Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Narragansett Brewing Company - Narragansett Porter

HI - Neighbor! Well, not really, but for those who are checking out the blog, thanks. Hi-Neighbor is the famous slogan of The Narragansett Brewing Company originally founded in 1888 with their first beer being produced in 1890. The brewery stayed in business until 1981, when upgrades to the aging structure fell through. Luckily, Mark Hellendrung's nostalgic empathy for the beer that symbolized Rhode Island for almost a century, created a movement to bring back their classic portfolio. In 2005, Mr. Hellendrung was successful and brewing begin anew with former brewmaster Bill Anderson at the helm.
Brewmaster Anderson has re-created four seasonal products, FestBockSummer Ale and today's beer, Porter. This offering pours very dark brown allowing very little light to penetrate through its body. The head of this beer is very, very light by composed of extra-large bubbles and reaches three-fingers in height. There was very little head retention, however, as I consumed this beer, nice lacing stuck to the sides of the glass.
The smell of this beer contained three aromatics. Ganasett Porter had a slightly roasted aroma provided by the dark malt. To compliment this roast character, light coffee notes and hints of dark chocolate waft from the glass. The website has the IBU's listed at 28 but I didn't detect any hint of bitterness through the aroma.
The taste had a distinct minerality reminiscent of a brown porter from England. It's possible that Brewmaster Anderson altered the water chemistry of Rhode Island water to mimic the "hard" water of England, but most likely this flavor component is the combination of in-state water and the selected grains for the grain bill. The taste lacked the coffee notes and roast that were present in the aroma, but the dark chocolate character found in the aroma carried over slightly into the flavor. Drinkable yes, flavorful, not so much.
The mouthfeel of this porter was very light, bordering on watery. The carbonation level of this porter was elevated for the style, but after warming, large bubbles receded into much smaller bubbles adding a touch of silkiness. At 7%ABV, this porter, with its light body is quite drinkable. This drinkability is raised with its 1.50$ price tag and the fact that it is canned.

Congratulations to Mr. Hellendrung to resurrecting a classic New England brewery. Good luck to him and his team for whatever the future may hold,


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