Beer Review: McMenamins Black Widow Porter

by Karen Locke on Oct 19, 2013 in Beer
Beer Review: McMenamins Black Widow Porter

McMenamins Black Widow Porter isn’t exactly a newcomer to the Oregon-made autumn seasonal list, but it’s one that exists quietly. In fact, Black Widow was one of the first on the scene back in 1991 when it was brewed at the Thompson Brewery.

How does a porter exist quietly for 22 years? Being made by the notorious McMenamins helps, but it’s the porter’s intentionally short availability (October 15–31) and compelling malt combinations that make it still relevant these multiple decades later.

Immediately upon pour, the head releases an aroma of malt. The list of the malts used is extensive, but delightfully complex: Bairds Pale Malt, Great Western Wheat, Great Western Munich, Flaked Barley, Bairds 135/165, Bairds Black and Bairds Roast.

Black Widow is chocalately with hints of licorice flavor that is detectable but not overwhelming. The overall mouthfeel created by fine carbonation is creamy, but the fleeting aftertaste makes it more drinkable than other stouts in its class.

Drinkable any season, this is a porter is one we wish we could get our hands on for more than a few weeks out of the year. But we also know unlimited availability would take away from the allure of this mysterious fall porter made by one of the most well-known purveyors in town.

Black Widow Porter (7.35% ABV) is available at all McMenamins locations. 

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