Friday, December 10, 2010

Beer of the Week (Vol. LXXXI)

Another edition of Beer of the Week brought to you by the sturdy folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can help deliver all the wine, whiskey, and beer you need to make the holidays merry.

With December increasingly behaving more like January in these parts this year and with more snow and cold temps on the way, it’s a good time to stock up on the vital necessities of life, beer foremost among them. Not only do you need to make sure your SBR (Strategic Beer Reserve) is fully replenished, you need to ensure you have the right beer on hand. For example, Porter:

Porter is a dark-colored style of beer. The history and development of stout and porter are intertwined. The name was first used in the 18th century from its popularity with the street and river porters of London. It is generally brewed with dark malts. The name "stout" for a dark beer is believed to have come about because a strong porter may be called "Extra Porter" or "Double Porter" or "Stout Porter". The term "Stout Porter" would later be shortened to just "Stout". For example, Guinness Extra Stout was originally called "Extra Superior Porter" and was only given the name Extra Stout in 1840.

There are a number of excellent porters out there. One that I have not yet had the privilege of tasting until this week is Samuel Adams Holiday Porter:

A traditional, British style. Robust and full bodied.

Introduced as a member of the Winter Classics Variety Pack in 2004, Samuel Adams Holiday Porter, with its rich malt complexity, has become a favorite among our winter seasonal brews. In total, four types of malted barley are used in the brewing process including a variety of German malt called Carafa. This specialty malt, along with a bit of flaked oats, gives our Holiday Porter its smooth, roasted malt character. Add generous portions of imported hops to the mix and one has a brew that is both robust and drinkable.

Brown bottle. Festive label with a blue background and a holiday scene straight out Dickens' London. A strapping young gent is delivering a barrel of porter to an eager customer who bears a passing resemblance to Scrooge himself.

Style: Porter

Alcohol by Volume: 5.8%

COLOR (0-2): Dark lustrous brown, almost black. 2

AROMA (0-2): Roasted malt with chocolate, but a little light. 1

HEAD (0-2): Tan in color, good volume and lacing. 2

TASTE (0-5): Roasted malt again with coffee and caramel flavors. Bitter hops with the chocolate once more at the finish. Full-bodied yet smooth with a creamy mouthful. Decently drinkable but a beer better suited to sip and savor. 4

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Sharp and slightly bitter. 2

OVERALL (0-6): Porters are one of my favorite beer styles to enjoy during winter and this offering from Sam Adams nicely fits that bill. While it may not quite as much rich flavor as some other porters, it’s still a hearty and tasty treat for this time of year. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 15