My own research into beer drinking habits leads me to believe that the number of true "porter" aficionados is a small one. With its big malty body, and chocolate overtones, a good porter pretty much overwhelms the palate - it's the drinking equivalent of double fudge cake. As such, it's a little much for amateur beer drinkers. The Coors Light crowd need not apply. So it's somewhat of a historical oddity that one of Deschutes Brewery's most recognizable and best selling beers is its Black Butte Porter, a staple in the brewery's production line since it opened 20 years ago.
But it's fitting that Deschutes chose to honor this unlikely hero by super sizing it for the brewery's ongoing 20th anniversary celebration. The brewery produced what it's calling the Black Butte Double XX in an extremely limited run - just a few hundred barrels. But for big beer fanatics, this brew is not to be missed. The beer, which is available in bottles, is best sampled at the tap where Deschutes bartenders serve it up in a snifter glass that allows the brew's smoky flavor to envelop the drinker. There is nothing subtle about this beer, which incorporates cocoa nibs from the famous Theo's chocolate in Seattle. Brewers topped that by dry hopping the brew with 100 pounds of Bellatazza's fair trade coffee. The beer was finished in Stranahan's Colorado whiskey barrels just to add a bit of oak to the mix. The result is a 22 proof beer that seduces the palate and is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. EJF