One of my favorite ways to spend an hour after work is wandering the aisles of my local bottle shop and picking out a few treasures. I tend to fall into the common trap of always grabbing whatever hot new beer is on the shelf and forgoing the beers I see on the shelf every trip. More times than not those beers that end up in my cart have the words: imperial, barrel-aged, wild, or a non-stop list of adjuncts on the label.  Coming home with a low ABV stout or porter is not something that ends up happening as much as it should. Every time I do buck the trend and skip the latest haze cans or vanilla bean stout I usually end up with a beer in my cart that I rarely regret.  Something simple that reminds me of why I started drinking good beer in the first place.

I had a similar experience when I opened my latest beer shipment. A bunch of vanilla, chocolate, coffee stouts, some barrel-aged 12 percent beers and one lone can of a 7 percent porter. It never spent any time in a barrel and it wasn’t aged on nuts, coffee or fruit. It is a plain and simple porter with malt, water, yeast and hops.   

Braxton Brewing Co.’s Blown Gasket is a robust porter that clocks in at 7.5 percent ABV. The beer pours a very dark brown that appears black at first glance with a frothy light khaki colored head that sticks around for a few minutes. Braxton’s website lists the beer as 25 SRM but it appears darker than that. The bouquet brings sweet malts, toasted bread, light coffee along with notes of anise, earthy hops and a hint of a nutty character. The aroma doesn’t jump out of the glass and while the beer smells pleasant it is not one that I find myself burying my nose in over and over.      

My first sip of the beer brings a ton of flavor. Roasted malts, coffee, chocolate and toffee are all present and all quite enjoyable. Along with the big flavor, the roasted malts also bring a very astringent dryness that starts to dominate the beer the more I drink. The finish brings more of the same with the wonderful coffee and bakers chocolate notes, but the roasty dryness continues to overpower the flavors in the beer. 

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Braxton Blown Gasket
BREWERY: Braxton Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Covington, Ky.
STYLE: Robust Porter
ABV: 7.55 percent
IBU: 20
PRICE: n/a
RELEASE DATE: 2015
AVAILABLE IN: 12-ounce Cans
BEERS POURED: One
Overall, this is so close to being really good but the tannic dryness proves to be too much for the rest of the flavors to withstand. If there was just a touch more of the sweeter malts and a bit less of the roasted character this could be a fantastic beer but as is I would not want a second can once I finished the first. The positive characteristics of this beer encourage me to seek out additional offerings from Braxton but the next time I have a hankering for a traditional porter I will reach for something other than Blown Gasket.    
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