2010 Portsmouth Kate the Great, Katherine Sure Was Great, Until She Went All Small On Us.

Ah the venerable Katherine the Great, I know her intimately as Kate, but the rest of you who don’t know her closely likely press your face up against the ebay glass and hold the silken glove of oppressive royalty in reverence. I can open this review with a quote from economist/philosopher, Dan Olson, “That shit didn’t even go into a barrel” is the purest sentiment that is usually cast upon this decadent gem. However, before we depose this matriarch, let’s see if she can swim with the big baltic whales in today’s review.

You may notice that this bottle is twice the size of the bottles that you are accustomed to. It also may come to your attention that the label doesn’t look like a Thomas Nast outtake. That’s fine, stay with me and go Google Thomas Nast like you were about to.

Portsmouth Brewery
New Hampshire, United States
Russian Imperial Stout | 12.00% ABV

Today we class it up with a representative allegory, oh shit, street knowledge takes a back seat ONE MO GIN’

A: This stately old woman is a firecracker but maintains her slim figure and delicately splashes into the glass like a size 4 woman into a wading pool. There’s a gentle mocha whip to the poise and sticky lacing that clings to the glass like those texts you wish you could avoid from Jdate. The color is light cola at the edges and lets you know that this playful minx isn’t here to ruin your night, but to get it started. You are expecting more of a boisterous presentation, but the subtle glove of a caring Katherine is only one of her nuanced gentle charms.

Kate’s court was severe but loving at the same time, and you are edified as a result.

S: There is a sweetness that rivals bayou Sundays after church. Mammy brought home some milk chocolate and bottles of Portugese wine. Those porties are famous for their wines and Russians sure know how to cultivate cacao in their icy hateful tundra. The court begins a delightful scherzo and lovely Kate guides you amiably and you can feel the coffee mantua bounce with surprising acidity as you look across the deep plum overtones from the walls ordained with imported Rococo crown molding that buttressed the vaulted deep fruit ceiling with ornate care.

T: The dance picks up with a chocolate Bourrée or wait, is that a port wine gavotte? The steps are so thin and quick that it is difficult to discern where Katherine is leading you. Countess and courtesan has fallen beneath her tender anise toe steps but she will pick you up, despite the power in her 12% offset steps. A mahogany deep fruit rag wipes the drops of sweat from your ascot and the Court looks on lovingly as Kate performs her signature molasses menuet that exercises grace and poise, the likes of which make the boorish Count Van De Stone IRS look clumsy by contrast. It was a once in a lifetime tryst that lasted scarcely the frame of a Handel opera.

The short stays that are endured with Kate are enjoyable and opulent in the fashion of the finest repose.

M: Katherine leads you deftly out to the outside terrace and the grace of her chiffon mahogany dress peels lightly from your lips and, despite your unworthiness, you retract knowing another touch of pinot grigio and chocolate vapors will come shortly. She is a cruel mistress of terse demeanor, but you can only seem an aggressive Ivan, terrible by juxtaposition in light of her diaphanous dress and light airy nature. It takes little equipage to prepare such a rare specimen of beauty, the dressing would only weigh down such a figure of balance, coffee and port, chocolate and roast, the newly discovered Americas coupled with a deep baltic tradition. In a strange manner, she reminds you of a strong female porter you met on a Scandinavian whale hunting journey in how capriciously she could handle both the blade and warming blanket in a loving fashion.

D: The night had passed in a way beyond comprehension and you found yourself wishing for just a single measure of additional contact. Alas, the 22 beats are gone, the band has retired to a gentle repose on the balustrade and you have returned to a lowly barrister class. You seek another court, another tryst, but to your chagrin the sweet succor of this caliber should only be enjoyed in short bursts. Little would you know that a smattering of inferior short dances would follow this, with a series of imposters all claiming the be Kate’s equal. Nothing will rival that coffee and port soaked evening in the greenery.

Despite the gentle scherzo, the 3/4 step was completed all too soon.

Narrative: If you seriously expect me to write a narrative after all that, you are an asshole.


Portsmouth Brewing Wheat Wine, When You Can Make Wine This Good With Wheat, I Ain’t Even Trifling With Grapes

I wish I had a crazy anecdote to tell you about this one but, it was a sheer stroke of luck that this was sent to me. Mad props to Ryan S. for pulling this elusive beast into my cellar not unlike so many neighborhood children before it- I digress. So this is the famed Portsmouth brewery that rolls out the Greatest Kate that I am aware of (Mary-Kates dont count) and this is their beastly Wheat Wine. Let’s get it.

If all those mid-30s divorcees would drink wheat wines, maybe we would have something to discuss beyond Lane Bryant and Better than Ezra albums.

Portsmouth Wheat Wine, 11% abv

A: The appearance looks like a rubierer barleywhine with an almost deep orange at the edges. The carbonation was light and wispy with no lacing to speak of. The sheeting on the glass leaves this nice pallor of clear armor that you know protects the rageful abv deep inside. The microbubbles look inviting and you just want to split splash around in that co-ed foaminess. Braces kisses for all.

This beer was mesmerizing and complex.

S: I get a huge initial sweetness that reminds me of a candy coated date or a sticky caramel plum. The wheat is subdued and you could trick the shit out of someone and just tell them that it’s a barleywine with a ton of Maris Otter malts and THAT ASSHOLE WOULD PROBABLY BELIEVE YOU.

T: The taste has no wheat aspect to speak of and pulls the mask off and the big real is the barleywine sweetness and brandy character. The sweetness goes to work on your palate’s gentials while the sticky malt base restrains the ball gag. Secretly, you enjoy the abuse, but your palate has too much dignity to admit it. There’s some incredible sour notes in the middle that reminds me a bit of apricot and again, honeycomb, it finally finishes with a juicy clementine juiciness and the assault is over.

Once I found out that this was a barleywine in disguise, I was like-

M: The outside is candy but it aint sweet, the AR-15 is on the passenger seat. The coating isn’t intense and really the hops are the only notes who overstay their welcome when the party is clearly over. The lingering citrus notes almost make you forget the panoply of tastes you just took head on. Godspeed you Black Palate.

D: This is sticky, abusive, hoppy, and then gone. It is a bit too cacophonous to be a long term girlfriend as the fights just become too frequent and the periods of rest are just interludes wherein this beer will ask you what you REALLY meant concerning previous statements. As it warms, the beer gets more and more abrasive and complex, like each head of a hydra awakening, you, let’s just say your tongue is gonna need some fucking argonauts because this beer is not for the weak willed. Me and this beer are homies, but I def. put it on limited profile on Facebook.

They gave me a wheatwine, I TOOK THEIR FUCKING MINTS.

Narrative: “Hey, it’s me Devin, thought I felt a vibrate and, no? Ok, Metro PCS is weird, just call me back, it’s like a…15 to ZERO ratio haha so YOU’RE IT! BEEEEEP” God, just his voice harrows the core of your soul. Ever since you met Devin, he wouldn’t leave you alone. You were dropping your cousin off at a children’s martial arts tournament and of course, Devin approached you and wanted to show you the appropriate defense from someone with a scimitar. In between your bout, he stumbled into traffic and you saved his awkward gangly frame from being crushed by a street sweeper. Now this persistent asshole thinks you guys are best chums. But hell, he’s an eclectic guy, purple belts in several disciplines, extensive geode collection, a competent fencer, and lauded tobacconist. Sure he has told you all about himself but, you can’t shake that feeling that you secretly wish Devin would get run over by a Fiat, or drown in a swarm of beers. Something hilarious that would bookend his existence, but not make you too sad. You start to feel bad because really deep down he’s a-“HEY! It’s Devin again, YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT THIS LOSER ON CRUTCHES AT THE ICE RINK HE THI-” No. You’ve had enough of Devin.