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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A closer look at Port City One

The magic from Port City!
I hesitated to post a review of Port City One, the very limited (one batch) release anniversary stout that came out last Friday, the main reason that it would not be available to a large group of folks. After some thought though I decided to share my thoughts because not only does it fit in stout month, but it is an excellent beer, even more so from a brewery that only has a little over one year under its belt. That is not meant to be a slight of Port City Brewing. They are doing very cool things, but this particular brew is head and shoulders above the rest of their line up. Frankly it is the best thing they have brewed to date. It is exceptional.  

(These notes are from Sunday, two days after I originally got the growler filled at Whole Foods)
I poured this from a 64 oz. growler. The beer is listed as a Belgian Imperial Stout which frankly is a lot to wrap my mind around and sets a very high bar.  The beer poured with a small tannish head that hung around for a few minutes and then dwindled away. It was a deep dark brown, almost black with a clear mirror finish. It has a good chocolate, coffee taste with a hint of spice and it drank smooth finishing off with dry, mildly hopped aftertaste which lasted for a bit and dried out the mouth. 

For an imperial stout there is a good share of body but not as much as expected. It is not overpowering in either it's imperial or stout character. It does have some good complexity with coffee and chocolate dancing around the drink. There is a more hopped finish than most stouts, and that works to the beer's benefit. 

I really liked this beer... a lot. There is definitely a good bit of alcohol, coming in at 9.5% ABV, and it isn't shy about making its presence felt. That said, it does not detract from the beer or strong arm the flavors in the glass. 

(Back to present time)
I drank my last glass of this today writing this review. The beer had been sitting in the growler since Sunday. It is a bit flat but it has not lost any of the flavor or the complexity. In fact, with the carbonation greatly reduced it has a very nice port aspect going on that is pleasant and allows for a bit more detail of the beer to come out. So not only is it good fresh but also when it goes south. That is a win-win in my book. 

The end result is that Port City Brewing put together a first rate brew that issues a statement of notice that they have arrived. As I said a few days ago, if they keep brewing beer like this then they have a long bright future in front of them. I hope they will release this again because it has the potential to become an all-time classic. 

Follow the link to see the "party line" on this beer. 

Want another take on this beer? Check out the write up from the fine folks at Lost in the Beer Aisle.

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