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Big Sky Brews: Pandemic Coffee Porter

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The Pandemic coffee porter is an experiment in the making at Beehive Basin Brewing. This week’s batch uses cold brew from Cold Smoke Coffeehouse in Bozeman. PHOTO BY MIRA BRODY

By Mira Brody EBS ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

After the hottest week of the year so far in Gallatin Valley, there are few things that bring relief from the high afternoon sun on a Friday. One of those, however, is a growler of beer from Beehive Brewing. This one in particular was brimming with their Pandemic coffee porter.

Porters originated in London in the early 18th century. The use of brown malt created a hoppy, dark pour and the name is derived from its popularity amongst street and river porters. If you’re scratching your head at the job title “porter,” you’re not the only one—the term for a group of invaluable working class has remained, but the history of city porters has largely been forgotten. These men were tasked with unloading ship’s cargo and delivering them to shops and because such manual labor required a high caloric intake, pubs became their fueling station between shifts.

Although porters were phased out of the working economy, the beer gained popularly and was the first beer style brewed across the world with major distribution breweries popping up in Ireland, North America, Sweden and Russia by the late 18th century.

Beehive’s porters are notoriously drinkable—never too overwhelming for those who don’t normally have a taste for them. It’s mild, with flavors of nut and chocolate in the forefront, and that satisfying rich coffee taste to carry you to your next sip. The coffee is smooth and in no way acidic, as sometimes coffee porters can be.

Right now, Beehive is experimenting with a few different coffee blends, one keg at a time. The Pandemic is their second version in this experiment and uses a cold brew from Cold Smoke Coffee in Bozeman. Inspired by their coffee porter staple, the 50 Caliber, you can expect the Pandemic to get better throughout the summer.

The remainder of my growler was a big hit at the cookout, so next time you’re entertaining or attending your next potluck and want something with a bit more “wow” than your usual canned six-pack, get a growler filled with the Pandemic coffee porter at Beehive on your way.

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