Tamarack Brewing: Pour Man’s Porter

Work took me up to Kalispell this week which always gets me thinking about finding some new beer to try.  Kalispell isn’t what I’d call a beer town, but there’s a few spots here and there that occassionally have something interesting on tap. That didn’t pan out this time, but there’s a better reason for going up to Kalispell from Missoula. Whether you take the route east of Flathead Lake or west of the Lake, you’re forced to drive by a brewery (though Flathead Brewing hasn’t quite reopened yet).  Darn.

The west side takes you right by Tamarack Brewing Co. in Lakeside. Tamarack always has a couple of small batch brews on tap in addition to their regular lineup. This trip, they had brewed up a porter, a vanilla cream stout and one other I wasn’t able to try.  I chose a full pint of the Pour Man’s Porter to go with Tamarack Grill’s excellent fish tacos.

Pour Man’s Porter is very dark brown with some red highlights. It is full bodied and might be considered an imperial porter given the 8% abv.  I couldn’t detect any aroma thanks to the great food smells filling the very busy place. The porter has fairly high carbonation, 35 ibus, a thin white head and is slightly sweet.  I get some pretty strong dark chocolate flavors, especially in the after taste. I rather liked it.

I also sampled the Vanilla Cream Stout.  Sampling is always a difficult way to get a good feel for the beer, but I wasn’t in a position to have more than one. It usually takes me a full pint to adjust to whatever I’m tasting and also gives me a chance to taste it through some temperature variations (I tend to like beers in the upper range of serving temperature recommendations, if not a little warmer.)  Tamarack’s vanilla cream stout has a pronounced vanilla flavor and, not surprisingly, a creamy mouth feel. The stout base is rather understated, showing only hints of roasted malts.  It has 7% abv and 30 ibus. I detected a slightly bitter or roasted malty aftertaste which nicely complimented the vanilla.  I’m now wishing I’d had a chance to have a full pint.