solid, tasty beer, and you don’t feel guilty drinking it.  Hippies rejoice!

Since being introduced to the world of organic brews, I have been fortunate enough to continue stumbling across different offerings from new (to me) organic breweries, but as any jaded late-20s single person will tell you, “You always remember your first”, and with beer, remembering your first doesn’t make you extremely angry or want to read Sylvia Plath and slit your wrists in a bathtub.  I thoroughly enjoy this new niche in the craft beer market that continues to grow, and more importantly, continues to make strong and tasty contributions to the beer world.  If you have the opportunity, find a brewery that is certified and give their brews a fair shake.  Make a point of comparing the beers they offer to similar styles that you like, and notice some of the subtle and not so subtle differences between the two.  This will help to expand that wonderful, blossoming palate of yours!  As always, drink educated my friends!

#Beer from the remaining NFL playoff teams…PORTERS…

Posted in Beer Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 01/15/2012 by beerbygarth

I am a huge Niners fan.  Lifelong.  I take sports very seriously.  With the playoffs in full swing, and the Niners making it this far for the first time since I was in junior high, I wanted to tie the festivities in with my beer blogging.  What better way than to do a group review of similar styles from each of the cities/regions?  Looking back over my previous beer exploits, and given the colder temperatures the games will be played in, Porters seemed like a reasonable choice.  Without further ado, here are some Porters from San Francisco, New York, New England, and Baltimore.

Let’s head to San Fran first, since they are my team and I am captaining this ship.  From the city of San Francisco, I bring to you Anchor Porter, from the Anchor Brewing Company.  Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is jet black, with a dark tan, thin head that quickly dissipates into a ring of film.  Held up to the light, the beer has brown highlights in the coloring around the edges.  The beer has smells of caramel, sweet malt, and a bit of hops.  The initial tastes are sweet and light, followed by a quick transition into a bitter-hopped and coffee flavoring.  The beer is light in mouth in comparison to other porters, and very crisp and sharp on the finish, with toasty flavors lingering in mouth a bit.  A toasty and very light coffee aftertaste, and not overpowering at all.  This is a pretty easy beer to gulp down if you aren’t paying attention or looking for any unique flavor profiles.  Interesting, but I have had other porters I care more for.  Very game friendly, however, due to subtle flavors and low ABV.  Perfect for, say, the NFC Championship game, dare I say.

Now, to be fair, we head to the Empire State.  I’m in a New York state of mind, and that brings me a bit upstate from where the Giants actually play.  Listen, technically they play in Jersey, so you could be getting something from that frigging armpit of a state, but instead I will play nice and pick a Porter from Troy, NY.  This, one of my personal favorites, is the Brown’s Whiskey Porter.  When I reviewed this gem, it was after I had picked up a growler while visiting family just outside of Troy.  Poured in a pint glass, the beer is an extremely dark brown coloring, almost black in the deepest points.  The brew starts with a thick, chunky, airy head that starts around three inches and quickly settles into a thin film.  Good level of bubbles throughout the brew, and there is a decent lacing on the glass.  Nose is extremely robust and round, with a strong mocha chocolate backbone, a hint of coffee bitter, and a good overtone of rich vanilla from the barrel aging.  Flavor is coffee initially, with a rich, creamy vanilla and whiskey hue, and a touch of bittersweet chocolate.  Body stays rich and creamy throughout, with a great feel for the flavors.  The aftertaste is roasted coffee and chocolate, and the finish is creamy and slick.  Tremendous brew!  Once again, an easily sessionable brew, and as I sing the praises of this well crafted beauty, I am willing to wager that the beer will greatly out-perform the team for which it is representing.  Sorry G-Men…it ain’t happening!

Now, on to the AFC, or the weaker of the divisions this year.  Sorry to all you Pats and Ravens fans, but you know it’s true.  The Saints and Packers bowed out earlier than most expected, but I think it is widely agreed upon that the NFC is the big swinging you-know-what this year.  I’m going to jump on Baltimore first, and to represent the Ravens, I turn to Flying Dog Brewery’s Gonzo Imperial Porter.  Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is an extremely dark brown, with only a hint of ruby in the highlights under light.  The head is very low profile, sitting about a half an inch, and it is a dark beige coloring, solid and dense.  Aromas are rich, with a creamy backbone and a coffee bitterness.  A touch of booze in the nose as well.  Flavors are rich, also, with a dark fruit sweetness on the initial taste, followed by some roasted coffee bitterness and a smokey overtone.  Flavors are very well blended, and the booze characteristics make their presence felt on the transition between the flavor and the aftertaste.  The aftertaste continues with a nutty and dark roasted sweetness.  The finish has a decent linger, but not overpowering.  Good beer.  Being an imperial, with the higher ABV, this one might be a little rough to pound back for a 60 minute game.  However, seeing how Tom Brady completely dismantled the Denver Tebows, the Ravens fans might want to hammer the boozey Porter to help cushion the blows coming their way.  Maybe slip a couple to Ed Reed to help ease the pain from that sprained ankle.  Just a thought.

Speaking of New England, there were a lot of choices for this representative, being a region of five states (yes, I said five…I do not count Connecticut as part of New England…sorry Huskies).  With that in mind, I skipped over the easy picks of Sam and Harpoon, and went with Narragansett, one of the oldest breweries in the country (1888).  Narragansett gets a bad rap for their beers, but aside from their flagship, they have been producing some solid, quality brews.  One of these happens to be their Porter.  Poured from a can into a tumbler pint, the beer is jet black, with a densely packed, foamy, thick, light tan-colored head that stands at a strong inch and a half.  This head doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.  Impressive look to it.  The nose is a dry mocha and dark chocolate blend, and very inviting.  The beer is insanely smooth and creamy in mouth, and it has a rich, velvety chocolate milk flavor initially that is ridiculously easy to drink.  Do a drink per score New England fans, and watch how fast the cans stack up.  The tastes continue to progress, with a hint of roast coffee bitter and a hazelnut highlight.  Great flavors on a smooth, round body, with a decent cling left behind as you consume.  The aftertaste is milk chocolate, and it lingers nicely behind in your mouth, with a nonintrusive finish that has some staying power.  It sticks around, urging you on in your journey.  Very easy to drink, which could get dangerous real fast, just like the Pats’ offense.

With nothing at all to do with the beers I have written about, I will now go on the record to say that I am predicting the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots in this year’s SuperBowl, which will be great, as most of my friends are Pats fans.  It should make it interesting, to say the least.

Now, the beers are in the books, and this is just a small sample of what there is out there in terms of Porters, as well as a small sample of what these great cities/regions have to offer in the world of craft beer.  This really was an easy one to pull together, as these are four strong beer metro areas.  Good problem to have!  Whatever team you are cheering for this coming weekend, or whether you watch any football at all, explore a different city in terms of beer offerings.  You may find yourself a new favorite, or at worst, come to appreciate your hometown love even more.  As always, drink educated my friends!