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Monday, March 31, 2014

Spiteful Brewing's God Damn Raspberry Pigeon Porter

  • Style: Porter brewed with raspberries (insert your own YUM here)
  • ABV: 8.2%
  • Ease to locate: Spiteful's website has a decent list of Chicagoland stores & bars that carry their beers.  You can also follow them on their Facebook page or their Twitter account.  As a side note for all those who live outside delivery areas, The Beer Temple and West Lakeview Liquors ship beers, including this one. 
  • Color: Medium to dark brown.  Murky, yet appetizing
  • Head: Tan, soapy, one finger head that falls quickly to a film.  Spotty, delicate lacing.  
  • Aroma: Great nose.  Tons of roasty chocolate with a hint of espresso and dirt.  A definite tartness is there, but not a distinct raspberry aroma (more of a general berry tartness)
  • Mouthfeel: Medium body with no coating on tongue.  Lots of carbonation dry it out nicely. 
  • Finish: Long, ending in with the tart raspberry note.  The more this beer opens, the more integrated the tartness gets (and the more I enjoyed it.)
  • Food friendly?: Hmmm... tough one.  At first I thought, no.  The tartness mixed with the chocolate notes felt like I would enjoy this beer more on it's own than with a meal.  But as the porter opened and I took the dryness into consideration, I think it might work with simple pairings.  Easy deserts, such as pound cake, are a given.  But a salad of greens & raspberry vinaigrette could be amazing.      Serve it with a good cheddar cheese.

Apple user's link:In one word? ICK!
                                                                                                        I can only assume that none of  these people have ever seen an Alfred Hitchcock flick all the way through

Tourists are funny creatures.  When I traveled to Venice (the one in Italy, not California.  Although, now that I think about it, I can easily see a similar incident happening in the So Cal namesake as well...)  I witnessed one of the most heinous acts of tourist stupidity that I have ever seen.  This incident was so vile, so disgusting, so utterly cringe worthy that I still shudder when recalling the mental image over ten years later.  I was in the center of St. Mark's Square.  The tower was to my right, the Basilica  behind me, while flanking me on all sides were upscale boutiques and quaint cafes.  Before me was a gaggle of tourists.   American?  German?  Spanish? What did it matter?  The tourist brain can be an empty brain, willing you to do things that never in a million years would you do if you were safe at home.  Like stand in the center of St. Mark's Square, spread your arms far & wide and let a parliament of pigeons cover your body like it was the last bread crumb on Earth.  I watched, completely disgusted yet still fascinated in a fiery car wreck sort of way, as person after person allowed these disease ridden flying rats to land on their arms, their shoulders, their heads. Now, granted, I am not a bird person (unless we're talking about Big Bird and then I'm totally down with that overgrown avian) , but I would think that even the most tolerant person would realize that being covered from head to toe with disease ridden, beady eyed, fast food scavengers is not a brilliant idea.   What is a brilliant idea?  A chocolatey Porter brewed with raspberries.

My God Damn Raspberry Pigeon Porter poured a oaky, dark brown, rather murky looking ale.  I didn't see any trace of other coloring in the Porter, nary a black nor a red tint to be found.  But it was rich in appearance, like a good piece of European chocolate.  A tightly packed, one finger of tan head rose in the snifter, said howdy and fell back to a thin, surface covering film.  The head left behind (OK, I may have swirled a bit) delicate, spotty lacing that resembled soap bubbles.  I liked that the appearance wasn't as dark or dank as some Porters have recently become.   The nose was amazingly inviting.  The rich chocolate scent was front and center with the sharp note of a tart berry layered just underneath.  I couldn't yet quite pin point the tartness as raspberry exactly.  The aroma seemed more general berry than specifically raspberry, to me at least.  The tartness gave what might have been a general, run of the mill Porter nose an interesting twist. I also smelled just a bit of dirt present as well.  The taste reflected the nose in a much larger sort of way.  The roasted chocolate character was huge and reminded me of a German chocolate bar (you know, the good kind that makes you wonder why you ever bothered with Herseys in the first place.)  There was no mistaking the note of raspberry on the tongue.  Fresh. just picked raspberry notes mingled playfully with the chocolate and coffee flavors.  At various points when drinking this beer, I could have sworn that there was a subtle hint of grapefruit present, but it was an elusive note that was there one moment and gone the next.  All in all, it was a rich, tart, just chocolatey enough Porter  that opened wonderfully as it sat.  The medium body contained an abundant amount of carbonation that lent it towards a dryer sort of Porter.  I enjoyed the long finish which ended with the interesting raspberry tartness.

Flavored Porters, such as God Damn Raspberry Pigeon Porter, aren't easy to pair with food.  You're often working with a variety of intense flavor notes that don't always play well with each other.  Personally, I find that the dryer a flavored Porter is, the better it works with simple dishes.   I also recommend letting a beer like his one open a bit to allow the flavors to shake hands and get to know each other a bit before serving a glass with a meal. I would pair this beer with a Chicken Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette or even just a Mixed Green Salad with Walnuts (extra points if you use the radicchio's bitterness as a counter point to the chocolate richness here.)   A raspberry Porter is a great segway  for early Spring beer drinking.  When temperatures are still hovering around the 40's & 50's a person (and by a person, I mean me, of course) wants a substantial beer, but craves the promise of the sunny days that are soon coming.  The one nice thing about early Spring, at least here in Chicago, is that those stupid pigeons are still vacationing down South (the ones that didn't make the trip to Venice, that is.)  Enjoy it while you can.