Wednesday, February 18, 2009
TBG Drinks: Stone Smoked Porter
Brewed By: Stone Brewing Company
Brewed In: Escondido, CA
Type: American Porter
What They Say: "Our Smoked Porter has a captivatingly deep mahogany color, complimented by silky dark tan head. Rich, full bodied and robust. Smooth, with chocolate and coffee-like flavors balanced by the subtle "smoky" character of just the right amount of peat-smoked specialty malt."
Website: Stone Brewing's main page remains a bit busy for my liking. But, once you've waded through the brewery's self-promotion and event hyping, there's some (relatively) straightforward no-frills information to be found. You've got brand and brewery history, directions to the place, recent photos and press releases and a classily uncomplicated section on their individual beers.
Why I Picked It: I'm still trying to kick the training wheels from my palette, so I remain reliant on the recommendations of friends and other functioning alcoholics. A few Saturdays ago, I walked down the hill to our local Baron's Market with my son in tow. While standing dumbfounded in front of their Great Wall of Beers, another customer assessed my indecision and casually suggested the Smoked Porter. Thank you, white stranger!
Presentation (5): Stone's iconic 'roided Gargoyle logo is fast becoming my most trusted advertising companion. I haven't been this excited about something so grotesque since August 29, 1990. The contrast between the bottle's dark content and blue trim is immediately eye-catching. 5
Originality (5): On a lark, I entered "smoked porter" into Google. My best guess (and remember: I am the product of a state-run university) is that 80% of the hits on the first five pages were for the Stone Brewing brand. Original? Not in the truest sense of the word, I guess. But, there's something to be said for trendsetting, y'know? 4
Body (10): Pours a deep, rich brown with a fair amount of lacing. The medium thickness and pillowy, peanut-butter-colored head showed off this beer's strong foundation and smooth edges. On aesthetics alone, this is the brew that you'd want to be seen holding in your hand. 10
Taste (10): Good complexity without any of the flavors ever overwhelming my mouth. Moderate smokiness shares real estate with unsweetened chocolate and a very mild coffee finish. Damned if I didn't recognize a drizzling of vanilla and a dash of sweet cream in there, also. This, my friends, is what angels must taste like. 10
Efficiency (10): This isn't your creepy neighbor's home-brewed, cookie-dough chewy porter. The smoothness here belies everything your nose and eyes might try to tell you. And, with an ABV just a tick under six, the opportunity is there to get a quantity-based buzz from an unquestionably quality product. 9
Versatility (10): I can't go with a ten, simply because of the amount of time it would take me to convince my friends that this, indeed, is a versatile beer. Don't be scared off by the brand or the scents or the shade. One or two pints will do you just fine at the bar or the backyard barbecue. 8
Grade: 46 (out of 50) – Amazing beer
The above format has been lifted with permission from That Beer Snob Guy.