Today was Deschutes Brewery’s big release of this year’s anniversary ale, Black Butte XXIV—with bottles for sale all day, a special menu, and samples starting at 5—we swung down to try the new beer in a kind of “pregame” for the OBF tomorrow.
I didn’t pick up any bottles (yet) but got the next best thing: a vertical sampler flight of Black Buttes! For $20 the sampler tray came out with:
- Black Butte Porter (original flagship beer)
- Black Butte XXI
- Black Butte XXII
- Black Butte XXIII
- Black Butte XXIV
- Plus a dark chocolate truffle
(The only thing missing, of course, was the original Black Butte XX—but beggars can’t be choosers!)
They were all very good, and interesting. The XXI was still great, with a chocolate and roasty character that’s held up very well. The XXII—the one that was actually recalled because of issues with the butterfat from the chocolate separating—had a bit of its original character but weirdly had developed an acetic (vinegar) character. “Pickles” was the general agreement though it wasn’t terribly strong.
The XXIII was a great example of what the XXII should have been, with rich chocolate and still hints of the orange and chilies that went into the beer. Very, very nice. And finally, the XXIV, this year’s beer, is rich and sweet and nicely drinkable; you get the chocolate and residual sweetness from the dates and figs (what hasn’t fermented out) and is way too easy-drinking for 11%. Very, very good, don’t miss out on picking up bottles of this.
For dinner my wife and I split a special: pork shoulder braised in a Black Butte XXIV mole sauce, and served with tortillas over quinoa. It was tender, tasty, and satisfying.
Overall it was a nice evening, low-key, with killer beers. I’m glad Deschutes hung on to the Black Butte vintages as it was interesting to try them in the vertical flight; they’ve done this in the past with The Abyss and it’s a fun format.