Weekly Beer Geek: Darkangel Cherry Porter
- Written by Luke G
- April 19, 2012
Darkangel Cherry Porter
North Peak Brewing Company
The Beginning: I’m nothing if not a senseless optimist. Just a few short weeks ago, a Cherry Stout made me sad inside by being pretty bad. Now here I am, staring down the barrel of another dark beer with cherry flavor added, and my hopes are high once again. Maybe it’s because porters run a little sweeter, and could take the fruitiness better. Maybe it’s because they don’t seem to have used ultra-sour Montmorency cherries. Maybe it’s because North Peak has done well for me in the past, or, hell, maybe I just love their stubby little bottles. Whatever the cause, I’m giving it another go. Let’s hope I don’t regret it.
The Brewer’s Pitch: Uh oh. North Peak sorts their seasonal by month, and Darkangel is from October. If it hasn’t aged well this could be a musty disaster. A dry porter with a full roast of barley, followed by chocolate malts and a hops blend that keeps the brew sharply bitter and clean. The body is medium-thick, with a balanced malt profile that finishes smooth and with just a hint of tart... cherry. This worries me.
The Beer: Darkangel is somewhere between mid-brown and dark amber, with the barest hint of red notes around the edges. The head is thin but solid, just off-white, and the smell is a powerful burst of sweet cherry and flowery hops. The flavor hits hard and strong. The barley roast is light and crisp and not very smoky, and the hops arrive early to blend in. The beer is quite light-bodied for a porter, thin and crisp. As it finishes, the hops slowly fade and then give one more burst on the very back of the palate. The cherry flavor is barely noticeable. If you let it linger in your mouth you feel the barest hint of a sweet/sour fruitiness but it doesn’t last.
The Breakdown: I’m so torn by this beer. On the one hand, it’s a pretty interesting porter. It almost reminds me of a porter/stout hybrid, or maybe even similar to an IPA, with the powerful hops and lighter body. Most porters tend more to the thick heavy sugary flavor. It’s tart and dry but keeps a good grain flavor, with an interesting bitter character. It also has minimal aftertaste so you could have a few in a row without getting overwhelmed. On the other hand, where’s the cherry? It’s nearly absent unless I make a point to warm it in my mouth, and if I have to work to get at a flavor then what’s the point? This beer's grade gets knocked down a peg for not having the taste it promises.
The Bottom Line: Hands down, my favorite part of this is the name. I’m not being artsy or full of typos, the name Darkangel is all one word. It’s the little things.