A few years ago my brother decided he would be joining the Coast Guard. I’m not entirely sure I would blossom and flourish in that particular setting, but he seems to be enjoying it. One of the nice things about his job is that he gets to travel and live in a bunch of different areas. He went to boot camp in Cape May NJ, was stationed in Boston for a time, and now lives in Astoria Oregon. Since being officially stationed there he’s managed to take the boat to various islands, travel through the Panama Canal, and hang out in Guantanamo Bay for a little while. I love to travel, so some of those actually do get me jealous. Well he is about to move again from Astoria to Seattle, and we’ve never made it out there to visit him. My wife and I change that next week. Next Wednesday we fly into Portland to spend a couple of days in and around hipster paradise.
Being an avid beer lover, it sounds like Oregon could be a bit of Mecca for me. My brother and Megan Vs Beer have managed to give me a few different examples of that. I’ve received different beers from Deschutes, Ninkasi, Rogue, Hair of the Dog, and a variety of others. Since we of course have to check out where my brother has been living the past few years, and it’s a free place to stay, we’ll definitely be heading back to Astoria. One brewery I know I’ll be visiting while in Astoria is Fort George Brewing Co.
My brother informs me it’s right around the corner from his place. It’s a brewery he had been telling me about for a while, and he made it even more interesting when he brought a variety of their beers back to the east coast for me. I previously reviewed their Oatmeal Pale Ale, which I really enjoyed. But I’ve worked my way through a few other beers from them as well. I didn’t review it, but their Vortex IPA was really good too. Since it is stout month, and I’m looking for a few ideas of what to do while in the Portland area, I figured it was about time to dive into their stout.
My brother has told me this beer is definitely his favorite, so I was holding on to it for a while waiting for the right time to enjoy it. Fort George apparently has an affinity for spiders, so there are quite a few spider facts and pictures surrounding the can. Although intrigued their love became the artwork for this particular beer, I’m not especially a fan of particularly large arachnids. I’m trusting that they didn’t use them in the brew, so I was really looking forward to it.
This beer has a super dark oil appearance to it as it hits the glass. Fort George goes as far as saying this beer will stain your clothes. I didn’t really feel like giving that a test, so I’ll take their word for it. There is a light brown/tannish head that develops on the pour. There is certainly great lacing and residual sticky residue left on the sides of the glass after a nice little swirl. Agitating the beer builds the thick and creamy head right back up. Of course it was far too dark to get a sense of clarity, but you can see a little carbonation around the edges.
As a good stout should, both chocolate and coffee seem to dominate the aroma of the beer. One nice thing is that they list the malts and hops they use in the brew on the side of the can and on the site. There are no chocolate malts in the brew, but they use Munich which I suppose help give some of that nice dark chocolate smell. There are some light roasted aromas that come off the beer as well. These combine nicely with rather fragrant coffee scents. The sweet malts are quite evident, but the hops seems to get swallowed up on the nose. There is a slight woody earthy quality to the smell as well.
While there are certainly stouts out there that take it easy on some of the big stout aspects I love, I’m glad to see this beer features some nice bold stout qualities. The beer has a typical sweet malt intro that is accompanied by some of the rich dark chocolate I pulled out of the nose. The bold coffee flavors come in and are quickly met by huge roasted notes. The big roasted flavors reach a peak towards the end of the brew. Right near the end I get my first taste of some hop that could be hiding behind all that chocolate and coffee. The beer ends with a nice sweet and chocolate flavored finish.
The beer borders on having an almost milk or oatmeal stout quality. The big thick and creamy mouth is always nice for a bold stout like this one. Thankfully they provided just enough carbonation to keep it slightly lighter; however, the bold roasted notes towards the end still keep it heavier throughout.
I’m definitely looking forward to finding my way over to Fort George brewery sometime next week. I actually just saw that they will be offering this very beer aged in rye barrels. I will certainly be on the lookout for that one. If you’re familiar with the Portland and Astoria area, let me know some things I should be looking out for out there. Maybe I’ll bring some good beer back for you.
Teacher Grade: A