Bend-based Deschutes Brewery, one of my personal favorites, is in the midst of celebrating its 20th year of making excellent craft beer and just released a special version on their Black Butte Porter in late June to celebrate.
The Black Butte XX is a major taste explosion — a deeper and darker version of Deschutes’ regular Black Butte Porter, which is already a full flavored treat.
The Black Butte XX is chock full of interesting flavors — like roasted and slightly burnt malt, coffee, chocolate, and spiky bitterness. It’s a monster at 11 percent alcohol by volume (it must be what those XX’s are for). The Black Butte XX is a nice imperial version of a beer many of us associate with quality and a cool way to mark their 20th Birthday.
This is not a quaffer by any means — the Black Butte XX is super strong and has a pleasant but slightly spiky mouthfeel. So don’t be in a hurry. Pour it into a brandy snifter or pint glass and let it warm up first, and drink it over a period of time.
According to the folks at Deschutes “our brewers enhanced this elixir with Theo’s Chocolate cocoa nibs from Seattle, dry-hopped with 100 pounds of Bellatazza’s locally roasted coffee, and then aged a portion of it in Stranahan’s Colorado whiskey barrels.”
The Black Butte XX is kind of pricey — a single 22 ounce bottle cost me $9.53 with tax at the Boise Co-Op — but that cost is pretty typical for an “extreme beer”, especially now with the cost of beer-making ingredients like hops and barley continuing to rise.
One thing I really like about this beer is it makes sense — it is the Black Butte recipe taken to a new level of taste complexity.
Extreme beers can be pretty gimmicky and wildly unbalanced, but I am happy to say the Black Butte XX is the real deal. So it’s a nice way to celebrate 20 years superb of craft brewing over yonder in Bend.
Supplies are very limited — both on tap and in bottles — so if you are interested, snap one up asap.