Since we’re solidly in the Halloween season (what, you haven’t seen the pumpkins and black cats and strange lights in windows lately?), one beer you can and should seek out here in the Pacific Northwest is McMenamins’ Black Widow Porter. It’s their Halloween seasonal beer, on tap through the 31st, and one for which they sent me an advance bottle to try.
Originally brewed at the Thompson Brewery in 1991, it has since because a company-wide seasonal, a robust porter with licorice root that comes in at 7.35% abv. Each brewery crafts Black Widow in-house, so each version will have slight variances depending on the equipment and processes. The bottled version is brewed by the Edgefield brewery in Troutdale. (This means I need to head over to my local McMenamins Old St. Francis School to try the local version.)
Appearance: Opaque dark brown, pours thick, nice finger-and-a-half of creamy tan head that’s finely bubbled.
Smell: Coffee and creamy—mellow mocha note, like a fresh-brewed dark roast. Dark chocolate nibs. Black licorice root, which makes me think of sassafras.
Taste: Toasty, sweet robust porter. Some nice chocolate notes and what tastes to me like milk sugar to give it a rich feel. Light roast, dark caramel, bittersweet chocolate, finished satisfyingly sweet but not cloying.
Mouthfeel: Medium- to full-bodied and nicely chewy. Not too thick so that it strays out of “porter” territory.
Overall: Really nice sweet porter, substantial and satisfying. Would be a suitable adult trick-or-treat giveaway on Halloween night…