Photo Credit: John Bartz
The Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewing Company is well-known in craft beer for a multitude of all-too-valid reasons. This past Saturday, June 27th marked the 32nd anniversary of the brewery and the release of the 32nd anniversary edition of the famous porter, which quite literally set the standard for the American Porter style. No, seriously. Look up American Porter in the BJCP flavor guidelines. Amongst other storied beers, Black Butte Porter has been featured as an industry-standard example of what a porter should taste like.
Black Butte Porter, of Bend, Oregon, has been used in a variety of ways by the brewery aside from just bottled and shelved- it also serves as the base mash for Black Butte Whiskey, a collaboration between Deschutes and Bendistillery. Aged three years in oak barrels, this distillation makes for a smooth drinking American whiskey with a wonderful balance of flavors. The Deschutes website uses “malty sweetness” and “toffee” notes to describe it.
The most unique (and rare) version of this versatile porter comes from Black Butte3, which is expected to release from the brewery in July, and everywhere outside of Oregon that Deschutes is sold for the first time. If a connoisseur of craft was to taste this elusive beer, they would be tasting the product of 4-5 years worth of work. To create it, the brewery produces a mash of the Black Butte Porter and sends it to Bendistillery, who in turn distills and ages the aforementioned Black Butte Whiskey. Once the aging process is complete, a new batch of Black Butte Porter is brewed and then aged in the very same barrels the whiskey aged in, thus completing the trifecta and creating Black Butte3. It is certainly nothing to stick your nose up at, weighing in this time around at 14.1% ABV. If you see it, buy it- who knows if you’ll get the chance again.