Friday, June 19, 2009


CAPTAIN LAWRENCE BREWING from New York are hard-nosed experimenters in the world of beer, and they’re no doubt one of the finest American brewers going. They’ve got this “Smoke From The Oak” series of 22-ounce bottles, where they take their SMOKED PORTER and then age it in a particular barrel: brandy, rum, wine, port – and the one I had, SMOKE FROM THE OAK – BOURBON-BARREL AGED. It’s a pretty lethal combination. I know I say this about a lot of the weirdo beers we try here, but this is “not for the timid”. Mine was labeled “Batch 2”. It’s almost nothing like I expected. A sour licorice beer? Hey, why not? The aging on this one in bourbon barrels has obviously lent it an exceptionally “barnyard” flavor, definitely infected with wild yeasts or made to taste that way. Intense black licorice flavors, and a juicy vanilla & bourbon aftertaste. I took a picture for you as well so you could see its frothy, fresh head. Aren't you glad I did?

This is about as far from “smoked porter” as I could’ve reckoned. Definitely a sour beer, but not a beer that was spoiled in any way. This intense sourness is what they were going for, and to that end, they did all right (and also kept the alcohol at a fairly reasonable 7%). I can’t say I’d leap to try another one of these again anytime soon, but kudos to the Captain for messing with my expectations so thoroughly. 6.5/10.


Aaron said...

Hey, how come I live 20 miles from Captain Lawrence and I can't even kill someone to get a Smoked from the Oak?!

I love their Smoked Porter so will be curious about this one when and if I ever get to try it. I may have to move to California like you to ever get some I guess, huh?

Jay said...

This was received in trade from my pal in Brooklyn, so obviously he figured out a way to track this down in NYC. I'll let you know if he sends me two next time, OK?

Aaron said...

I actually think I have an angle on some of the SFTO Bourbon and maybe even Wine too...which I hear is actually the best of the three.

Aaron said...

And Brooklyn gets better beer than Manhattan. I'm just too damn lazy to travel that "far."