Thursday, September 13, 2007

Deschutes Black Butte Porter

Did you ever have one of those days where everything went wrong? I did today. It just seemed like no matter what I did, the computer code I was working with just wouldn't work properly. I won't bore you with the details, but it drove me mad. That's why at the end of the day I was looking forward to the next beer I could review. For this one, I selected a beer from my home state (and there are plenty to choose from): the Deschutes Brewery's Black Butte Porter.

The Deschutes Brewery was founded in 1988 in Bend, Oregon (in the middle of the high desert) by Gary Fish (who is still the president). It started off as a small brewpub in Bend, a city along the Deschutes River, for which the brewery is named (des chutes is French for "the rapids"). At that point, it started by brewing three beers, Black Butte Porter, Bachelor Bitter and Cascade Golden Ale. The Black Butte Porter is named in tribute to Black Butte, an extinct volcanic cinder code located near Sisters, Oregon (NW of Bend). A planned resort community nearby is also named Black Butte due to its view of the mountain. Other information about the brewery is that it is completely vegan (their clarifying agent is an algae called Irish Moss) and that they moved into their current brewing facility in 1993. They also brew tons of specialty beers, some of which appear to only be available at their brewpub or thereabouts (they may serve them at their forthcoming Portland brewpub, due to open April 2008). Finally, they use a process called Kräusening (don't ask me how to pronounce it) where actively fermenting beer, yeast, or wort is added. Hair of the Dog also does this, but they call it "bottle conditioning" (see my review of Ruth). (Deschutes Brewery information and FAQ, plus info on the bottle itself)

Here are the stats:

Deschutes Black Butte Porter
BREWERY: Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon USA
CALORIES/SERVING: 192 per 12 oz. bottle
ABV: 5.2%
ORIGINAL GRAVITY: 13.735° Plato (1056)
MALTS: Chocolate, wheat, and mid-level caramel
HOPS: Cascade, galena, tettnanger (not "tettenanger")
FOODS TO PAIR WITH: Beef with heavy sauces, steak, ribs, BBQ, chicken (basically any meat you can grill)
AWARDS: A ton...

The calories, first brewed, bitterness, ABV, and awards information came from the Black Butte Porter website. The rest came from a phone call I placed to the brewery on September 19th, 2007. Special thanks to Jimmy Seifrit of the Deschutes Brewery for answering my questions!

This is a very dark opaque beer, with a rich dark brown color, almost black; the accompanying head was a light coffee color and refused to go down, its puffiness lasting for upwards of 5 minutes as I enjoyed the beer. Its aroma was of a sweet dark chocolate type that was pleasant to my nose. The taste also had this dark chocolate flavor with some coffee undertones combined with a slight bitterness, which pleased my tastebuds enormously. The aftertaste finished almost clean, with just a slight hoppy aftertaste. I can handle slight hoppiness in my taste, but not my aftertaste.

Overall, this is a great beer, and it's plain to see why Deschutes stands by this brew. It's coming up on its 20th anniversary next year, and who knows what this brewery will do to celebrate. I only wish I could be there.


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