Porter – 5.2% ABV/30 IBU
“Black Butte” (pronounced “Black Byoot”) porter is quite legendary in America if you ask me. It is considered one of the best, if not the best straight-up session porters in circulation.
When I lived in Atlanta I had a few friends living in the Midwest United States who would mention Deschutes “Black Butte” porter to me quite often. “Have you tried this?” “Deltoid, this beer is awesome! Can you get this down in Atlanta?” And of course my Facebook wall was splashed with photos of it as garnishment. Dickheads. “No, I have not tried it and no, I cannot get it.” I even asked one of them to mail me a 6-pack (or 4) and of course he said, “Sure!” And of course he did not. Dickhead.
I am not sure if they knew I could not access it in Atlanta and they were taunting me or if they were enthused and excited by this porter and wanted to share their delight with me. Knowing them, they were taunting me. “Hey, starving Somali children! Dry aged prime rib, sautéed mushrooms and baked macaroni and cheese with toasted bread crumbs! Have you ever had THIS before?” Dickheads.
But alas! After moving to Chicago I quickly discovered I can get this beer in my local grocery store or pharmacy! Fantastic! Guess what, dickheads? I am now stocked, so take your Black Butte bottles and shove them up your asses… sideways.
I finally got my opportunity to drink this porter and there was absolutely not a shred of disappointment. This is a perfect session porter. Period.
It pours with a deep, dark chocolate color with plenty of bubbly, vanilla/caramel head. One finger, two finger, or four fingers… the thickness of the head is all in how you pour it. I gave mine 3-4 just so I could admire it before going in for the kill. The aroma is faint and malty with a slight bitterness. You have to get your nose pretty close to this one if you want to smell it. The flavor and the mouth-feel are what make this beer marvelous. As I previously mentioned, it is a straight-up session porter. Nothing fancy. It tastes malty and hoppier than one would expect with a 30 IBU rating, but the hops are cool and refreshing and add only a little bite. It has a rye bread flavor that carries through during the final third of each gulp and leaves a bitter, chocolaty taste in the back/roof of the mouth. The bottle advertises it to be creamy and it does have a medium-high amount of carbonation but I disagree with labeling it “creamy”. It is slightly more watery than most porters but this is a very good attribute. Because the flavor is so satisfying, the watery sensation makes this a good porter for a hot day just as much as an after-dinner beverage on a cold, winter evening. A porter on a hot summer’s day? What in the fuck? I don’t know how Deschutes does it. And at 5.2% ABV one bottle simply is not enough. You cannot drink one without needing another.
This beer is magical. I imagine this to be what the dwarves and elves sing about and relish in a Lord of the Rings movie. Fill my chalice, Gandalf. I will gouge out Smaug’s eyeballs with my bare fists and fornicate with his dying skull for some of this.