I love a good beer with a good story behind it. Like this one, Gunpowder Plot Nitro Porter from Black Raven Brewing. Released annually on November 5th, Black Raven’s nitro porter celebrates the thwarting of a plot to muck-up the English government and kill the King. It’s a story that Dr. Dresbeck, who taught my Early Modern European History class in college, talked about as if it were a James Bond movie, bursting with sexy intrigue and surreptitious characters.
It was early in the 1600s in England when Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators hatched a clandestine plot to blow up England’s House of Lords (using gunpowder), assassinate the King, kill the Protestant aristocracy, and replace them all with nice Catholic boys and a puppet monarch of the Catholic persuasion. It was one of those crazy Protestant versus Catholic kerfuffles you heard about in school.
Much to the delight of English Protestants, Fawkes and his troupe of anti-heroes were unsuccessful and the plot was foiled on November 5th 1605. Fawkes himself was found guilty of high treason and sentenced to death: hanged, drawn and quartered.
That is a super-abbreviated version of a very tangled and sinister story. I’d advise Googling it if you have any interest.
Unless you’re an anglophile, the most recognizable thing about Guy Fawkes and this whole story is the creepy mask associated with his name.
To commemorate the “gunpowder plot’s” undoing, 400-plus years later, Black Raven Brewing releases Gunpowder Plot Porter each year on November 5th, a day that many English people refer to as Guy Fawkes Day (aka Guy Fawkes Night or Gunpowder Treason Day), a day to celebrate the King’s escape from assassination, and England’s continued independence from the Catholic Church. Back in the 17th Century, people celebrated Guy Fawkes Day in England with bonfires, fireworks, and other antics, like burning the Pope in effigy. As I understand it, Guy Fawkes Day is still celebrated, but without such religious overtones.
In Redmond, at Black Raven Brewing, it is celebrated with the release of Gunpowder Plot Nitro Porter.
Caveat – Dr. Dresbeck’s class was at 7:30 in the morning during winter quarter of my junior year in college. Forgive me if I’m misrepresenting the true history. I wasn’t a morning person.
About the Beer
“This year we plotted closely with Anchorhead Coffee Roasters, out of Duvall, to create a perfectly roasted coffee exclusively for this beer,” says Beaux Bowman, Black Raven’s owner and brewmaster. “We soaked a portion of those pristine beans in top shelf bourbon, and cellared the whole shebang on criminal amounts of cocoa nibs. In order to unify the flavors and give it that classic British feel we conditioned it on Nitrogen. So quench the conspiracy, light your fires and remember the 5th of November.”
The beer weighs in at 6.9 percent ABV.