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The Beer Circle » Breweries, Four Peaks Brewing Co., Four Roses, Robust Porter, Russian Imperial Stout » Four Peaks Brewing Company: Food, Flights, and Beer Named After a Harry Potter Character

Four Peaks Brewing Company: Food, Flights, and Beer Named After a Harry Potter Character

As I noted earlier in the week, I was in Arizona for a friends wedding. This was a nice break from Pennsylvania, though surprisingly it was actually colder and rainier in Tucson and Phoenix than State College. It also rained the last time I was in Phoenix, so I’m starting to sense a theme.

I had a red-eye flight leaving on Tuesday night, so that day I met up with @Lucklys at Four Peaks Brewing. Alyssa works at Four Peaks, and sat down with me through lunch and a sampler before she had to head out for her brewery errands of the day. Four Peaks has a few locations, but the main one (including the actual brewery) is in Tempe, the home of Arizona State University, where my brother is a student. I took the light rail there rather than driving and it’s a good thing, as the beer was delicious and plentiful. It was also only about a 10 minute walk from the light rail stop, making it very conveniently located. They have a beautiful outdoor area and indoors is very spacious will tall ceilings- it felt very open.

The first thing I did was order a sampler: it contained 8 full 4oz samples of all of Four Peak’s year round offerings: Sunbru, a Kolsch, 8th Street Pale Ale, a Hefewizen, Kilt Lifter Scottish Ale, Raj IPA, Hop Knot IPA, an Oatmeal Stout, and Peach, a sweeter fruit beer. Four Peaks is pretty unique, as Alyssa explained, in that they have their Oatmeal Stout, plus the two seasonals that were on: the D-Dub porter and the Bourbon Barrel Aged Sirius Black, a Russian Imperial Stout. I really liked how much variety there is in their year round offerings, in that there’s something for everyone. The Sunbru and 8th Street were my favorite from this group, though I think I accidentally sabotaged myself with the oatmeal stout because it is on nitro; I drank it last, and it tasted flat by then. The sampler was $10, which I thought was really reasonable for the amount and quality of beer received.

Four Peaks Beer Flight

In terms of the food, the menu looked awesome. Alyssa said that they have the best French Dip she’s had in Phoenix, and that people typically rave about the beer bread. I went for the Salmon BLT, and it was amazing– like one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. I also liked that the $11 price tag included french fries, rather that including chips and having to upgrade to french fries. I hadn’t eaten breakfast so I gobbled anything down.

I stayed to try the two seasonsal offerings.  First up was the Bourbon Barrel Aged Sirius Black, a Russian Imperial Stout, the last keg that Four Peaks had. It is described as…

A stronger, bolder stout originally brewed for the Czar, Peter the Great. It was brewed strong to last the sea and overland travel to St. Petersburg and also aged like a wine. Our version deviates from the traditional recipe by adding licorice root as well as Indian Monsooned Malabar coffee. Out intention was to add even more complexity to an already complex beer. Sirius Black has an intense roasted malt/coffee aroma with flavors of burnt toffee and caramel as well as a slight alcoholic “heat” (9.5% alcohol). We have also aged our RIS for several months in oak barrels that previously held Four Roses Bourbon for an added “whiskey-wood” flavor and texture.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Sirius Black
The Sirius Black was poured into a 10oz serving glass; very dark, with about an inch of a beautiful caramel colored head. There was a fair amount of lacing around the glass as I progressed through it.
The first thing that I got in the aroma was coffee; I wanted to let it warm up a bit before I drank it, and as that happened the aromas of bourbon and chocolate became more pronounced. There was nice balance in the aroma, but it would have been nice it it were a little bit stronger.
There were strong flavors of chocolate and coffee in the forefront, almost like a mocha. The back end, however, is really where the bourbon shone through. I could see how that could be interpreted by some as an alcoholic heat, but it didn't come off that way to me. I also didn't get the licorice, which for me is enjoyable. This is the second beer I've had aged in Four Roses, and the Sirius Black was complimented and enhanced by it, as opposed to the other beer where I felt like I was just drinking a glass of bourbon.
This beer felt really rich and luxurious on the palate. It had a low viscosity, especially for a BA RIS. It seems like maybe the mouthfeel of the beer is what PHX brewers should be worrying about, as opposed to how dark they were. It was hot out, but this still felt refreshing because it wasn't heavy.
This was $6, which I am A-ok with paying for a beer of this size and quality.
I enjoyed many aspects of this beer: the whimsy of being named after a Harry Potter character, how it was refreshing on a hot day, and how the bourbon served as an apparent compliment to the original brew, rather than being overpowering. I would definitely drink this again.

Beer Stats
Style: Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout
Serving: Draft
Size: 10oz
ABV: 9.50%
BA Score: N/A (One Review)
RB Score: N/A (Doesn’t even have a page)

Next up in terms of seasonals was the D-Dub Porter. Described as:

A robust porter which comes in at 6.2% alcohol. We decided to add some non-traditional ingredients in this one along with our malted barley base including chocolate rye for color and a spicy flavor, flaked oats for body and midnight wheat for depth. Named for the late GABF and WBC Competition Beer Organizer, Danny Wiliams.

D-Dub Porter
The D-Dub Robust Porter came out the color of dark roast coffee, with about an inch of taupe colored head. This dissipated fairly quickly, but there was some lacing left on the glass.
The nose on this was pretty well balanced; there was some roasty goodness, but not overly bitter or sweet smelling. I thought the aroma on the Sirius Black lacked a little strength, and the D-Dub suffered this to an even greater degree.
The taste was also nicely balanced- there were notes of chocolate coming through, but they were balanced to not be overwhelmingly sweet. I would have liked to get more of the rye, but overall it was pretty tasty.
Like the Sirius Black, the D-Dub also was surprisingly light in body; it had moderately high carbonation, and was very drinkable.
I don't actually know how much this one cost, but given that everything else at Four Peaks was very reasonably priced, I'm going to go ahead and give it a 4.
Overall this was a nice robust porter- I think that my ratings are probably a bit depressed because I was drinking it after such a fantastic beer in the Sirius Black. I recommend that any beer or food lover visiting Phoenix make the trip to Tempe to check out Four Peaks!

Beer Stats
Style: Robust Porter
Serving: Draft
Size: 16oz
ABV: 6.20%
BA Score: N/A (Two Review)
RB Score: N/A (Four Reviews)


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Written by Paige Deckert

Paige is a fifth year graduate student at Penn State; she received her craft beer education while bartending during undergrad at the University of Illinois. Over several months, Rogue’s Dead Guy served as her gateway beer, because it was $2/pint on Thursdays, and thus offered the highest ABV/$. This eventually turned into enjoyment, and everything is history from there. Her first legal beer was Robert the Bruce on cask at the Blind Pig in Champaign, followed by the Duchess de Bourgogne. Paige has visited over 15 breweries, including Great Divide, Bells, Jolly Pumpkin, Three Floyds and Dogfish Head, with plans to add more in 2012 via trips to San Diego, Phoenix, and Austin. Paige became friends with Russ (and subsequently Garrett) when they became friends on untappd. She clearly remembers seeing a check-in of his and thinking, “Who is this clown checking into Miller Light at the Shandygaff?” Soon thereafter he introduced himself at a Zeno’s beerfest, and they bonded over their beer geekery (sans adjuct lagers). Find Paige Deckert on Google Plus

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