photo courtesy: Craig P. Newcomb
The brand I immediately associate with Portland Microbrew is Widmer. It might be because when riding the yellow line up toward North Portland the air is thick with the delicious smell of yeast. It could be because the first time I ran a Portland road race - there were two free cups of Widmer Drifter waiting for me at the brewery finish light. It could be because last year the company offered free cab rides in the Downtown Portland area in their BrrrMobile. Whatever the reason, now that I live up the I5 corridor I get excited anytime I see its label. I actually yelled out loud (some may say it was my trademark ‘yelp of joy”) when I saw Pitch Black on the shelf at my neighborhood Albertsons.
I was surprised with a four pack (that’s how it’s sold) of the series 924 beer at the end of a Widmer event last spring and have been waiting for it to come back ever since. The Widmer website says it’s available January through April but it looks like it’s hitting shelves early. When you pour it into a glass (Kurt and Rob Widmer say you ALWAYS use a glass) it might scare some of you with how dark it looks - but the taste will deceive you. It has the richness of a dark with the complex flavors of an IPA.
The cardboard coozie it’s sold in says this about it:
“Pitch Black takes you to the dark side with our take on Cascadian dark ale. Debittered black malt lends a midnight hue along with a rich, toasty malt flavor. Generous does of alchemy and cascade hops provide a complex herbal aroma and subtle citrus note, balanced perfectly by a smooth Widmer brothers finish.”
I cringed slightly at the price - on sale for $7.99 - until I thought about going out and paying $4+ for a pint of something less tasty. For those four dollars I was able to drink 24 ounces from the comfort of my couch. Each bottle has an Alcohol By Volume of 6.5% and 65 International Bittering Units. IBU’s max out at 100 and the higher the number the more bitter the beer usually is -- but with this beer the malts balance it out and personally I didn’t think it was all that bitter.
So, as the winer weather sets in pick up a 4-pack of Pitch Black IPA and find the light in the often dreary days that happen in the pacific northwest.