O’Fallon Brewery - Smoke Porter
- ABV: 6.0%
- Bottle Size: 12-oz
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 24
- Serving Temperature: 50-55º F
- Suggested Glassware: Willi Becher, Tulip, Pint Glass
- Malts: Bamberg Smoked, Pale, Caramel 90, Chocolate, Black, White Wheat
- Hops: Chinook, German Hallertau Mittelfrüh
Another popular year-round offering from O’Fallon is their Smoke Porter, winner of the gold medal for smoked beers at the 2004 and 2020 Great American Beer Festivals. Before kilns became commonly used to dry malt, open flame – traditionally using beechwood in Germany – was the method of choice, and smokiness was a common flavor in traditional beers. The tradition famously lives on to this day in Bamberg, Germany, and smoked porters like O’Fallon’s are sort of like Robust Porter/ Bamberg-style Rauchbier mashups. Expect a super dark brown on the pour, capped with a sizeable head of light brown foam. The smoked malt is apparent immediately in the aroma, while below lurk notes of dark chocolate, scorched caramel, coffee grounds, and a dash of spice with a wisp of pepper. On the palate, those smoky notes are tempered a bit by deep caramelization with a moderate level of residual sweetness, as well as a pleasant chocolate note. There’s a super creamy roundness here, too, softening this porter’s edges and leading to a remarkably easy-drinking and satisfying smoked beer. For pairing options, naturally we’ve got to recommend grilled meats and veggies to complement the smoky notes, but dessert options are another option. Vanilla ice cream with warm dark chocolate sauce sounds great to us, or even, perhaps, a smoked porter float. Cheers!
The story of O’Fallon Brewery began in the late ‘80s when the husband and wife team of Tony and Fran Caradonna saw the microbrewery trend picking up steam on the West and East Coasts and decided to go all-in on bringing the beer renaissance to St. Louis with the founding of one of the region’s first craft beer distributors, Signature Brands. It was a bold move at a place and time dominated by Anheuser-Busch, but they managed to make inroads distributing beers like Schlafly and Pete’s Wicked Ale. Eventually, their dream evolved into making their own beer, and after selling Signature Brands the duo opened O’Fallon Brewery in 2000. For the first two years they did everything themselves: brewing, packaging, marketing, delivering. It paid off and the brewery grew.
Sadly, when the Great Recession hit around 2007-2008, the brewery fell on hard times as growth leveled off. Things picked up a couple years later, but by that time they needed an infusion of cash to stabilize and grow the business. It’s then that Jim Gorczyca, a 20-year veteran of Anheuser-Busch, bought the brewery from the Caradonnas, though they stayed on as employees. In fact, Fran remained all the way until she took a job as CFO at Saint Louis Brewery (Schlafly) in 2019. Jim wanted to strike out on his own in the growing craft beer scene, and under his leadership the brewery flourished. In 2015, they moved from their original location to a new 40,000 sq. ft. brewery about 20 miles closer to St. Louis, in Maryland Heights. Currently the brewery produces about five year-round beers as well as a wide array of rotating seasonals. For more info on the brewery or their on-site O’Bar taphouse restaurant, visit ofallonbrewery.com.
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