Weekly Beer Geek: Smoke Porter
- Written by Luke G
- January 19, 2012
The weather’s been warm lately, and it has nearly felt like Fall. That illusion is helped along by the fact that, over Christmas, I liberated some of my Dad’s stock of venison and have been eating like the king of hunters lately. So what better to go with mighty, manly meals of deer meat and potatoes than a smoked porter?
The Brewer’s Pitch
O’Fallon, the king of weird-flavored beers, presents this deep, heavy brew. With a hearty dose of heavily smoked German malt, Smoke is designed to pair with dinner or hearty foods, or to be slowly sipped and savored any time you want something that will slow you down and make you appreciate it. Even their label is evocative- a lone hunter at his site, warming himself by his small fire as it billows smoke. Of course, in a REAL campsite, he would immediately be engulfed by the choking cloud, but that’s artistic licensing for you. On an incidental note, O’Fallon’s flavored beers stand out in my mind because they taste JUST like what they are supposed to- not “inspired” or “infused.” So, this may taste like licking an ash pile.
Smoke pours a deep brown with a thick two-finger head that comes in solid and lingers, heavily lacing the glass as it slowly fades. The smell is dim and subtle but vivid if you get your nose right down to it. It is a gently smoky aroma (not to put too fine of a point on it), with the mildest acidic sting in it. The initial mouth feel is velvet smooth but quite light. It tastes much like a subdued version of a standard porter. The brown-sugar sweetness is blunted and the bitter aftertaste is cloaked in the heavy smoky taste of the malt. It finishes abruptly, the taste barely lingering in the form of a bitter tingle around the back of the tongue.
This is a very subtle beer- it isn’t as sweet as a normal porter, and it doesn’t hit the tongue harsh and bitter like a full-bodied stout. I don’t think it would pair well with much food, since the tastes are too low and smooth to contend well. In fact, this doesn’t feel like a winter beer at all. I hope this isn’t a seasonal, since it’s the perfect beer to drink on a warmish evening, especially around a campfire.
The Bottom Line
You know, it’s hard to say. If this HAD tasted like licking a campfire, I may have actually bought a lot more, just to see what people did when they tried it.