The Emerson’s brewers are here doing their own version of the Barry White joke I made in reference to their Oatmeal Stout. Not that I’m claiming credit, of course. But it’s nice to have a “thinking alike” moment now and then.
Much like the recent Southern Clam Stout, ‘Grace’ does make for another worthy successor to ‘Barry’ — especially given the texture-smoothifying oats they’ve used here (which were obviously also in the Oatmeal Stout, hence the name). They cite the Anchor Porter as an inspiriation, implying higher-than-usual levels of hops which showed up, to me, as a nicely ‘zingy’ edge around all that delicious chocolate flavour.
I do like Emerson’s London Porter a lot, but also wish they’d put something like this into permanent production — it’d be nice to have a bigger, ‘stoutier’ option on the roster, too. Which does of course bring up the question of stout versus porter, since here’s me saying that this is ‘stouty’. I’d just been reading Martyn Cornell’s masterful mythbusting post on the topic, so it was on my mind and lead to an oddly-heated discussion with some of the Beer Nerds. Myself, I’m perfectly happy with the realisation that a lot of what we Nerds have in our heads about the ‘classic styles’ is alarmingly-modern, actually, and pretty much entirely non-historical. That’s not a big deal; the terms are still useful enough — and this happens to our entire language anyway, all the time. I don’t really see why some people get bent out of shape and spend their time so passionately reifying descriptions that were always pretty loose and negotiable.
You can still be grumpy — and believe me, I am — about egregiously silly unilateral attempts to lock up or modify bits of the beer-related lexicon — he says, looking at you, D.B., and your nonsense-faced defence of the ‘Radler’ trademark you know damn well you should never have applied for, nor been granted — without turning into a total anorak who fights for hard-and-fast distinctions where there needn’t be any.
Verbatim: Emerson’s Brewers’ Reserve: Grace Jones 10/11/10 guest @ MH 6% The Beer Club folks had this, and I scandalised them with the thought (from Zythophile) that there just isn’t a principled stout / porter distinction. They got oddly mad + defensive. Anyhow, I’d had this at Nerding one night a few weeks ago; we all liked it then, but I didn’t diarise it. Is lovely. Very dark, with ruby highlights. Apparently inspired by Fullers & Anchor porters. Pretty worthy, really. Massively chocolatey, smooth (oats!), but with a nice zingy edge.