After Hours spotlights a beer every Sunday. As the world of craft beer continues to explode, the number of breweries and beers seems to grow exponentially making the process of selecting your next beer infinitely more difficult. These tasting notes will aim to make the process a bit less challenging.
This week, a porter from a New England brewery dating back over 120 years is in the spotlight.
Is there a beer that you feel should be spotlighted here in the future? Drop the columnist, Bryan Kolesar, a note to make it happen.
Name: Narragansett Porter
Brewer: Narragansett Brewery, established 1890, by contract at High Falls Brewery in Rochester, NY [Website].
Location: Providence, RI
Style: American Porter
Vintage tasted: 2010-2011
Recipe Notes: Malts: black malt, pale malt, chocolate malt, munich malt, crystal malt, and roasted barley, Hops: chinook hops for bitterness and simcoe hops for aroma.
Stats: 7.00% ABV, 28 IBU, 1.069 original gravity, 38 SRM
Price Range: $6.99-$7.99 per six-pack of 16 ounce cans
Availability: Available throughout the winter season across the New England states, Florida, eastern Pennsylvania, and western North Carolina.
Recent Awards: World Beer Championship (Silver, ‘10)
Bitter chocolate aroma, toasted crackers
Burnt crackers upfront followed by bitter chocolate flavor meet expectations set by the aroma. Moderate level of alcohol, 7%, is barely perceptible.
Overall: This nearly black beer with a tan and creamy head is an almost-full bodied beer and a smooth pleasure to drink. It’s not too flavorful, weighty, alcoholic, or otherwise needlessly-complicated to not want another. Packaged in a can scores an extra point for all of the good arguments for canned beer and easily makes this a beer perfect to pick up at the Providence airport (inside of security checkpoint — spoken from experience) and bring on board a flight home.
Suggested Food Pairings: Grilled burger with brie and mushrooms; chocolate brownie dessert
Tidbits: The Porter helped Narragansett survive Prohibition because the brewery was given a patent by the U.S. Government to brew it for medicinal purposes. Apparently, ‘Gansett Porter was believed to be the cure for whatever ailed you, and doctors would write prescriptions for it to help patients throughout New England with anemia and various other maladies. [source: narragansettbeer.com]
This beer is found also under the name “Narragansett Dark” in bars.
The Porter is also brewed in small batches at Trinity Brew House in Providence, RI and Cottrell Brewery in Pawcatuck, CT under supervision of Trinity’s brewmaster Sean Larkin.
“This is easily the most pleasant beer surprise I’ve had in a while. Wow! This is great stuff!” - Lew Bryson, Beer Writer
“A deep brown, nostalgia-soaked ale with a mild, though enjoyable, flavor offering sweetish notes of dark chocolate, toasted pumpernickel bread, dark raisin and a hint of vanilla bean.” - Stephen Beaumont, co-author of World Atlas of Beer, due out in Spring 2012
“Lots of rich, hearty flavors and perfect for anyone who loves the style or dark beers in general. I am impressed by this beer. Another well-done seasonal offering from the folks at Narragansett.” - Russ Phillips, CraftCans.com
–Read more of Bryan’s work at After Hours in the Communities at the Washington Times.
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