For all that I wrote last week about seasonal beers that fall outside of the usual dark and heavy winter warmer classification, the first thing I wanted once it was safe to send Lady Hophead on a beer run ... was a porter.
Along with a few old favorites, she returned with a half-liter bottle of Nethergate Old Growler, an old-fashioned English porter that neither of us had tried.
It poured a translucent cola-black body with a thick, frothy tan head, offering a very mellow malty caramel nose with a distinct coppery, metallic tang. One sip and I knew she'd picked an ideal porter for a snowy winter evening.
Overall, it was a vary balanced, subtle brew for a porter. Bulldog on the label notwithstanding, it didn't have nearly the same bite of bitter coffee or dark chocolate that many American porters have. Rather, it had a surprising amount of fruity sweetness along with the roasted malt flavor, and a very creamy, full-bodied texture. Unsurprisingly, as it's a middling 5.0-percent ABV, it has little to no alcohol warmth. For anyone looking for a smooth, mellow porter--especially to share with a drinker who ordinarily doesn't like dark beers--Old Growler is an exceptional choice.
And while we're on the subject of Guinness and Trinity Hall, Guinness brewmaster Fergal Murray will judge the Perfect Pint competition (click here for video of last year's event) Tuesday, March 9, with the event kicking off around 7 p.m.. Note that the date is new, rescheduled from March 10.
Finally, Sigel's Elite (3209 N. Fitzhugh) will welcome Samuel Adams' Rachelle Bose 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, February 25, for a FREE tasting of current releases from the Brewmaster's Collection: Boston Lager, Noble Pils, Coastal Wheat and Blackberry Witbier. Call 214-635-3162 or e-mail the store for more information.