Mac's Blackwatch Cream Porter

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MacTarnahan's Brewing Company used to be called Portland Brewing Company, and that's how I knew them when I was first introduced to their MacTarnahan's Amber Ale over ten years ago.  I suspect that they were renamed because of a branding problem.  Mac's Amber was at the time very popular in Oregon, and it was difficult to tell from the label that other Portland Brewing Co. beers were related to it.  In any case, I have sampled Mac's Blackwatch Cream Porter many times, though it had probably been a good five years since this tasting.  I do believe I've been doing myself a disservice, because this is a pretty tasty porter.

It's a very dark beer with a thick, frothy tan head.  When held up to the light, you can barely see a ruby glow through it.  It smells sweet and sort of toasty, with strong coffee notes that are emphasized when you take that first sip.  It's got a roasted coffee bitterness that coats the palate in a very pleasant way.  There is a sweet, chocolatey malt flavor and a very smooth mouth feel.  However, I'd have to say it didn't feel quite as creamy as I'd expected.  Perhaps I've been spoiled by Boddington's, Old Speckled Hen, and other English cream ales, but I really want a thick, luxurious texture to a cream ale.

The sweetness of Mac's Blackwatch lingers on the palate for a while, and though this beer has a disappointing lack of hop characteristics, it is still a very pleasant, enjoyable porter that I'd recommend for anybody during these chilly Autumn evenings.

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