While I feel honor-bound to write about any beers that the brewer or their PR people have sent me, because I should discuss a beer that's still somewhat fresh, and that might be available only for a brief time. And if I truly am enough of an "influencer" that these folks want my attention, it's kind of flattering to me. But a couple of these bottles sometimes find their way into my beer cellar. Maybe they're high-alcohol bombers that seem to invite cellaring. Or it's a beer that I've already had. Okay, so it's finally time to bring one of these up and see how it holds up.
I wrote about some pale ale sent by Bridgeport Brewing a few years ago, for a site called Tidbitts (The idea was to get subscribers to pay as little as 50¢ each to read exclusive content. Nope, didn't work out at all). The last bottle they sent me was their annual offering, "Stumptown Tart." It's a strong beer, usually in a Belgian style, fermented on local fruit. "Stumptown," by the way, was a nickname given to Bridgeport's Portland, Oregon home in the 1840s, when it was growing so fast that road builders cut down trees quickly, but it took much longer to remove the stumps, and residents began whitewashing the stumps so they could be seen.
I received the 2014 edition, made with Oregon cranberries and blueberries. At 7.8% abv, it seemed like a good candidate for my root cellar under the front stoop. Right under the cap there's a nice nose of fruit, maybe a little hard to pick out individual character. Not much malt in the nose, but that's likely after four years.
The pour is a ruddy amber with a bit of haze and floaties. A good fizzy head. As it settles, I can pick up a little Belgian aromatic malt, maybe close to a dubbel in style. It leaves some nice "legs" of foam as I started to drain the glass.
In taste, there is a little bit of alcohol "heat." At the first sip, I definitely picked up cranberries, just not as tart as usual. The overall effect is a nice, mild fruit beverage. The mlt spport turns up once my palate adjusts to it. As usual with a Belgian style beer, there's some yeast settled into the bottom of the bottles tht you'll want to save for the last ounce, to get a different taste experience.
And for the curious, the model on the bottle’s label is Portland resident Bernie Dexter, who is known for posing in the “retro pinup” style, and who sells a line of vintage-styled clothing from her website, including men’s styles modeled by her husband.