Before our porter tasting up in Santa Barbara, Gray and I met up at Island Brewing Company in Carpinteria for an ocean view and a preparatory pint.
A beautiful day, as usual, on the coast.
I got a small pint of their Nut Brown Ale – a light, slightly thin-bodied brown ale with a toasty back-end and crisp finish with a gentle hop bite.
I also got a preview from the brewer, Shaun, of their upcoming Big Island Imperial Pale Ale straight from the fermentor. Dave, the guy working the taps, polished up last year’s bottle for me. This beer is brewed on the first of the year, every year. It’s a smooth sip with a nice punch of hops in the end and will be pretty high up there in ABV. I think I heard someone mention it’ll end up around 10%?
Grayson got Jubilee Ale – a sweet, malty beer with a full aroma of caramel and dried fruits.
After enjoying a relaxing hour and a half there, we headed off to stuff ourselves with mass amounts of Indian food and ready our stomachs for a night of porter tasting!
I’m fairly certain that we got an affected Anchor Porter – all I could smell was green apple (acetaldehyde – the sign of a young beer that hasn’t matured fully) and the taste was similar to the aroma. After reading about it on Beer Advocate and seeing everyone list it as “coffee, chocolate, roasty” I’m fairly certain that something was wrong with it. I’ll be going to another store to try this one again in the future. My favorite of the evening was Shipyard’s Imperial Porter – a rich porter that pours a dark mahogany with a long lasting tan head, a sweet aroma of brown sugar and currants with a matching flavor full of burnt sugar, hints of mocha and dried fruits with a slightly spicy finish. This beer also fit the BJCP descriptions almost to a tee, which is one of the purposes of these tastings – trying to distinguish between the sub-styles of so many beers.
Now back to burying myself in Tasting Beer and the draft system manual again! So much to learn!