In 1985 you could buy “growlers” of beer at the Up & Up Tavern in Bellingham for a measly five bucks. It gets better. Actually, they didn’t use the same kind of jugs we’re use these days; they used one-gallon pickle jars. The kind of big glass jars you would see full of pickled eggs in divey taverns, and the Up & Up was certainly one of those.
For five bucks you could get one of them bad boys filled with beer. Basically, that’s two growlers for five bucks. Not just any beer, but Redhook Ale or Blackhook Porter.
As a budding homebrewer and a struggling college student, I thought this was the best thing in the entire world. I was not a fan of the original Redhook (aka Banana Beer) as much as I was the Blackhook Porter. Eight pints of Blackhook for five bucks. I was all about that action.
Here’s a press release about Redhook Brewery reintroducing Blackhook Porter. The story above was pointless nostalgia, but does give this some context.
REDHOOK BREWERY’S ORIGINAL BLACKHOOK PORTER RETURNS WITH A FRESH NEW LOOK
SEATTLE, WASH. – January 19, 2016 – Redhook Brewery announced today that it will release its original Blackhook Porter, the iconic dark beer that helped pave the way for Redhook to become one of America’s first craft breweries more than 30 years ago, as the brewery’s new spring seasonal.
Born at the original Redhook Brewery in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood in 1983, Blackhook Porter has been a favorite of dark beer fans ever since. While Blackhook has been brewed on and off again for more than three decades, this year’s release marks the first time in years that the beer will be available nationally in bottles and on draught.
Blackhook Porter returns with a bold new label inspired by heritage Redhook beers, designed to pay tribute to Redhook’s history and strong Seattle roots. Blackhook is the first release in an updated series of three seasonal beers that Redhook will brew in the coming year, and the first beer in the brewery’s portfolio to feature the revamped heritage labels.
“Blackhook is one of the quintessential Redhook beers that helped change our direction as a craft brewery in Seattle in the early 80s,” said Nick Crandall, lead innovation brewer for Redhook Brewery. “After the original Redhook Ale, which many remember as ‘Banana Beer’ was released, the brewers were asked to create a second, better beer, and Blackhook was the answer.”
With the goal of creating something different for the brewery’s second release in 1983, Redhook’s brewers ditched the banana esters of the Redhook Ale and introduced dark roast malt characters and a cleaner yeast character to create Blackhook. The beer earned a reputation for converting dark beer skeptics into dark beer fans, and its popularity helped pave the way for a variety of other Redhook classics like ESB and Winterhook.
Many local beer lovers have fond memories of Blackhook. Manny Chao, local brewer and co-founder of Seattle’s Georgetown Brewing Company reminisces about his first Blackhook in 1991. “I remember I was a student at UW and Blackhook Porter was the first beer I fell in love with. It changed my life… and my liver,” said Chao.
Blackhook has a rich malty backbone with caramel sweetness that compliments the smooth roasted malt character that creates a well-balanced porter. A revival of the traditional London-style, top-fermented porter, Blackhook’s roasted malts deliver coffee and chocolate characteristics balanced with hoppy bitterness.
“The velvety texture and smooth finish make Blackhook a favorite of dark beer fans,” said Crandall. “It’s also a fantastic beer to pair with dessert. Blackhook porter float, anyone?”
Blackhook hits shelves nationally in 12-ounce bottles this month and will be available in six packs, 12-packs and as part of Redhook’s “Foursome” variety 12 pack. The beer is also available on draught.
Check out the Redhook beer finder to locate some Blackhook near you. 5.2% ABV, 36 IBU. http://www.Redhook.com/find-beer