For George

He would be really old today, our first Commander in Chief, but thanks to Avery you can toast him properly, with their new porter…

…as the Colorado brewery starts their “Ales of Antiquity” series

1st Batch – Brewery at Simmzy’s

Earlier this month, I headed over to Simmzy’s Burbank location to try the first batch of beers from their brand spanking new operation that spans two floors of the restaurant.

Three beers were on tap out of the gate. A blonde, porter and IPA. I decided to try the first two on the first visit and save the IPA for a later trip. The really cool tall glasses show the beers off nicely. In the battle between the Beach Cruiser Blonde and the Porter, the blonde came out as my winner. It was bright with a restrained but noticeable touch of hops. Bringing it out of the boring realm that some blondes fall into. This is a really promising start for the beers and I expect that the other beers in the line-up will be up at his standard that has been set.

Elvis to Francis


Brewdog doesn’t seem to ever sit still long enough to pin them down. From beers to PR to design. Speaking of, they have done all three with this small batch beer. Talk about a cool can design. And a name. I have always wondered how some people think so strangely different from me. Most of the time that is good. Especially in this case.

Oh and the beer is a coconut-ish porter….”A porter of papal proportions, [with] aromas of cocoa powder, vanilla bean, coconut, and bitter chocolate, with hints of roasty black coffee and dark fruit, followed by a smooth, velvety mouthfeel and a rich, bittersweet finish.

Featured Review – Terry Porter from Gilgamesh Brewing

Since the NBA Playoffs are now underway and since the Portland Trailblazers made it in despite all the naysayers (like me), it is time to pop the cap on Terry Porter from Gilgamesh Brewing in Salem, Oregon.
IMG_6502
The Terry Porter pours an inky black with an espresso foam ring. Much smokier than anticipated in the early sips. Rauch malty which fades as the beer warms. Almost cigar smoke. I can imagine a barrel aged version of this adding a layer of complexity. There is a smooth viscosity here. Kind of one note in the end though.
This beer donates part of the proceeds to the Doernbecher Hospital as well as celebrating one of the best Blazers of all-time.
Capture
Beat them Clippers!

Dublin or West Indies – Guinness Porter Taste-Off

IMG_6233
The Brewers Project an offshoot of the main Guinness brewery as sent the Irish in America (and any other beer drinker) a pair of porters with stylized labels modeled after the original old-timey-wimey bottle designs.

# 1 Dublin Porter – Originally created in 1796 during a time when porters were all the rage in London, Guinness brewed up its own Irish version of the style at St. James’s Gate and shipped to England. While the porter originated in London, the Guinness brewer’s Irish take on the style proved quite popular with its earthy and lively flavor. Today, the Dublin Porter delivers a sweet, smooth beer with dark caramel and hoppy aroma notes with a burnt biscuit finish for a beer reminiscent of a different time — when after a hard day’s work, you’d visit your local haunt for a porter, the “working man’s beer,” and Guinness would have been the respected choice. (3.8% Alc/Vol)

# 2 West Indies Porter – Constantly pushing the envelope to showcase what its brewers could do, Guinness sought to create a porter that could maintain its quality taste and freshness aboard West Indies-bound ships across the ocean for more than a month. In 1801, the brewers at Guinness rose to the challenge, developing a beer with higher hops and more gravity that didn’t just survive the journey, but offered a unique new beer. Based on the original recipe, today’s porter remains an immensely flavorful beer, with generous hops and notes of caramel-toffee giving it a sweet, almost chocolate aroma. In fact, this beer was a precursor to Guinness™ Foreign Extra Stout enjoyed all over the world today. (6% Alc/Vol)

Those are the descriptions from the brewery but who wins the taste test for me?

The Dublin Porter is quite light. It has a creamy, sweet milkshake quality to it. It is smooth with caramel notes. They would really have to amp the hops for me to taste them. What Dublin thinks is hoppy is not to someone in California. There is an Oyster stout mineral note tucked in this beer as well. It is nicely complex and is a beer for a spring with clouds.

The stronger West Indies Porter could be mistaken for the regular Guinness stout. It has more meat on the bones, as it were, with notes of smoke and chocolate and savory salt notes to it. The aroma is very biscuity to the point of toast. It is deceptive in that it tastes rather light despite the higher ABV.

In the end, I would take the heartier West Indies Version. It dispenses with the sweetness and heads straight to thicker and more mineral tasting. No mucking about.

The Session # 109 – “Porter”

session_logo_all_text_300-246x300

Mark Lindner has announced the topic for The Session #109 will be Porter. Before you say “That’s so 2007” hear him out.
Possibilities include:

•Contrast and/or compare two or more of the styles
•Contrast and/or compare two or more beers within/across porter styles
•The history and development of the style
•Your love/hate relationship with any porter style
•Baltic porter – ale or Lager or a mixed fermentation?
•Is hopping the only difference between English and American styles?
•Food pairings with your favorite porter or style of porter
•Review the porter(s) you are using as a creative springboard
•Construct a resource along the lines of Jay Brooks’ Typology style pages, see for example American Barley Wine or Bock.
•Recipe and procedures for brewing your version of a great porter

There is probably no way for me to write an interesting look at Porter. Sounds defeatist, I know, but that is the strength and weakness of the style. Much like its brethren in the style that I call “Sturdy” (amber ale, brown ale, ESB for example). This is a style that can be dressed up and fussed with but you still don’t forget who they are. And what they are is, well, boring and solid.

If I were to really bore you, I could review different porters. Boy would you love to read the same descriptors repeated like Marco Rubio in a debate. Or I could pair porters with hearty fare fit for a “sturdy” beer. That would stun a reader. Maybe delve into the weirdest ingredients put into a Porter. Followed by how it mostly still tasted like a Porter basically.

If I could work up enough rancor, I could write a scathing piece about my hatred of the style but even the most troll-y of trolls would be hard pressed to come up with insults against Porter. It is more Teflon than Donald Trump’s hair and poll numbers. You can hate some experimental chili pepper Shandy but a Porter? Nope.

On the flip side, I couldn’t work up much enthusiasm either. Like the inevitable coronation of Clinton come November, it doesn’t have the piss and vinegar of Bernie Sanders who would most certainly be a Single Hop Simcoe Sour IPA.

Others can talk at length about the history and others can compare recipe notes with education and practice backing up their thesis statements. As a craft beer fan, all I can do is say that if I had the top five porters on tap in front of me and an experimental beer from some unknown brewer, I would pick the experiment. The only reason that I bought the one porter in my ‘fridge is because it has former Trailblazer and eponymous namesake Terry Porter on it.

You can argue that American Craft brewers have changed the face of Porter and I would be hard pressed to filibuster that contention. But even the most obscure and near extinction beers have been put into the American brewing blender and come out the other side ready for their close-up. Porter isn’t special in this regard.

America likes its craft beer flashy and its politicians even flashier so let’s wrap up the political tie-in. John Kasich might be the Porter doppleganger. Low poll numbers, probably a good vice-presidential pick but seriously edged off of any stage by the flashier beers.

Terry Porter

Capture
I remember being up in Portland on one of my many visits and being in a taproom that was pouring a porter simply called Terry. I didn’t know then if the beer was sanctioned by the former Portland Trailblazer, Terry Porter or not and what the legal ramifications of the name were. Oh and the beer was pretty good.

Fast forward to 2016 and Gilgamesh Brewing from Salem has actually teamed up with the former Portland Trail Blazer point guard for a limited-edition charity beer.

Porter and Gilgamesh have partnered to create a new, limited-edition beer called The Terry Porter. which was brewed to raise money for the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Usually, in these instances the brewery would donate a portion of each bottle sold. But in this case both Gilgamesh and its distribution partner, Columbia Distributing, will donate $2 to the foundation for each bomber bottle AND $40 for every half-barrel keg sold in bars and restaurants across Oregon. If you happen to be in the Oregon State capital and to the Gilgamesh taproom, $1 will be donated for every Terry Porter pint purchased which is doubled to $2 during Blazer games.

Review – Peanut Butter Cup Porter from Karl Strauss

Brewed with cocoa nibs and peanut flavoring by Karl Strauss, I heard about this beer from L.A. beer writer, John Verive. With that recommendation, I bought the bomber the first time I saw it.

IMG_2361

Unfortunately, this beer did not coalesce for me. The initial aroma is sweet and almost floral. Only as it warms up did the true aroma hit me. Sickeningly sweet milk chocolate. On the plus side, the beer had sparkle to it. I thought the peanut would end a flattening viscous effect which did not happen. And yes, there is a strong peanut taste here which works to great effect.

This beer is a case study in not tasting like the name on the bottle. The one ingredient standing out as a discordant note makes me think not of a peanut butter cup but more peanut butter and a sweetened chocolate milk.

I gave a sample to my resident aroma expert and she said it reminded her of a cherry cordial. And if I had been given this beer and asked to 50-50 between peanut butter cup or cordial. I would be on the fence. And that is not a good sign.

IMG_2363

Review – Beer Flats Porter Crackers

IMG_4378

I have been passing by these crackers at Whole Foods for months now.  The price was always too high for my taste.  But a week ago, they were finally on sale!  So I picked up the porter variety with the thought that the porter would seep into the cracker more than pilsner would seep into that version.

The aroma on these crackers is a surprising and very brewery reminiscent wort smell.  Unfortunately, after that point, the taste was full on dark rye.  Not that a rye cracker is bad per se.  But the aroma led me down a path that then corkscrewed on me.  After having a couple, I realized that this version would be harder to pair with a beer and with cheese.  There are rye IPA’s out there but that would be a battle of two strong tastes.  And I fear that most cheese would run into the brick wall of rye as well.

So a slight thumbs up.  And I will be watching to see if they go on sale again.  And I will check to see if the Pilsner version has rye in the ingredient list.