Tonight for dinner I am having pork. I like pork. Pork is good. Whether it be ham, or bacon, or sausage, or pork belly, or pork chops, or pork cheek, heck even head cheese is delicious when properly prepared. The only thing better than pork is more pork or pork wrapped in pork and fried in pork fat.
Ok, there is another thing better than pork and that is beer. So what happens when porky-goodness meets beer? We get smoked beers. These smoky brews bring home the bacon so to speak. So since I’m always looking to bring home the bacon, this week I brought home a trio of slabs in liquid form.
The Vixen from Boston Brewing Company out of Boston, MA.
Served: Served from a bottle, at refrigerator temperature into a goblet.
Appearance: Coal black with an eighth-inch beige head that lingers.
Smell: Smells boozy but the cinnamon aroma is mildly overpowering as well.
Taste: Way too sweet. Am I drinking Big Red bubble gum? I let it warm and a little more chocolate comes out but it still is just too one-note.
Mouth feel: Very weak body despite the excessive sweetness.
Overall: To quote Richard Marx, I shoulda known better. It’s a smoky spicy beer being marketed by Samuel Adams. There’s just not much to this beer. I guess if you like cinnamon dark holiday ales you might want this, but it doesn’t bring home the bacon for me.
Class of ’88 Imperial Smoked Porter brewed by Deschutes Brewery out of Bend, OR in collaboration with Great Lakes Brewing Company.
Served: Served from the bomber bottle, at refrigerator temperature into a goblet.
Appearance: Dark black with a thin ring of tan bubbles that dissipated slowly.
Smell: A little bit on the musty side with a lot of chocolate, some smoke, and some pepper.
Taste: More smoke flavor than aroma. I’m also getting the taste of what seems like a non-nitrogenated oatmeal stout.
Mouth feel: Fairly light and dry. The finish is clean
Overall: Here is the bacon that I was sorely missing in the Sam Adams brew. It is still not a bacon bomb but it gives me some of the pork that I’ve been craving. I will say this; it actually isn’t as good as either of the two porters it is based off of. Both Black Butte and Edmund Fitzgerald are a little bit better than this.
Oak-Smoked Old Guardian from Stone Brewing Company out of Escondido, CA.
Served: Served from a bomber bottle at a little warmer than refrigerator temperature into a goblet.
Appearance: Dark amber with a thin white twist of bubbles.
Smell: Heavy charred wood aroma with a hint of tobacco, green tea, and caramel.
Taste: Very dry and bitter – virtually the antithesis of a barley wine. I feel like I’m drinking a slightly flat version of Founder’s Devil Dancer.
Mouth feel: Medium bodied with an extremely dry finish and lingering hop bitterness.
Overall: This is the 2013 Oaked & Smoked one-off version of Stone’s seasonal barley wine. There is a lot of alcohol in this one but the boozy-sweetness is blocked by the hop presence. If this didn’t say barley wine on it, I never would’ve guessed it to be one. It is dry and slightly flat but it is good and it packs the Smores’ campfire flavor I was begging for. I’m still not getting as much pork as Roger Ebert but I’ve got a beer that I can enjoy with a lighter cigar and that makes me smile.