Strong beer, grumpy Andrea

Oh Red Truck, you are not quite the start to 2015 I was hoping for.

Oh Red Truck, you are not quite the start to 2015 I was hoping for.

The Specs: Red Truck Beer Co. (Vancouver, B.C.) ’46 Porter
6.6 per cent ABV 650mL, limited release


Hey Bad Riders, let’s start the year with a controversial question:

Is anyone else starting to feel like they’re over strong beer?

This may be the winter doldrums talking, or the result of having too much Steamworks Blitzen (a 9 per cent tripel that wishes it had Red Collar’s cleanness of flavour) in my fridge that I don’t want to drink — but it’s also in part because I can’t figure out why the porter I’m drinking right now needed to be 6.6 per cent.

I like porters a lot. Over the course of the fall, they’ve become a go-to beer style for me. From what I’ve seen of the B.C. beer landscape, porters will get you a degree of experimentation I don’t see from other dark styles like stouts, and there’s generally no risk of ending up with a glass of something grassy, soapy and over-hopped, as has happened to me more than once with IPAs and ales.

With that fondness in mind, I was expecting good things from Red Truck’s limited edition ’46 Porter, with its silver medal from the Canadian Brewing Awards and its very charming bottle label (exhibit no. 150 in the ‘Andrea is a shallow drinker’ case).

But, instead, here I sit wondering only this: what the point of making this a strong beer?

In the right circumstances, a little booziness is fine and dandy in a beer. The little edge of Goose Island’s Sofie is one of the reason it became my favourite American beer of 2014.

Here, however, I don’t know what the extra alcohol is supposed to be adding to the mix.

Where this porter smells like it should have a round, dark coffee taste in line with a good after-dinner espresso, and the malt mix would have me expecting some caramel or vanilla tones, the actual flavour here is… a little brittle. Coffee, but more like the store brand stuff I’ve been brewing because I’m too lazy, post-new year, to grind beans.

Oh, and booziness. We’ve got that.

Compared to other porters I’ve tossed back, it doesn’t feel as interesting, as dynamic. But it’ll get me cut slightly faster if I want, so I suppose there’s that.

You’ll have to decide for yourself if that’s worth the sacrifice.