Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Anchor Brewing Co.: Porter

I hadn't really anticipated writing a beer review during the Bar Exam, but I was so excited to have finally put the six-hour, two-hundred question multistate portion of the exam behind me that I went out and bought myself a beer to have with dinner. While the bomber of Stone's Imperial Russian was tempting me, I'm not feeling that confident. So I went with a new pick from a favorite brewery: Anchor's porter.

Anchor really went big with the flavors on this one. An initial rush of sweet toasted malts gives way to a substantial dose of hops as the beer rolls over your overwhelmed tastebuds. The intial burst of sweetness has an almost fruity character to it, but the hops come in so quickly and so powerfully that you don't have much time to figure out exactly which fruit it is. The finishing flavor is a distinctive smokiness that persists along with the bold hop flavors for quite a while. For coffee-lovers like myself, the aftertaste is nothing to complain about, but those who are not quite as enamored with bitter flavors might want to stay away.

The mouthfeel tends toward the thicker side of the spectrum, which along with the bold, smoky flavors probably makes this the sort of beer that isn't really best enjoyed on a hot summer afternoon. Of course, that concern doesn't apply if you happen to be hanging out in Anchor's hometown of San Francisco, where the word "hot" is used to refer to any day that gets above 75 degrees. And even those are few and far between.

Another solid showing for a California mainstay. Hopheads and fans of darker brews should check this one out for sure.

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