Rogue One and the birth of Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin, and The Death Star came to mind when I looked at the ominous bottle sitting on the liquor store shelf. The Driftwood Brewing Black Stone Porter bottle is dark, matte and shiny with a bit of gold, making me think of a flashy Sith Lord, or one with a gold lightsaber. I had the feeling of batten-down-the-hatches, a storm’s a brewing, and Pirates of the Caribbean antics dancing with the Dark Side.
Once poured, it is just as ominous – opaque black with a caramel head. The foam is not as dense or smooth as a Guinness or Kilkenny, but the aroma is delicious. My mouth started to water as I inhaled the dark chocolate and bitter coffee notes. The aromatics of this beer are exactly what I want from a good porter. There are strong overtones of malt to the brew, and to a true hops-disliker, this beer smells of all the things I prefer in a beer – malt, cocoa, and coffee. There is also a powerful undertone of alcohol. It is a strong ale weighing in at 6%, so if you haven’t been drinking a lot lately (maybe took January off as I did last year) sip this one slowly. And I truly recommend it, let this beer get warm, as the flavour really opens up once it comes to room temperature.
Take a sip and you’ll feel like you are battling Darth Maul. The flavour punches you in the chops, and leaves your taste buds screaming for more; your mind is going to tell you to take it slowly, though, as this is a serious beer. If you do not like dark beer, don’t even go here, the taste is like the best dark chocolate bar with little to no sugar added. There is no actual coffee flavour to speak of, but the cocoa that comes out of its caramel, black, and chocolate malts is very powerful. Saying that, it is not a Philips Longboat Double Chocolate Porter, meaning I would not drink this exclusively as a dessert beer. I did have it after my dinner, but not in any attempt to satisfy the craving for sweets that often comes at the end of a good meal.
It truly is a great way to end your evening, especially if you are a Whiskey or Scotch drinker – it has such bold flavour that you are going to be sipping it all night long and will feel full by the end of the bomber. I rank it up there with Brassneck’s Magic Beans and Steamworks’ White Stout. If you haven’t tried either of those and like dark beer, buy a growler or bomber tonight and treat yourself. And while you’re at it, stock up on Driftwood’s Black Stone Porter, and you will be set for the rest of this abnormally cold Vancouver winter.