Nick Carr on June 23, 2014 5 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery: Deschutes Brewery Location: Bend, OR Style: American Porter ABV: 5.2% IBUs: 30 Hops: Cascade, Tettnang & Bravo Malt: Carapils, Pale, Wheat, Chocolate & Crystal Appearance: Pours Dark, Dark Brown with Glimmers of Red on the Edges Aroma: Roasty Malt; Cocoa; Coffee; Chocolate; Hints of Pine Flavor: Subtle Coffee; Bitter Chocolate frolicking with Sweet Malts Availability: Year-Round Pairs With: Grilled/Smoked Meats; Robust Onion Soup; Coffee or Chocolate Cake This is an interesting one. Not only is this an old beer, first brewed in 1988, but also this is Deschutes flagship beer, a position you will rarely find the porter style occupying. In 1988, Gary Fish opened Deschutes as a brewpub, the first in Bend, Oregon. He named his new business for both the county that Bend is in, and the magnificent Deschutes River that flows through the town. Deschutes, like any other brewery, has had its share of lows. In the winter of their first year they had to dump ten consecutive batches of beer due to bacteria contamination. They found the contamination was due to a flaw in their brewing design that had the grain mill directly above the mash tun, and airborne grain bacteria from the grain dust kept drifting down into the mash. Shop Deschutes Brewery on Amazon After they got this not-so-little hiccup remedied, people started to notice how good the beer coming out of this new little brewery was. They sold 310 barrels of beer in the first year. Jump ahead three years and business was booming. Gary Fish likes to say they did so well, so fast because of their attention to detail, quality ingredients, and a sense of community that the brewery worked hard to foster from its very beginnings. The quote at the front of their website exemplifies Deschutes exploratory and unfettered passion for robust, great tasting beer: “The meek shall inherit… well, some pretty dull beers.” Black Butte Porter set the standard for the brewery. Excitedly, it’s time for me to drink and find out what exactly that standard is. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Black Butte Porter. If you’ve had this porter before or you’re drinking one while you read this review, please share your thoughts and opinions with everyone down in the comments below. The Pour and Aroma The Black Butte pours dark, dark, dark, dark brown, ok we’ll call it an almost black. But hints and glimmers of red along its edges speak of a color more complicated than just plan old black. A finger’s worth of dark tan head graces the top and stays for a time before sliding stickily down the inside of the glass, settling in as a memory just above the liquids surface. The aroma is expectedly porter-like. Cocoa, bitter chocolate, and coffee designs are nicely woven into a blanket of roasty malt. The engagingly sweet malt flirts with hidden hints of hoppy pine bringing a nice complex balance to the whole. Mouthfeel and Taste Body is thick with a hefty mouthfeel of velvet-soft smoothness. The bitter chocolate comes through, mellowing into a nice sweetness as the malts begin to play the palate. Coffee is subtle and works well as the backing echo to the chocolate and sweeter roasted malts. Carbonation is low and just right, allowing the complex flavors to speak for themselves. The end of the taste throws up a brief screen of hop bitterness that subsides slowly into the aftertaste. The aftertaste lets you know you’ve just imbibed in something complex and robust with smattering hints of coffee, chocolate, and hops. It is a long and almost decadent experience of taste reminding me in many ways of a complex cake. The flavor is robust enough to easily carry a pairing with any equally robust food. Grilled and smoked meats come to mind, a hardy onion and vegetable soup, and it would go equally well with coffee or chocolate cake. Finishing the Impression This is a near perfect example of the porter style with nice complexity and hints at deeper ideas. The beer has won more awards then I car to count and, at least as far as I’m concerned, it deserves them. It’s a beer to be enjoyed equally for its velvet-like wrap of the palate and the complexity of dark flavors it brings. It’s a great beer to accompany you to the porch on a nice quiet cool evening. It is a pairing, not just for good food, but for bats diving, fire flies darting, and a cooling evening breeze. Cheers!