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Deschutes Black Butte XXIII

Libations / Spokane /

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Speaking of Black Butte XXIII, let's talk about Black Butte XXIII, because why not? It's the beer Rocket doesn't want you to have, yet Bottles does, and it's all very strange, but at least you can easily find bottles now. And it's on tap. Both Flying Goat and Brews on Washington have it; probably other spots do too.

The bottles are obviously meant to be stored, but you owe yourself to try one of them. Then try it on tap. Because you have to compare. Have to!

It pours jet black, like a delicious tar, with a tan finger-and-a-half head. Sniff it, and the bourbon and chocolate notes rise up and gently pull you down, inviting you to taste it.

A quick sip laces the tongue like only a Deschutes Reserve can. Sure, you can taste the 10.8% ABV -- aging will change that if history is anything to go by -- but it's not overly boozy. Instead attention is turned to the sweet vanilla, the delicately bitter coffee, the subtle malts. A slight citric flavor carries through, supporting the quasi-thick mouthfeel.

So, it's hard to say exactly how the XXIII will age, but the initial tastings show something instantly promising. This time around The Abyss is, at least initially, vaguely better, but we'll see how they both stack up after the "Best After" date.

By all means though, stock up on Black Butte XXIII. This is good stuff.