The Saga of Black Butte (Porter)

Posted on: June 26th 2016

Since Black Butte Porter was the beer that started it all here at Deschutes Brewery, we asked our Founder, Gary Fish, to talk a little bit about this beer…where it started and where it’s going… wait, did he say, WHISKEY??

“It began 10,000-plus years ago with a small cinder cone that became a substantially larger one. Oops, we’re not talking about the actual Butte (pronounced byoot, not to be confused with beaut, butt, beauty, or a city in SW Montana). Seriously people, learn grammar! But I digress…..

Black Butte Porter is the subject of this missive. If you are reading this, I will make the assumption (I know about assumptions!) that you are aware of Deschutes Brewery’s delicious, ground-breaking, thirst quenching elixir on which a substantial part of our company’s reputation has been formed. You are probably even aware of the annual exploration into what that beautiful, quaffable, can become in the hands of some demented, skilled artisans that is known as the Black Butte Porter Anniversary Series, where we take a stronger version of Black Butte Porter and mix it with god-knows-what, to create a wonderful drinking experience. We have put things like chocolate, coffee, fruit and spices (ok, not all at the same time), then age it in various wine and whiskey barrels before putting it in age-worthy wax dipped bottles for your eccentric pleasures.

You might have heard about another project of ours from our magical Black Butte laboratory, that is Black Butte ᵌ. That’s right, or maybe you didn’t know….. Well, that little gem was taking an imperial (read: double-strength, or Anniversary) version of Black Butte Porter and aging it in Black Butte Porter Whiskey bottles to create a triple-delicious version of our namesake classic. That was also prepared in wax-dipped bottles and sold exclusively in our pubs and tasting room. If you missed it, don’t feel too bad, many did as the supply was precious……WAIT, did I say “Black Butte Porter Whiskey”??!!

Yup, that’s right. We have been involved in a very secret project with our friends at Bendistillery to create the ultimate elixir. Sometimes when you begin a project on a whim with some friends, without any real idea that it could be that good, or commercial, magic happens. And it did.
We took a batch of Anniversary (read: imperial or double) Black Butte, left out the hops, and turned it over to our friends at Bendistillery. Whereupon, they performed real magic with real newt’s tongue and frog’s eyes and stuff…. Ok, that might not be true. But, they did distill it into some freakin’ awesome whiskey that has been aging in fully charred barrels for the past 3 years. And, we are almost ready to let you try some too. If all goes well (with the OLCC), we will have some for sampling at our pubs and tasting room, sometime this summer. We are pretty excited, if you couldn’t tell….The ultimate Black Butte!!

***According to our friends at TTB (Tax and Trade Bureau, or to you moonshiners, revenuers!) we cannot label a whiskey with the name of a beer, so it probably will not be under the name of “Black Butte Porter”. But, we think you can figure that out, even if some of you don’t know the “e” is silent on the end of Butte…..
Cheers to having fun!”

Black Butte XXVIII available beginning June 27th (our Anniversary) at locations that carry our Reserve Series beers. Black Butte Whiskey is limited (small batch) and will only be available at our pubs in Bend and Portland.