Backslope Brewing, Columbia Falls
Story & photography by Lido Vizzutti
Craft beer drinkers can be guilty of repeatedly hunting down extremes. And why not? It’s an experience to have lips ripped by a super-hopped IPA, blow the taste buds with a sour, or soak in the boozy aroma of an oak barrel-aged imperial, double or tripel.
Let’s not overlook, however, that an approachable, well-balanced, nuanced and drinkable brew – something accessible for any level of beer explorer – can be as satisfying.
This is where Dr. Randolph’s All-Day Porter lives: all-day drinkability in the tasty autumn space between the heat of summer and winter’s chill, where the light-bodied porter is as drinkable on the river as it is on the slopes.
“It’s definitely on the lighter side of a porter,” said Darin Fisher, head brewer and co-owner with his wife, Carla Fisher, of Backslope Brewing, the Flathead’s newest brewery in Columbia Falls. “When it’s cold it feels thirst quenching. As it warms up a couple degrees, all those darker flavors come out a little better and it sits on your tongue really nicely as it warms.”
The name is homage to Dr. Scott Randolph, an associate professor at University of Redlands and a longtime friend of Darin and Carla.
“Dr. Randolph was one of my original brewing buddies when I used to be a home brewer back in Indiana,” Darin said. “I’m trying to match his philosophy of beer.”
Dr. Randolph would say, “Porter is what a beer is supposed to be,” according to Darin.
“It’s the balance. The balance is what he’s looking for. It has enough malt flavor, just a hint of hops, very drinkable while still having some character to it.”
It’s difficult to pinpoint, through all the mythology, the porter’s exact history. The repeated story of a “three-threads” mixture – a blend of beers of various strengths and maturity – has been questioned and countered as false.
However, the theory that the name derives from London’s working-class porters who consumed the greatest quantity of this kind of amped-up amber seems to be historically supported.
“We’re trying to make this beer one step beyond an amber,” Darin said. “We’re looking for a very drinkable beer with a hint of chocolate, very smooth, still smooth and easy drinking.”
“It’s nice in the fall or the winter, but even in the summer it’s a nice, easy drinking beer that satiates you.”
And as the name implies, Darin said, “You can drink this all day.”
Style Brown Porter
Malts Two Row, Chocolate, Crystal, Munich, Hint of Wheat
Hops European Blend
Yeast American Ale
Appearance Opaque, chocolate black with dark amber hues
Description Light in body and smooth in mouth feel with a trace of chocolate; a hint of hops balances the subtle rich malts
Where to get it Dr. Randolph’s All-Day Porter is currently only available on tap at Backslope Brewing, 1107 9th St. West, Columbia Falls, MT 59912. For more information, visit www.backslopebrewing.com or call (406) 897-2850.