Alaskan Smoked Porter is a one of the very first craft beers I have ever had. I would say it was very advanced for what I was into back then and I really had no idea what I was drinking. I just saw a bottle of it at FredMeyer and decided to pick it up... along with variety packs of everything that the store had... Yes, it was that early in my beer days.
I got this bottle in a trade. I had no idea when I was going to open it up, and after hearing that it ages well for years and years, I figured I might hold onto it for a long time. There have been recent tastings as old as 1993, I want to say. I'd have to find the website or Alaskans official statement on that for a festival not too long ago. But, after hearing that Alaskan Brewing was going to be the Spotlight Interview a few weeks back for Craft Beer Nation, I decided what better time to open it?
To view that Spotlight interview with a few members of Alaskan Brewing, click here.
When U.S. brewers began to experiment with smoked beers in the 1980s, they didn't look to Germany's Rauchbiers for inspiration, but instead to the American past. The most famous reslt is Alaskan Smoke Porter. Brewery founders Geoff and Marcy Larson discovered that Alaskan breweries at the end of the 19th century brewed porter using colored malts that they kilned themselves over wood fires. The wood would surely have been alder, the only true hardwood in southeast Alaska and used for centuries by Native Americans to smoke fish.
I think that last note is very key. I've eaten quite a bit of Smoke Salmon living back in Seattle, so it was a flavor I knew well. And this beer, really had that character. From the nose to the flavor, Smoked Salmon was on my brain. Very heavy on the nose, woody, dry and all of that carried on as well. There was a subtle bitterness, though the overall mouthfeel was smooth and creamy. I kind of thought I was getting a little bit of an oily character, but maybe that was just me thinking about eating the Smoked Salmon... I don't know. For sure a beer to try
905 Bottles Of Beer To Go!