Beer of the Week: Elysian Raconteur

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitle3dThe beauty of Elysian’s beers is that they not only have some grate creativity, but they do produce a good number of tribute beers – beers that are clones of very well known, but not necessarily great beers.  One they did recently was a clone of Yuengling Porter as a tribute to one of their employees. In case you are not aware, Yuengling from Pottsville, PA, is the oldest continuously operating brewery in the United States, brewing beer back to 1829, and their porter holds a soft spot in my heart as one of the first dark beers that I truly loved 20+ years ago (although calling the beer a porter is a bit of a misnomer, it is actually a black lager and not a true porter).  The beer was only available on tap and clocked in at just 25 IBU and 4% ABV.

Raconteur looks very much like Yuengling in the glass – a slightly opaque black, not the deep black that you might expect from a porter. Chocolate malt with hints of grain dominate the nose, with much a more pronounced aroma than the original. There is lots of grain up front on the initial sip with notes of chocolate and caramel interspersed – much bolder than the original, with a long and slightly hoppy finish. You get a great deal of the lager character on this beer, same as the original, but the malt, roasted flavors and hops are amped up making the copy a bolder and better beer than the original while still retaining much of the original character of the recipe. Raconteur takes a stab at an American classic and delivers a fine tribute while taking the flavors from a mass consumption beer to a fine specialty beer.

Raconteur brings me back to my college days and delivers a solid 3 TEP’s out of 5.

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