Friday, March 5, 2010

Port Brewing Co: Hot Rocks Lager

As mentioned in my last post, I snagged a bunch of Port Brewing beer on my latest trip to the liquor store. To intrigue my pallate and to augment the blog, I went with some Port labels I never tried before. One such selection is Port's spring seasonal: Hot Rocks Lager. Found in a brown bomber, I had no idea at the time of purchase that this was a Euro dark lager. While the printing on the side explains the name: heated rocks are used to boil the wort, there is no indication anywhere on the bottle that this isn't a light colored crisp hoppy beverage that we Americans associate with the term 'lager'.

Instead this lager pours a dark brown with an almost black center which prohibits light from penetrating through. The smell hits you hard off the bat and is overwhelming sweet. Strong brown sugar aromas tingle your nostrils through every sip and never dissipates. The taste has some sweet malt elements but quickly fads into a burnt dark malt flavor. Mixing the two flavors the brew almost tastes like a muted coke or chocolate. The aftertaste has some faint hop bitterness which actually sits nicely on your tongue and cleanses your pallate. The only other point of note, is despite the strong smells and flavors the texture is quite thin and watery. For an American brewed lager this beer is quite unique. However, it reminds me of many European Schwarzbiers. So if you like Schwarzbiers you'd probably enjoy this Port offering. For me, it's not my favorite, but a nice change of pace. While nothing stellar, the aftertaste keeps me reaching for another sip. I think to a certain degree my average review is somehow related to the fact that I also feel deceived; as there was no indication that this was a dark Euro lager as opposed to other more common American style premium lagers that I was expecting such as an amber lager or pilsner. So even though I was somewhat disappointed instead of pleasantly surprised, I still ended up with a decent beer. To that I say: Cheers.

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