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Monday, February 3, 2014

Begyle Brewing's Oh Hey! Porter

  • Style: English Porter
  • ABV: 6.0%
  • Ease to locate: Growler fill at their brand spanking new tap room!  OK, full disclosure, I did NOT get spanked when I got my growler filled.  It's possible that you have to pay extra for it.  I've also seen it on tap in Chicago 1 or 2 places.  Here's a link to what Begyle has available for fill right now
  • Color: Medium brown with golden highlights around the edges.  
  • Head: One finger, light beige head of tight carbonation.  Settles quickly, leaving a spotty & delicate webbing of lace
  • Aroma: Lots of roasty brown malts, chocolate and brewed coffee notes.  A straightforward nose for a straightforward English Porter
  • Mouthfeel: Medium body with a good amount of carbonation
  • Finish: Medium and slightly dry
  • Food friendly: Porters, especially straightforward ones like this, work well with a variety of food.  Try it with a sloppy, saucy barbeque pork sandwich.  Or up the sophistication level and serve it with a smoked standing rib roast.  Pair this porter with an Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese or something more earthy, such as Camembert. 

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My family enjoys the occasional pint.  And by that, I mean we vehemently look for occasions to have a drink together frequently.    My middle brother's recent 40th birthday party provided us with such an event.  Coincidentally, the party date also coincided with the first day of growler fills for Begyle Brewery, one of his favorite local brewers.  I took that as a heavenly sign and used it as an excuse took time out of my busy Saturday to visit their new tap room for a growler (or two.)  And of the eight or so beers available to be tapped into my  brand spanking new growler, his favorite (and one of their flagship beers) Crash Landed  found a home.  But do you know what's better than one growler filled with beer goodness?  That's right, my pretties.  TWO growlers. And the second one was blogger's choice.  I went with the one Begyle on tap that I hadn't tried yet, Oh, Hey Porter.  Partially because I love the name.  But mainly because it was a Porter.  Duh.  It's like you people don't even know me at all.

My Oh, Hey Porter poured a medium hued yet still rich looking brown beer with golden highlights around the edges.  A one finger, light beige head formed, full of tight, crowded together as if it was the EL at five o'clock on a Friday carbonation.  The foam settled  after about half a minute, leaving behind spotty, web-like lacing and a complete ring around the top of the liquid (I defy you not to hum "Ring of Fire" in your head right now.)  The nose was dead on for your typical English Porter profile.  Right upfront was the aroma of roasted brown malts, sweet and chocolatey.   A bit of fresh brewed coffee followed.  The barest hint of bitterness was layered in (I'm guessing Fuggle hops were used, but don't quote me on that. Or do and just realize that I could be wrong.)  It was a straightforward nose for a straight forward beer.  And I appreciate that.  Now I love a well done, coconut, halzelnut, Oreo cookie inspired, White Russian flavored experiemental beer as much as the next Pipework's fan girl.  But sometimes when you want a good Porter, you just want a good Porter.  The beer tasted as straighforward as it smelled.  Notes of roasted brown malt, chocolate and coffee were rounded out by a slight earthiness of the hops.  This is pretty much what I assume all the characters in the British mystery novels that I read are drinking at their various pubs as they dig into their kidney & eel pies.  Hell, I'd drink my lunch too if those pies were the only options and this was on their beer menu.  The body and finish were medium and smooth on the tongue.  It was just dry enough to make it easy as (eel) pie to drink down.

I'd serve Oh, Hey Porter with your family's favorite Eel pie recipe (only kidding, but if you insist, here's a link. Use it at your discretion).   Seriously, this Porter would be excellent with a Dry-Aged Standing Rib Roast with Sage Jus.  The moderation of the beer would play beautifully with the juiciness of the meat yet still be able to hold up to the heartiness of the meal.   Maybe it's just me, but a freshly filled growler always tasted better to me than a bottled beer.  There's something about bringing a jug to the brewery and having them pour the sweet, hoppy, malty goodness out of their own taps that just makes the beer extra special. We enjoyed both of our growlers on my (now a bit older) younger brother's special day.  And, being the generous soul that I am, I actually gave one of the growler to him as an extra present.  The fact that I now have two Begyle growlers at my disposal never once occurred to me.  Cross my scheming, duel growler, hoppy heart.