Black Butte Porter by Deschutes Brewery

In all my travels I have never drank a beer so … drinkable. It has an enviable pedigree, a spotless reputation, and a quotidian character.

B is for Black Butte Porter

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The Vitals
Brewer: Deschutes Brewery
ABV: 5.2%
Categorized as: porter

That Smell …
It smells like cream and orchards.

In Appearance …
Brown, like the edges of a Tiki flame or the bottle that contains it, with a head like the plateaus of the desert. It’s dirty white like my stucco after a monsoon rainfall.

But The Taste …
Caramel raisins. Browned toast with cinnamon. The wife’s kiss.

Join Me For A Plate Of …
Chipotle lime marinated steak and grilled fries with southwest seasoning.

The Conclusion of the Matter
This beer is a beer festival weekend, open and free. Or it’s late summer in ’88 with “Hysteria” cranked to 11. Yes, yes it’s Def Leppard in a bottle. Rock on. They haven’t hit the Adrenalize era yet, good thing. Black Butte is an erudite, worldly mentor speaking to you of all that can be.

Long live Black Butte Porter.

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A Glass of Friday – Shiner Black Lager by Spoetzl Brewery

Word is that the Spoetzl Brewery, maker of the Shiner line of beers, took some medals at this little beer fest we call the Great American Beer Festival.  Wish I could’ve been there.  That implies that I wasn’t there.  That implication is utterly veracious.

Upon reading that my favorite Texas brewery (for now, since I haven’t really had other Texas beers – what a horrible phrase to have written!  My very knuckles feel cursed after keyboarding such heresy!) won gold medals, I forthwith decided it was time for a series of Friday Glasses featuring the Shiner beers.

That Smell …
It smells like yellow fruit.  No, not lemons.  Nor is it honeydew melons.  No, as Yoda said, “there is another.” Hmmm.  I also sense some light marshmallow-ness.

In Appearance …
It is nicely dark, if not really black, like – no, better stop there else I could get myself into trouble.  Suffice to say it was nebulous with a red dwarf star embedded in its core somewhere.  The head was very light brown and creamy. The creaminess was foreshadowed by the marshmallowy aroma.  This, in turn, foreshadows the texture noted below.

But the Taste …
Hold on, hold on – it tastes creamy!  Honestly, the soft and billowing mouthfeel made me think of fresh cinnamon rolls with fluffy whipped cream-like icing.  Just the mouthfeel, mind you.  I did not taste any kind of cinnamon.  It tasted like burnt 7Up.  It is also athletically smooth, not pudgy.  It’s a beautiful body with a transcendent , slick, carbonated aftertaste.  Whssst & gone, that’s what it was like.

Join Me For A Plate Of …
The Black Lager is perfect with stew. The roared meat and roasted grains are like two Vulcans in a mind meld. Harmonious. It tasted even better with brownies. Yes, you heard it here:  brownies are better than dead cow.

The Conclusion Of The Matter Is …
Black Lager is my favorite of the Shiner beers thus far.  The texture sold me, it was such a southern belle as opposed to an outlaw.

A Glass of Friday – Shiner Marzen-Style Oktoberfest by Spoetzl Brewery

Word is that the Spoetzl Brewery, maker of the Shiner line of beers, took some medals at this little beer fest we call the Great American Beer Festival.  Wish I could’ve been there.  That implies that I wasn’t there.  That implication is utterly veracious.

Upon reading that my favorite Texas brewery (for now, since I haven’t really had other Texas beers – what a horrible phrase to have written!  My very knuckles feel cursed after keyboarding such heresy!) won gold medals, I forthwith decided it was time for a series of Friday Glasses featuring the Shiner beers.

Even though this is November I will be drinking a beer named after two other months, namely March and October.  Livin’ on the edge!

In Appearance …
It be looking like perfection.  It seems that for many years the mainstream image of a beer is a fizzy yellow libation in a mug.  But for Crafters* I believe the image is different.  I think it’s this beer, or, to be more specific, this style of beer.  It’s mango-tango or clementine in color, a beautifully clear orange kind of color.  A slightly off white head sits atop it, like some kind of giant mushroom.  And it’s in a pint glass.  Orange is the new yellow, to corrupt a stupid modern saying.

That Smell …
Did some M&Ms take a dunk in this beer?  And were they loaded on brandy?  And there seems to be a small aroma of, maybe, Roman Meal – I mean, bread.

But The Taste …
Dang, it tastes yellow.  No, more caramelly than yellow.  Does that even make sense?  No.  All right, fine, I got nothing.  I am totally without inspiration right now.  Fine, it’s like the Dallas Cowboys.  I hear people say they are spectacularly talented, just like the judges say this beer is medal worthy.  I want to believe.  I taste hints of greatness within the beer.  There’s a suavity it gains as it warms.  Sometimes it seems mediocre, though.  Unlike with the Cowboys, however, I will trust what the judges of GABF say – this is a good beer, I just ain’t educated enough to dig it yet.  As far as the Cowboys, well, whatever, I still watch cuz I am Texan, but …

Join Me For A Plate Of …
I have no idea.  Sorry.

The Conclusion of the Matter Is …
Will I drink this again?  Duh, of course I will.  Was it worth drinking this time around?  Duh, of course.  Let it warm up before you drink, because, seriously, this drink gets way better the warmer it is.

*A note on the word “crafters.”  You know how Star Trek fans are sometimes called Trekkies?  And the so-called hard-core Trekkies insist that they should be called Trekkers, because, I guess, it sounds more “official” or what-not.  So, using similar logic, I will call craft beer drinkers and enthusiasts “Crafters.”

A Glass Of Friday – Somersault by New Belgium

The imagery of summer is the most sublime. Crisp blue sky; verdant lawns dripping with cool water; children riding bikes and running and jumping, having been freed of schoolroom shackles; the list goes on.

And the geniuses at New Belgium think they can bottle the greatest season of them all. Let us see if the impossible becomes possible.

In Appearance …
It’s copper! It’s pale yellow! It’s a chameleon. Is it supposed to be changing tincture like that? Well colors do morph in summer out here in the desert. Sometimes, of course, that’s delirium. I don’t think this beer is making me delirious. It’s just more brilliant in the light.

The head is puffy and white, and , fine, right, I’ll go there – just like cumulus clouds in the summer sky. It does have great legs. If that isn’t summer I don’t know what is.

But The Taste …
Oh, it’s a pale ale. Really, that’s all? Granted, this one is slightly more intense than a normal one and slightly less intense than an IPA. Like Ranger, with water. And lemon drops.

The heft of grain is not apparent. The hops and water are mostly on display. Hmmm, lawn and water. It’s a slender bodied beer, light and refreshing, and if that ain’t summer what is?

That Smell …
Grassy. Citrusy hops. Nectarines, possibly. The perfume of one of those earther girls, the Eco-terrorist kind. Only a good looking one. Is that summer?

Join Me For A Plate Of …
Football, on TV and on iPad, since they weren’t televising my dang game, the Cowboys vs Seahawks. Oh, that isn’t food? Good call, you should all be substitute referees.

The Conclusion Of The Matter Is …
Summer is ending. Sadness always overtakes me at this realization, though respite from the heat is welcome. Still, Somersault actually seemed to capture pieces of summer. I was waiting for the soundtrack to hit me and it never did. But freedom was there. And a few other highlights of summer.

Fine. Fine. It was good. What, are those New Belgium brewers some kind of artists?

Sent with Writer.

Sent from my iPad

A Glass of Friday – Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale

What brilliance drove the brewers at the Boston Beer Company to release a pumpkin spiced ale … in autumn? Its utterly amazing.

What?

Oh, it’s not officially fall yet? Oh, I see. Very well, Sam Adams has broken all boundaries by releasing their Pumpkin Ale near fall. Brilliant.

Pumpkin ales are like Star Wars books. You know exactly what the plot is going to be, you know the players, the tropes. Sometimes the covers are pretty cool, and sometimes the stories actually surprise you. And sometimes, well, they don’t.

In Appearance …
In a shocking choice of palette, this pumpkin beer is orange. Like the seeds of its muse, the head is an off white with bubbles of varying size.

But The Taste …
It tastes like a weak Cherry Coke, a tad caramelized. The burnt sugar attaches itself with gusto to the northeast corner of the tongue, waiting for the spices to come walking by. Alas, their wait may be long as the powdery layer of sweetness turns the spice away.

That Smell …
The aroma enlightens the nares, a conflation of glazed doughnut and crushed candy corn. And I’m certain there’s a hint of Bubbalicious.

Join Me For A Plate Of …
Shall this be consumed with some kind of pie? Perhaps a spinach brûlée? I chose a frozen bean burrito doused in salsa. Ah, the elegance!

The Conclusion Of The Matter Is …
It’s banal in its striking appropriateness. Those who are certain of their own higher cognitive functions will delight in drinking a concoction made with squash. They shalt revel in its tingly spiciness. Lowbrow drinkers will sing the joys of a “harvest” beer celebrating the working class.

Oh, and it comes in a brown bottle. Of course. Pure genius.

It’s a Star Wars book that pleases but surprises not.

Sent with Writer.

Sent from my iPad