The Dark of the Day
In case you were living under a rock, an epic celestial event swept across the United States this morning. From Oregon to South Carolina the sun was blacked out by the moon’s shadow. Here in Portland, the sky darkened, a chill breeze blew, and the streetlights flickered.
The best way to mark the occasion is with an equally dark beer. An unsparingly, un
Black Butte XXIX is the latest in Deschutes Brewery’s annual series of imperial porters. Every year to mark the anniversary of Black Butte Porter’s birth, the Bend brewery creates an extra strength version of their flagship brew with new add-ins and techniques every time. To celebrate 29 years, brewers added dutch cocoa, saigon cinnamon, and a hint of cayenne. Fifty percent of the beer was aged in whiskey and rum barrels before blending and bottling.
I was surprised by the cayenne, that part of the label rubbed off in transit. The second I poured out the beer though, I could smell it. The pepper gives the beer a certain heat on the nose. Worse, it adds a meaty tang to the flavor. The first few sips were marred by an earthy, vegetable tang. But with time it dissipated, reverting into a background spice.
As it warms, the beer solidifies into a dense rich chocolate. Dark chocolate, single origin chocolate, ten dollars for a Hershey size bar chocolate – it’s rich and expensive. It’s strong but not thick or boozy. The bourbon plays second fiddle as notes of cola and rum cut through the chocolatey haze. The finish is dry. The alcohol warms the belly and numbs the tongue.
But just as the moon passes by, Black Butte 29 is gone almost as soon as it started.