MacTarnahan’s Black Watch Cream Porter won as best porter in the 2001 Great American Beer Festival awards, and it’s easy to see why. Made (according to the website) with oatmeal as well as malted and unmalted grains, the beer is actually pretty light in mouthfeel, but the flavor is incredible. (This may have been enhanced by the fact that I was drinking the Limited Edition version, which conditions the porter in used bourbon casks!) It pours black, with a slightly brown-tinged head. The nose is slightly malty but subdued, but then the first taste: creamy sweetish, with a lingering hint of something. A couple of tastes later and it becomes clear: vanilla from the cask, with a faint overtone of the sweet bourbon. Anthem America thinks it’s a slightly “burnt” flavor; he might be right, but I think it’s more “toasted.”
Honestly, after tasting so many Belgians, I don’t really have words to describe how good this beer is. It’s a completely different flavor vocabulary. Highly recommended.
I enjoyed this one last night over grilled lamb and garlic sausages, which were found at A&J Meats and Seafood on Queen Anne. Thank God, finally found a butcher out here. They aren’t the same old school style as our Boston butcher, Frank (really Francesco), but their stuff is top notch. Their hot Italian sausage is pretty good too.