When working out our schedule for what we’re going to review and the 80-some beers that are always waiting to be reviewed, I received a bottle of Deschutes Black Butte Porter in the mail, which bumped it up to the front of the line.
This is our first go with porters which were originally the working man’s beer. I’m going to apologize to our readers, as three out five of these beers are not available in St. Louis. I brought back a couple from Western New York and Bob brought one back from San Francisco….of course now Kona Pipeline Porter is probably available since I’m refusing to check…
So, this go round we have another five beers to go through and it’s a very nice mix of breweries. Deschutes, who just came to St. Louis, Yuengling, the nation’s oldest brewery, Great Lakes, who needs to come to St. Louis soon, Kona Brewing from Hawaii, and Dundee, one of our personal favorites who gets no love.
Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Porter (5.0% ABV)
Nik: I met these guys at one of their we’re in St. Louis events at the ITap and they are quality folks and I was eager to try their flagship beer. It has a very nice head with a strong roasted malt aroma. I would describe the color as a dark coffee. Along with the aroma, it has a strong roasted flavor with a light bittering. The best way I can describe this beer is a great dark beer for your lager loving friends. This is a great beer to open their eyes as well as those who’ve already walked through that gate. Will drink again and again.
Bob: This one poured to a deep brown color in the glass, exhibiting a nifty tan head graced by tiny bubbles. Had a malty aroma, and a taste that was both roasty and winey, with a pleasant hop bitterness in the aftertaste. It did have more carbonation that I would like to see in this style of beer. In all, a reasonably pleasant brew, but nothing I would go out of my way to find.
Yuengling Black & Tan (4.7% ABV)
Nik: This is an apology to begin. We wanted to round out the numbers and this is porterish, so here it is. It has a big bubled head and a strange aroma. It does have a lighter color, almost copper. It has a good mix of the lager and porter flavors, and I have to say that I like this better than the Yuengling Lager and each sip is better than the one before it.
Bob: I know, I know, it’s not a porter! Well, at least half of it is. As we all know, a proper black and tan can only be served at the pub, as much of the effect is lost if the black and tan brews are intermixed instead of layered. But we had one of these on hand in the bottle, and it seemed to make the most sense to group it with the porters. In the glass it was a medium brown color, as you’d expect, with a reasonably decent head. Taste was very nicely balanced–a little toasty, but with a pleasant little zing from the lager. A fine aftertaste that was not too bitter. I rate this an excellent seasonal beer to drink during fall or winter, and would go looking for some more at the store if only Yuengling distributed in the St. Louis area.
Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (5.8% ABV)
Nik: This is one of the beers I brought back from my road trip to Buffalo, NY. It was the one beer that seemed to resonate with anyone after I tweeted it too. So, I was pretty sure I had picked a good one. It also has a big bubbled head with a roasted malt nose. Its dark color gives way to a great roasted malt flavor, but without any bitterness making this a very smooth beer with a wonderful warm taste. My twitter beer geeks were right about this one. I’m going to savor the last one I have.
Bob: Another go at this terrific brewer, and what an experience! Among the top few brews I’ve ever tasted. Poured dark brown in the glass, with an excellent tan head, small-bubbled and long-lasting. A great malty aroma and an outstanding warm and winey taste, with low carbonation. A perfectly balanced blend between roasted body and hop buttering, with a bittersweet chocolate aftertaste. A major winner!
Kona Pipeline Coffee Porter (5.4% ABV)
Nik: This is a coffee porter. This was a new term on me. It is very dark, but really what else should I have expected? Coffee and porter? The head is full of tight bubbles and didn’t last long. I could smell coffee and malt and I happen to love those two smells. The flavor is strongly coffee and malt and it has a bitter aftertaste. This beer is very good and very unique. Will drink again if I can get it!
Bob: Picked this up on a recent trip to San Francisco. It’s brewed with Kona coffee, which is some of the world’s finest. A very dark brown color in the glass, as you might expect, with a nice, small-bubbled head. Mild coffee aroma and small hints of coffee in the taste of a nicely balanced porter. A pleasant session beer.
Dundee Porter (6.5% ABV)
Nik: I’m going to keep talking up this Brewery forever. I love these guys as much as I love Schalfly, and their beers cost less. This one isn’t as dark as the rest of them and it has the strongest malty aroma of the bunch with a strong roasted flavor. I really liked the warm mouthfeel of this one. It was only slightly bitter. At $6 for a six pack of their beers, you really can’t go wrong.
Bob: Yet another offering from a lightly regarded brewer whose products we always find to be much better than the brewery’s reputation. We’ve pondered that conundrum and are leaning toward suggesting that they should simply raise their prices, to satisfy those critics who think that inexpensive beer must be an inferior product. The porter we tasted in this session poured to a medium dark brown color, without much aroma and an OK head. Taste was a little sweet, though not unpleasantly so, with well-balanced hops and medium carbonation. Reminiscent of a dark lager, without a lot of roasted barley taste. A good session beer, pleasant and easy-going.