Beer: Black Butte XXVI – 26th Birthday Reserve
Brewery: Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR
ABV: 10.8%

Tasting notes: Chocolate, roasted malts, and a subtle but present punch of tartness from the cranberries and pomegranate. The aroma draws you in like a Tootsie Pop. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Black Butte glass of beer? One, but it keeps getting better with every sip.

Pairing ideas: I sipped this for dessert on Thanksgiving. It can work alongside other desserts, but it’s such a complex and robust drink that it may be appreciated more on its own. However, it should work with creamy desserts like cheesecake and creme brulee and it would also be a formidable partner for long-roasted hunks of flavorful beef and bold gamey meats like duck.

Black Butte Porter stands tall as the flagship ale of Deschutes Brewery. Roasty like a traditional porter and hoppy like a traditional Oregon beer, Black Butte Porter deserves the respect it’s given.

To celebrate the brewery’s birthday, every year Deschutes comes out with a different “Black Butte (fill in the Roman Numeral Here)” Imperial Porter to mark the occasion. The brewery takes their Black Butte Porter and ages it in bourbon barrels, adding cacao nibs, pomegranate molasses, and cranberries. The Imperial Porter possesses different layers of flavor, giving each sip a complex array of chocolate and vanilla, tartness and smokiness.

It’s an exceptional beer, perfect for any occasion you want to make celebratory, but seems exceedingly appropriate this time of year.

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