Beer of the Weekend #41: Blackhook Porter

The beer this weekend is Blackhook Porter brewed by The Redhook Ale Brewery of Woodinville, Washington.

Note: Tonight I’m using my Imperial (Nonic) pint glass, which I stole from Brothers Bar & Grill in downtown Iowa City. (Seriously, if they’re going to charge that much for a beer I’m going to take the glass.) Unlike a normal Tumbler pint glass, which holds 16-ounces and features straight sides, a Nonic pint glass has a slight bulge near the top and holds 20-ounces to accommodate more beer or headier brews. I rarely use it since I keep it at my parent’s house.

Well, I missed the traditional Friday sampling once again, but it was for good reason. I was sick the last two days and was sure my taste buds were a little out of whack. A tasting tonight may be a stretch as well (the first sip of Pabst I took tonight was a bit of a shock) but I wanted to buy some good brew anyway. Plus, I’ve been unable to find Blackhook in Huntington Beach and wanted to take advantage of Dirty John’s vast selection. I spotted it the other night on the bottom shelf of the refrigerated beer room and was pleasantly surprised to find it. I also saw it in the awesome liquor section at the First and Rochester Drug Town (is it still called Drug Town?), but wanted to support the local grocery.

Serving type: Six 12-ounce bottles.

Appearance: BP poured a deep caramel that could pass as black. It allowed light through when I put it to my old reading lamp. A finger of head developed but dissipated quickly, leaving a slight lacing of foam on top.

Smell: A delicious roasted coffee scent caught my attention when I stuck my nose deep into the glass. There is also a sweeter smell to balance the bitterness, which other reviewers label as molasses. (Yes, I cheated.)

Taste: It’s hoppy for a porter, which I should have expected from Redhook (the west coast is overflowing with hop heads). The first taste was a bit of a shock, but subsequent sips were less intense. As my first pint warmed the taste mellowed and I could detect chocolate, caramel, and toffee. By my second pint the hoppy tingle was gone, my taste buds having adjusted, and BP tasted more like a traditional porter.

Drinkability: I’m going to make this category work…right now! Um…I had an idea the last time but lost it. Blackhook Porter is not a chocolate dessert type porter/stout so I have a problem placing it in the pantheon of dark beers. It’s drinkable, but nothing special.

Fun facts about Blackhook Porter:

-Serving temperature: 45-50°F.

-Alcohol content: 5.23 percent ABV.

-According to the Redhook website — which features the useless online bartender/beer guru — BP is a London style porter. However, BeerAdvocate classifies it as an American Porter.

-BP is brewed with four grains, including black malt and roasted barley, and two varieties of hops. It is unpasteurized and naturally carbonated.

-Food pairings via Redhook include charred and grilled meat, smoked salmon, and oysters.

-A pint is 163.2 calories.

-BP has been brewed since 1983.

-The label on each Blackhook features the date when it was bottled. The date for the bottles I've had is "091608."

The Quiet Man’s grade: Perhaps the quirky comments I put here should go into the “Drinkability” category. Hmm — it’s a thought. B-.

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