A Belgian Inspired Imperial Porter

A new beer will soon be debuting at Black Bridge. Here’s a quick encapsulation. 

Remember in Star Wars (okay, Episode IV: A New Hope) when Luke and Han and Chewie and the droids that everyone was looking for were in a control room on the Death Star and R2-D2 locates Leia and Luke wants to rescue her and he’s got to convince Han to help?

 Luke tells Han … “She’s rich.”   That’s the new Belgian inspired Imperial Porter, Shuggah Momma, that’s on its way.    It is, essentially, the daring rescue of Princess Leia from the bowels of the Death Star.  In a bottle.  Without the trash compactor part.

What An Incredible Smell You’ve Discovered

The Belgian candi syrup powers the nose of this beer. It was immediately redolent of soda. Seriously, I thought they just gave me a Dr Pepper. 

Your Eyes Can Deceive You

Brownish orange really, the color seemed eccentric.  In other words, it’s not as dark as my perceptions make a porter. The Belgian motif, I would say, is at play here, too. The color is half trippel/quad, half brown porter. 

Your Focus Determines Your Reality

 It is lighter than I expected and not as roasted or rich as I imagined but it was intriguing. It’s full of two row and crystal malts.  It’s sweet, but not tropical or fruity.   Low carbonation, finishes dry, not much hops presence when I sampled it. 

I Sense Something

It’s a complex beer.  Where is it going?  What does it want to be?  Thematically and stylistically it is something it might not be but is. Confused? Delighted? Exactly. Well, anyway, make your own choice about it when it arrives.  These are just my initial perceptions and could be totally off. And after having aged for many weeks, the beer could transform into something other. Art lies in the realm of ambiguity and that’s what we have here. And at  10.9% abv Tom continues his strong beer — ah, I mean Tim. Tim continues his strong beer legacy.   

Sometime in June it’s supposed to be ready. Maybe sooner, maybe later.  Watch for it. 

Beer notes on Fat Bastard, Stout Chocula and 80 Shilling

Here are some old beer notes.  It had been my goal when I made them to turn them into beer reviews, but I was prevented in various ways.  These are all Black Bridge beers, perhaps these unadulterated notes will provide a semblance of guidance to beer drinkers.

Fat Bastard
Aged two years in rum barrel.  Inspired by Innis & Gunn Wee Heavy.
They age in Carribbean rum barrels.  B3 ages in Diamond Distillery rum barrels.

Innis says their wee heavy is “surprisingly light.”  Not the the case for Fat Bastard.  Heavy, thick body.

Rum is completely prominent. In the nose, in the body, aftertaste. Like a rum cake, really. Bready dough sopped up with rum. A little vanilla there in the back, a specter.

Beauty color, ruby red.

Warm. Seriously a good winter beer but I’ll drink it now (September).

Uses imported Scottish malt for authenticity.

Stout Chocula
Perfectly dark as a stout should be.
It is dry, not arid really, it’s the Mohave vs the Sahara.
The chocolate is discernible in the nose and the body. Nicely done.

80 Shilling
Goes right good with spaghetti. Surprisingly. Me not like spaghetti
Moderate body. Nice foam, but not aggressive carbonation

Beer Review: Breakfast Stout

The guest for this beer review session is an oatmeal stout that features bitter chocolate and two types of coffee. The brewer is Founders Brewing and they have named this great stout experiment Breakfast Stout
Some Vitals

  • ABV 8.3%
  • IBU 60
  • Available October thru December

Quick Takeaways 

  • Lots of coffe aroma and flavor
  • A moderately thick, oily body
  • A stout that is more than a stout yet still a stout

Freshly brewed coffe is the prominent aroma redolent of a quiet, early morning that does not lead to labor whoring (i.e., work, employment, the job). After it sits and airs, the smell of chocolate arises. No hops evident.

It has a mild, tan and persistent head, a parchment tinged creamy tundra on an appropriately black body. That body is warm and full, filled out by the oatmeal.

Coffee is prominent in the taste, too. There is a harsh and bitter outline to this beer. It’s interesting. The familiar roasted profile of stout hits the palate initially then the bitter chocolate and the black coffee conflate powerfully and turn this into something other than stout. while still being stout. It’s not unpleasant in any way; it is ambiguous. No hops evident. 

This is a good beer. I feel it’s a good example of an oatmeal and a cream stout, with a creative addition of chocolate and coffee. Enjoyable, I definitely want another. So, it’s good I have a second bottle. I think it shall face off against Founders Porter. 

Oculto by Broken Barrel Brewing Company

Oculto by Broken Barrel Brewing Company

I’ve had this sixer for weeks now. I know nothing about the brewery it comes from. It says it was aged on tequila barrel staves. Those are the wood strips that comprise a barrel’s body. They couldn’t age it IN a barrel? Just on the wooden leftovers. 

Hey … is that like beechwood aging?

I may throw up. 

That Smell
It smells like honey, then flowers, mostly sugar. But after a second, when those dissipate, the tequila breaks through like a dirigible ascending through cumulus clouds. 

In Appearance
The beer is preternaturally clear, hypnotically beautiful to stare at and yellow gold. The head is vanilla white and thin and short lived. 

But The Taste
So, it has the synthetic lemon lime flavor of Sprite and wispy cola-like gaseous stuff rises from body at the first gulp. The body is sticky, but not as light as I would’ve imagined. Then there’s the sugar. Have I mentioned the sugar? It’s just so … there, everywhere. It’s too much. There must be half a barrel of agave syrup dumped in each bottle. 

Join Me For A Plate Of
Sorry, I got nothing here. 

The Conclusion Of The Matter
There’s something that bothers me about this beer. It’s packaging is the first clue that something is afoot. It’s eye catching, a skull with bluish eye sockets. It comes in a clear bottle but exhibits no off smells. It has a twist off cap. Bad signs, to me. 

It’s called Oculto, referencing the occult which seems to be an obsession in this country. The word can also also mean “concealing”. What this beer is concealing is just what the heck it’s supposed to be! Even after drinking six of them, I don’t understand it. 
So it’s not tied to any style, comes in a clear bottle with a twist off cap and doesn’t know who it is but begs people to drink it. This has got to be a corporate beer. Gotta be. I cannot in good conscience recommend it. And it takes forever to drink. 

Lunch at College Street Brewhouse & Pub

Up on a hill, parking is a little confusing but not terribly.

It is family friendly.

Big Blue Van served with blueberries in the glass. Don’t know that they add flavor but they add to the presentation. Makes a fun game trying to snag a blueberry.

Jesse’s Lager is heavy and clean with a hops void. I think I love this beer.

We had for lunch: chicken caprese wrap, margherita pizza, and pirate johns BLT. Sweet a Devil Stout was a surprising compliment to the BLT. Gotta be the smokiness. I know I love it. One of the best stouts ever. Ever.

Tall building
Gordon Biersch-y
Patio looks cool

Brewhouse is stainless and utterly gorgeous. Utterly.

No readily available beer menu, like a board it something. Gotta rely on servers. They’re not bad.

Food is fantastic!

Their Octoberfest is … Well, there is a bitter aftertaste that I’m not happy with. Good color, great head, but that hops at the end … Dunno. Not happy with it.

Conclusion: nice place. Would I come here again? Yes.

Is it better than Mudshark, the other Lake Havasu brewery?


Sweet Devil is one of the best stouts ever. Big Blue Van is more intriguing and refreshing than it has any right to be. But Full Moon is the Einstein of wit beers and Mudshark’s atmosphere is far more liberated.








Slaughterhouse IPA by Black Bridge

I am not a fan of IPA (India Pale Ale). Unthinkingly epitomizes the dark side of American craft beer – the indefatigable urge they seem to have to shove more hops than humanly necessary into a batch of beer whose body can’t balance the influx of all those alpha acids. The beers seem hop bloated, the way A Game of Thrones is bloated with characters and unnecessary sex and death.

Of course, I can’t seem to stop drinking them either. Just like Martin can’t seem to stop writing.

So here’s a local IPA. I wanted to like it.


Yeah. This was the only one I nearly couldn’t finish. The balance was right off.