Last week McMenamins sent me a fresh bottle of their Black Widow Porter, their Halloween seasonal that hits the taps in October. I believe this is the first year that it’s been bottled, and certainly the first time McMenamins has sent (to me, at least) samples for review. I have to say I really like the label, simple yet attractive and done in the McMenamins style that permeates their various pubs and locations.
It’s brewed with licorice and while the alcohol isn’t listed, the beer sites have it at 7 to 7.35% by volume. McMenamins gives the story behind the beer as such:
Originally created at the Thompson Brewery over 20 years ago on October 15, 1991 and made by all Thompson Brewers to come after, Black Widow has become an expected and welcome Halloween treat at the Thompson Public House in Salem. More recently Black Widow has expanded her web to include other breweries and outposts in the last few years. This year, however, her web has enveloped the entire company, as every McMenamins brewery will be making a batch.
Bottling is done at the Edgefield location out in Troutdale, which is where this was from. In retrospect I think I should have picked up a growler of the locally-brewed Porter to compare the two side-by-side, that would have been fun!
Appearance: Dark brown pour with light brown head, light lacing.
Smell: Dark roast coffee, a touch creamy-chocolatey like a mocha, hints of licorice. Malty with a touch of toffee present in the chocolate malts.
Taste: Sweet porter, with mocha coffee notes and molasses sweetness, very nice and drinkable. A bare hint of smokiness at the back of the throat. It’s tasty but not cloying, balancing the sweet against the roasty dry ending really well.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a chewy backbone and a slightly dry finish.
Overall: Very nice porter, toasty and sweet without losing balance between the two.