Let's talk about fire. That is, let's discuss a brewery on fire, namely Firestone Walker Brewing. Few brewers nail it as often as Firestone Walker up and down their lineup of offerings. Name them. Double Jack, Union Jack, Parabola, and the Anniversary Ale are all winners. I'm sure Abacus is great too. Tack on Walker's Reserve Porter, a beer that I finally tried last week at Sheffield's.
Beer is so much about presentation. A good pour raises even a mediocre beer's profile. When the a beer is outstanding and given the proper glassware and a good pour, the experience becomes memorable. With FW Reserve Porter, Sheff's did it right, pouring it into a tall tulip glass with rather wide fluting and the rim seeming to point in either direction. The rim was barely exceeded by a tan foamy head, and a brown, nearly black, body lay underneath. I detected little discernible material on the nose, maybe a bit of bitter chocolate and some charcoal, and possibly a hint of smoke. These odors appeared more prominently as flavors, but not so much the smoke. I found it earthy and grainy with bitter chocolate and a hint of pine from the hops. It didn't have the sweetness of Smuttynose Porter or the chocolate of Founders Porter but its flavor combination nicely distinguished itself. The mouthfeel was moderate with strong carbonation that makes quaffing it a bit challenging. It's definitely a sipper. Like all great porters, it's robust and a bit rugged due to the roast, hops, and carbonation, all of which easily capture your attention; and it maintains it, with just enough sweetness and chocolate to make for a highly enjoyable drinking experience.
Northdown Cafe and Taproom will have this and other Firestone Beers, including Parabola, a barrel-aged Parabola, and Double Jack, on draft today at 3 p.m.
Be sure to try the porter.
4.1 of 5 stars on, as Shaun would put it, the Mark-O-Meter.