Benji’s Smoked Imperial Porter from Tyranena Brewing

Benji's Smoked Chipotle Porter at The Mason. Photo by The Conscientious Omnivore (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

At The Mason: Benji’s Smoked Imperial Porter Brewed With Chipotle Pepper from Tyranena on the left, J’s Black IPA from Potosi on the right. Photo by The Conscientious Omnivore (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

I’m not a big chipotle pepper fan, nor am I gaga for most smoky beverages and foods (except for the occasional cheddar). But, Robin Shepard gave high praise to Benji’s Smoked Imperial Porter Brewed with Chipotle Pepper from Tyranena Brewing when he reviewed it recently for Isthmus. He gave it “four bottle-openers” (out of four), saying that

It has a hint of spice and warmth, yet the focus stays on the malt…. It’s not excessively roasted or burnt; rather, that light smokiness from the Weyermann specialty malt blends very well with the touch of the chipotle that only comes out late in the finish. Don’t let the “chipotle” in the name scare you away.

With this in mind, I dove right in when I recently spotted it on the chalkboard menu ($5.50 for a 14-ounce pour) at The Mason Lounge, a marvelous Madison bar on Park Street that has great beer and whisk(e)y offerings, a comfy vibe, and friendly staff. This beer is delicious, just fantastic in my book. As Shepard notes, the smoke and chipotle are subtle and not overpowering; I barely detected heat from the peppers, which was perfectly OK in my book.

I loved this beer so much that I aborted my penny-pinching “I’ll just have one” plan and happily had another at The Mason. I then proceeded to pick up a four-pack at Woodman’s ($8.99) the next day.

I’m so glad that I branched out this winter and started exploring dark beers, and I thank Shepard for his excellent review, which you should check out yourself here.

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