Beer Review: Nethergate Old Growler PorterJanuary 10, 2007
I wanted to start off this blog with a beer I had never tried before. I visited one of my favorite beer retailers on my way home from work….I hadn’t been there in a while and they have a lot I have never tried before or even seen in the Nashville area. I picked this Old Growler Porter because I have just been itching for a good porter since mid-fall.
The guy who rang up my purchase told me when I bought it that this was his favorite porter. I was anxious to get it home and try it, but honestly was not expecting too much. A lot of brewers seem to overdo their porters. Plus, strange as it sounds, the bulldog on the bottle made me expect less from it. Maybe because it made me think of Red Dog beer. Remember Red Dog?
Nethergate is a brewer out of England. Here is a bit about them, taken directly from their Web site:
We have brewed traditional ales in the Stour Valley since 1986, firstly in the small town of Clare, in Suffolk, and then in 2005 moving to a larger brewery on the south bank of the river Stour a mile or two down river at Pentlow.
From the very start our beers have been recognised by their excellence, winning many awards, both regionally and nationally. Our most recent major award was at the Chicago International Beer Festival where we were awarded the prestigious Platinum Medal for our Old Growler, the top award.
So I take the beer home and crack it open. A wonderful aroma drifts up to me from the bottle. It smells like heavenly chocolatey nirvana in there! There are faint hints of coffee in the aroma, but the chocolate is the most noticeable for me.
I tilt my glass and pour slowly down the side of the glass, and notice its very dark hue. Very little, if any, light passes through the glass. Looks like a very strong cup of coffee without cream. As the glass fills halfway, I turn the glass upright and give it a more forceful pour, building up a good 2 inch thick head. The head is a nice soft caramel color and really doesn’t leave much lacing on the glass. The head does not last all that long.
I bring my nose almost into the pint glass and take several good snootfuls of the aroma. Still heavy on the chocolate. I take my first taste. The initial taste is almost the reverse of the aroma….much more coffee than chocolate to it. It has a rich mouthfeel, the beer almost coating your mouth.
As I had a few more tastes, I notice what I only know how to describe as a sort of dustiness to the beer. Not a bad thing at all…just a little dryness I suppose. After tasting that, I can smell it in the aroma as well. It makes for a very pleasant experience, despite how it may sound with me calling it “dustiness”.
There is nothing overpowering in the beer, and I appreciate that. It is subtle and understated, with a good bit of complexity. At times a swallow of this elixir almost makes you feel as if you could chew it. It’s more the taste than anything else. Sometimes you get a taste that comes across similar to a Riesen’s candy.
All in all, an excellent porter, to be enjoyed as an experience. A lot of people like to pair their beers with food, but I tend to focus simply on the beer. This is one beer you can sit and savor….with this much depth and complexity, it’s a new experience with each sip.
Price: I paid a little over $4 for a 500ml bottle (basically a pint and a quarter?)