By Mark Larabee
It makes sense that the folks at Crux Fermentation Project, a popular small-batch brewery in central Oregon, felt a kinship to the Pacific Crest Trail.
Dust Bowl Brewing
Style: Baltic Porter
Serving Style: 22-ounce bottles
Availability: Ltd Wintertime release in California and no. Nevada
Black Butte XXVII
Bend , Oregon
Style: Imperial Porter
Serving Style: 22-ounce bottles and kegs (our sample from bottle)
Availability: This barrel-aged version of Deschutes' flagship Black Butte Porter is released annually. Its composition varies somewhat from year-to-year and distribution is limited.
Scare City #2
Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Style: Rye Porter with Cocoa
Serving Style: In bottles and kegs (our sample from draft)
Availability: Most of the Far West and in major markets US-wide.
Appearance: “Dark—definitely porter.”
Aroma: “Some darker malt—a toasty malt.”
Taste: “You can definitely taste the cocoa on the back end. Enough residual sugar so it mixes with the cocoa and you pick up that chocolate.”
Food Affinity: “Beef—would go well with pot roast. You could also pair with a chocolate dessert.”
Reviewer Anthony Cutrona is a mechanical engineer . . . and a home brewer.
Black Butte XXVI Reserve
Style: Imperial, barrel-aged, Porter
Serving Style:22-ounce bottles
Availabilty: Limited quantities in national markets
Appearance: “Not quite black. Coffee-colored.”
Aroma: “Vanilla from bourbon barrels and a little bit of fruitiness from the cranberry. You can tell it's higher in alcohol.”
Taste: “Chococate and rasperry (perhaps from the pomegranate). A sweet beer, better suited as an after-dinner or dessert beer.”
Food Affinity: “Vanilla ice cream. Canolli.”
Reviewed by Chris Moo, a food service professional
Kona Brewing Co.
Serving Style: 12-oz. bottles
Availability: Fall and winter in of the U.S.
Appearance: “Dark brown with a nice oatmeal-colored head that dissipates fairly quickly.”
Aroma: “More subtle than I would have thought. Faintly like coffee—or maybe root beer?”
Taste: “Encountered this beer in a half-case sampler of different styles made by the brewery. The label reads (in part) 'Porter with 100% Hawaiian Kona Coffee'. A gimmick? Maybe. A hybrid? If so, more likely to work with a porter than a lager. The idea seemed intriguing. I've no idea how much coffee is used, but the Kona Brewing website indicates malts they've used include pale (premium-2 Row), extra special, Carapils, Caramal malt, roasted barley, dark chocolate malt and victory. The hops are Millenium and Willamette.
“Some carbonation that we found attractive may be why this brew seemed lighter than expected. Porter can be dense and tend toward the syrupy. Not so this one. After some time in the glass, the bubbles left, as did the chill. The roasted coffee aroma became more apparent with a bit of mocha there, too. Though I wouldn't have expected it, the Kona Pipeline actually delivered some of the promised qualities in an easy-drinking package.”
Food Affinity: “If you're drinking in the morning, we'd recommend trying it with a good corned beef hash topped with poached egg. For lunches or dinners we'd like it with a shepherd's pie or good old American beef stew.”
Reviewed by Dan Clarke
Producer: Knee Deep Brewery
Location: Lincoln, Ca
Serving style: keg and 22-oz. bottle
Availability: California, Arizona, Nevada, Ohio and Idaho
Appearance: Very Dark
Aroma: Smells Sweet—maybe a little like vanilla?
Taste: Not piney at all. Creamy when sipped, less so when gulped. Slightly chocolatey
Food Affinity: Steak sandwich and mashed potatoes.
--reviewed by Kristen Watson,
a marketing assistant and aspiring food critic
in Sacramento, California.