Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Riotous Return of Rob's Rotgut Reviews.

Today I'm trying a Smoked Porter from Stone Brewery. I like Porter, I like everything I've tried from Stone -- some of their stuff is desert island beer, stuff I would want with me if I were a castaway -- but I'm not sure what it means when a beer is smoked. Obviously it's not smoked the same way as ham, is it? I'll be having this with a smoked Gouda as well, and I don't know how they smoke cheese either. ( I tried to smoke cheese once back in the 70's but I couldn't keep the damn thing lit.)

APPEARANCE: Pours a deep, dark brown. Almost black but if you hold it up to the light you can see some ruby around the edges.

AROMA: I'm not really getting much in the olfactories. Maybe some oakiness.

TASTE: Well, no, let me do mouthfeel first:

MOUTHFEEL: Thinner than I expected -- but that's what I get for having preconceptions about a beer I know nothing about. I'm sure it's because I expect black beers to taste and feel like stout.

Okay, now TASTE: Well, one sip is enough to teach me what smoked beer is all about. You know how a good barbecued potato chip tastes. This is like that, tangy and (duh!) smoky. The smokiness lingers or dissipates briefly and then reappears again -- kind of an after-aftertaste. It's interesting how the malt and the hops are noticeable but definitely playing second or third fiddle to the smoke. The smokiness of the Gouda is even more in-your-face but maybe not as long-lasting - but I'm not sure because I've got that smoky taste in my mouth now and I'm not sure which is cheese and which is ale. (By the way, Gouda recently replaced Swiss as my number one favorite cheese -- so congratulations to Gouda.)

DRINKABILITY: Hard to say. At the Brewvival this weekend I complimented the rep from the Bruery on their sweet potato beer, and he said he liked it too, but he could only drink like one a year. I can definitely see myself drink more than one smoked porter a year; I can even see myself have two back to back, although a palate cleanser in between might be a good idea.

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