Drink This Now: Deschutes Black Butte Porter

Courtesy Deschutes

In the last gasps of cold weather, my favorite brew to drink is porter. The lean ancestor to stout, swarthy porter has plenty of rich flavor and creaminess to go with the final crop of root vegetables and last spoonfuls of hearty cold-weather stew, but in its lighter, livelier character, it presupposes the warm days to come. A superb version is Deschutes Black Butte Porter, an ale of such layered deliciousness, I had to stop mid-sip, to tell the truth, and write this little paean to it right away. Brewed amid its namesake evergreen-clad peaks in Bend, Oregon, it's a porter made with a rainbow of malts, from pale to wheat to chocolate and more, all of which add their own flavors: nutty, roasted, toasted, grassy, and with just a hint of zingy hop bitterness to prop it all up. There's even a yeasty, funky Bourdeaux-like note to it. All this at only 5.2 percent alcohol? It's the middle of the day in March. Is it time for a porter? Yep.