Tasting Notes: Steel Bridge Porter, Widmer Brothers

Widmer Brothers Brewing recently announced that Steel Bridge Porter is being added to its year-round lineup in the Pacific Northwest. While it may be new in six-packs, it has a history that spans over 15 years. Steel Bridge Porter was originally conceived in 2000, as part of a collaboration with the Oregon Brew Crew homebrewers club. In 2013, it was released in fairly limited distribution in 22 oz bottles. Now, it's big time...

With the exception of Widmer Hefeweizen, the Widmer Brothers year-round lineup veers heavily to towards the hoppy side of the spectrum. So I'm thrilled to see Widmer add a porter to the mix! While I enjoy IPAs, I'm frankly starting to tire of the seemingly infinite treadmill of IPA iterations that are unleashed upon us. I believe the IPA fad of the moment is Tropical (it was Session). But, I digress...

I found the six-pack pictured below on my doorstep last week. I assume it was from the brewery. Thanks guys!! The bottles had a nice chill, so I wasted no time in cracking one open. Here are my tasting notes:

Near black in color, with a frothy tan head that dissipates very slowly, leaving lots of lacing on the glass. Aroma is full of roasted malt. The taste starts with flavors of slightly smokey and roasted malt. In the middle, coffee, chocolate, and even some piney notes come through.  While the pine might sound strange, it worked for me. Overall hop bitterness is moderate and alcohol isn't noticeable. Steel Bridge Porter is medium bodied, and finishes with smokey malt.  

This is a welcome addition to the Widmer year-round lineup! I even hope it finds its way into the brewery's Brothers' Best Variety 12-pack. For more information about Steel Bridge Porter, check out the news release below. Prost to Porters!

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Winning Oregon Brew Crew Homebrew Recipe Officially Joins Widmer Brothers’ Year-Round Line-Up in the Pacific Northwest

PORTLAND, Ore. – Steel Bridge Porter has a long history in the Widmer Brothers brewhouse, and the dark beer favorite is receiving yet another “promotion” at the brewery. Today, Steel Bridge Porter will be introduced in six packs for the first time to beer drinkers in Oregon and Washington.

Steel Bridge Porter was born out of an Oregon Brew Crew (OBC) annual homebrew competition in 2000, when it was selected as the winner of the Widmer Brothers Collaborator Project; the beer is based on longtime Brew Crew homebrewer Noel Blake’s original recipe.

Since it was selected as a Collaborator beer more than 15 years ago, Widmer Brothers has occasionally brewed small draught-only batches of Steel Bridge Porter, and then expanded the beer’s availability to 22-ounce bottles in 2013. In what was supposed to be a one-time run exclusively for the Portland market, the hoppy, robust porter proved it had staying power and continued to be bottled for the Oregon market for two years. Based on increasing demand, the beer is now part of Widmer Brothers’ year-round, regional lineup in six packs. 

“What I love about Steel Bridge Porter is that, using traditional beer ingredients only, we have been able to create a beverage with all the intensity and palate-involvement of high-gravity, high-hop beers, yet with moderate alcohol and a focus on malt flavors,” said Blake. “I am very appreciative of Widmer Brothers for allowing me to participate in bringing my vision of a robust, full-flavored dark ale to their lineup. Widmer Brothers was very attentive to all the details of this beer, and I believe the resulting beer shows the integrity of this process.”

The Collaborator Project began in 1998 with Kurt and Rob Widmer and fellow Oregon Brew Crew members uniting to hold an annual homebrewing competition where the winning beers would be brewed and served by Widmer Brothers Brewing.

For every barrel of Collaborator beer sold, Widmer Brothers makes a donation to the Bob McCracken Scholarship Fund, which supports aspiring brewers in Oregon State University’s Fermentation Science program.

“The Collaborator Project and the Oregon Brew Crew are very special to us at Widmer Brothers,” said Rob Widmer, co-founder of Widmer Brothers Brewing. “My brother, Kurt, and I started as homebrewers, and joined the OBC in the early 80s. The Collaborator Project is our way to continue supporting the great local homebrewing community. We are very proud of Steel Bridge Porter’s evolution from the Collaborator Project, to 22s in our lineup, to now being a year-round release in six-packs. It speaks to the quality of Noel Blake’s original homebrew recipe, and the strength of the Collaborator Project and the entire Oregon Brew Crew.”

Steel Bridge Porter is available now in six-packs and on draught year round across Oregon and Washington. For more information on Widmer Brothers Brewing, visit widmerbrothers.com or see what the brewery is up to on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Steel Bridge Porter
Steel Bridge Porter, like the Steel Bridge itself, is a Portland original and carries more than its share of weight. A robust dark ale, rich flavors of mocha, chocolate and toffee are well balanced and complemented by a refreshing body, a hint of citrus and a dry finish.

Flavor Points: Mocha, chocolate, and toffee flavors. Rich mouthfeel with a dry finish

Malts:  Pale, Caramel, Chocolate, and coffee malt

Hops: Alchemy and Amarillo

OG:                 15 °P
AE:                  4.4 °P
Alc. by Vol.:   5.6%
IBU:                48
Color:              60 SRM

About Widmer Brothers Brewing
Widmer Brothers Brewing helped create the Pacific Northwest craft beer movement in 1984 when founders Kurt and Rob Widmer, then in their 20s, began brewing unique interpretations of traditional German beer styles. In 1986, Widmer Brothers Brewing introduced the original American-style Hefeweizen, which elevated the brewery to national acclaim. Since then, the brewery’s iconic Hefe, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2016, has grown to become Oregon’s favorite craft beer. For more than three decades, Widmer Brothers has continued to push the boundaries of craft beer, developing a variety of beers with an unapologetic, uncompromised commitment to innovation. Based in Portland, Oregon, the brewery currently brews a variety of beers including Hefeweizen, Upheaval IPA, Steel Bridge Porter, Drop Top Amber Ale, and a full seasonal lineup. Additionally, the brewery continues to make a series of limited edition, small-batch beers available in Oregon and at the Widmer Brothers pub in North Portland.

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