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Thursday, December 19,2013

Farewell, Planet Porter

Boulder Beer kills Planet Porter and Avery releases Mephistopheles

By Josh Gross

This week’s column will say goodbye to BW beer writer Steve Weishampel, who has moved on to Chicago, presumably to take his beer writing career to the next level by joining the SNL Superfans, or if that doesn’t work out, stalking Oprah.

Apparently, Boulder Beer Company was so broken up about Steve moving that they retired a beer in his honor, putting the kibosh on Planet Porter, one of its three original beers, and the first U.S.-brewed porter post-prohibition.

Also, Planet Porter sales had started to fall in recent years as more porters entered the market and brewers started to become more adventurous in their recipes, shifting the nation’s tastes. But mostly it was Steve. Boulder Brewing says it may still make special small batches of Planet Porter, but is largely replacing it in their brand lineup with Shake Chocolate Porter.

Fare thee well, sweet Planet Porter.

But when one brave soldier falls by the wayside, others arise to take its place. Here are some of the most interesting beers being released at local breweries this week or this week adjacent.

MEPHISTOPHELES STOUT The water being transformed into golden ales going down at Avery Brewing was close enough to alchemy that they’ve gone and made it official this month with the annual release of Mephistopheles Stout, a beer as evil as its namesake.

According to BW Editor Joel Dyer, Mephistopheles Stout is the strongest beer ever poured in the Boulder Weekly office. Weighing in at 15.4 percent alcohol, calling it beer is almost being generous, as it’s bumping up against being a “Do Not Pass Go, Go Directly to Jail for a DUI,” Monopoly card.

Brewing disaster aside, it’s really good. Mephistopheles boasts a rich, sweet flavor similar to a barley wine, with notes of espresso and anise that makes for an excellent dessert beer. Being so strong, there is a lingering aftertaste, but if it tastes like that, it can set up shop on my tongue as long as it wants.

But only halfway through my teensy taster glass, I was reminded of a Jon Stewart joke: Absynthe, for when it’s Friday night, and you don’t have anywhere to be until Tuesday afternoon. Clearly, I’m not the only one thinking similarly. The press release that accompanied the beer said it’s for fans of “extreme beers, complexity, and not driving.”

Try some Mephistopheles. Just be sure to plan ahead and take a lot of notes.

BEER OF THE OCCULT Denver’s fairly new TRVE Brewing Company has been appeasing the metal gods by churning out some of the most sinister, unholy beers in Colorado. TRVE’s latest project is a series of four ales brewed in tribute to Absu, an aggressive black metal band from Texas whose lyrics focus on occult mythology.

The third release in the series, ManannŠn, available Dec. 22, is a sour brown ale fermented in Breckenridge whiskey barrels featuring rye in the grain bill. The beer is expected to have an assertive flavor with a malt character and, of course, obscurity from the yeast. The 7.3 percent alcohol by volume ripper’s name comes from an Absu song about the obscure Irish sea deity of the same name. Dude.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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