Wednesday, August 29, 2012

[A Beer a Day] Black Butte XXIV Birthday Reserve Imperial Porter | Deschutes Brewing | Bend, OR

I.  Kill for Love

Excuse my perseveration on this topic, but I'm still chuckling over here about the hysterical herd mentality brought forth by the tubbied commune of beer harvesters; a collection of cargo-jort-wearing guppies, cluelessly swimming in vaguely the same direction, pretending they are part of some sort of complicated strategy, tipping each other off with pointers and locales and idiotic bleat before the casual fans have a chance to descend on what they believe is their 'rightful' crop.

Then they all pat each other on the backs for mining all the great beer out of this city, all while reconfirming their their dedication to beer advocacy.  What a joke.

That these fuckers have essentially declared beer fatwah on the lesser-informed by accelerating the mentality of The world is fucking ending! Run everyone run! Fuck the women and children, save yourselves! and keeping the craft beer conversation alternating between doom, hype, and in-depth pointing of the finger to go along with their idiot wind.  It is enough to swear off the whole hobby altogether.

To paraphrase the great Herman Blume, my advice to the rest of you: Take dead aim on them. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down. Just remember, they can buy whales, but they can't buy backbone. Don't let them forget it. Thank you.

The issue with having a partisan-dominated hobby -- like this one for example -- is the lack of social and pragmatic calibration from an opposition, a spectrum of quid pro quo between oppositional forces.  Its the reason why we laugh at first -- then stare agape in horror at our televisions during something incestuously bawdy like presidential nominating conventions.  We are witness to a frightening swell of the willing provoking the horny;  glazed-over faces, too-wide grins, awkward eagerness.  This is the new culture of beer practicum.  And it is unfriendly.

As you may have ascertained, Black Butte Porter XXIV tripped the jort-signal, and so out came the squealing and snorting beardos to flashmob every Spec's and indie bottle shop in town with Oops, I Did it Again.  Only this time I was at the ready.

II.  Growing Old

The other day, Mrs. [AA] and I were sitting around in the backyard due to an unfortunate breeding incident which has confined both of us to the house -- and we were applauding our kickass idea to begin a cellaring program due to our impending nights-out being limited to in-house pub-crawls and the Junior Boys Pandora station.  As we approach the nadir of IPAs and other traditionally hot-weathers in favor of far more sexier beers like Black Butte Porter XXIV, this is exactly what we intended to do with our program.  Age.

Interestingly, XXIV does not have an annotation pressed onto its over-garment denoting a 'Best By' date.  Instead, it has a dark warning that lets us know when XXIV is 'Best After' -- and in the case of this twin-set, the ideal time for the brewer's handiwork and vision to mature in its oubliette was sometime after July of 2013.

But since we were just sitting around thirsty and friendless in the garden, we thought it best to dismiss all bottle demands and just get to crackin' one of these, and yes, put the other away until it acquired a reasonable self-esteem and a sense of purpose. 

III. Youth is Wasted on the Young

My only other experience with the Black Butte Reserve series was an un-aged XXIII -- that would be last year's edition for the non-Roman, non-Super Bowl crowd -- and I found it particularly fan-fucking-tastic.  The spices, chiles, chocolate nibs, and oranges were effervescent, playful, naughty, all that other wordplay shit that makes it sound dope to death.  It beasted the hell out of me on Christmas Eve, thanks to the generosity of my brother-in-beer, Ken -- making the goddam Family White Elephant charade a bit more bearable.  But just a bit more.

Therefore, I had big expectations going into the eye of the XXIV storm.  I noticed somewhere online that the recipe had changed a little bit -- from chiles and oranges, to figs and dates.  Okay, but man, I really loved the acidity of the last version.  My socks could not be found afterwards, they were blown so far.

After the first sip XXIV, I absolutely realized that the date-stamp was completely necessary.  My experience with imperial porters and stouts told me that XXIV still had a VERY young profile, and was a bit thin in the nose and alveolar.  Where most imperials are fat-tongued, dense, and resin-y, XXIV was still toying with the joys of youth.  Its elements were separate, distinct notes -- much like my interpretation of Sierra Nevada/Russian River's Collaborative Brux

While XXIV did not give me that initial, boozy nipple erection that XXIII did, I thought that it was still very composed for such a young beer, containing only momentary weaknesses that will surely remedy with experience and age.  The chocolate nibs were downright regal, and where the oranges of XXIII left off, black cherries and figs became suitable deputies.  A final push of roasted espresso and smoky bourbon finished the wash with a little bit of a novice slur -- but nothing that couldn't be remedied by next July.  XXIV was a total, sultry package that is just realizing her potential.  As of now, drinking XXIV is like holding hands with Anne Hathaway, but next year -- after a full year of soul searching within -- will be like tongue bathing Eva Mendes.

ABV: 11.o%
Acquired: East 1st Grocery
Musical Paring: Tom Waits | Small Change (1976)
(in 2012)

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