Who can argue with a viking-themed brewery? Drekker Brewing are a cheeky bunch with a similar home-brew-in-garage-to-not-quite-riches story to so many other other craft breweries of the twenty-first century. They explicitly state that they don’t think their story is interesting and can’t be bothered telling it, which is reasonably refreshing, but also alludes to Grand Scandalous Deeds in their incorporation. They are based in Fargo, North Dakota and have four core staff, one of whom is titled “Chief of Hipster Relations”. Gotta keep them on-side I suppose.
The Pillager Porter is a 5.2% ABV beer aimed at being “approachable and drinkable”, unlike every other beer. I suppose Drekker’s marketing is as humble as their storytelling abilities. Anyway, it pours an oak-oil brown with a balsa cream head and smells of boiled sweets, caramel and fantale-gum, a reference that may not be appreciable for non-Australian readers. It’s something like burnt sugar. There’s no porter-characteristic coffee or chocolate in initial impressions.
After sipping a full, creamy mouthfeel allows clean, light flavours to play their notes. A touch on the bitter side, the beer exhibits a heavy crystal profile with little toasted or burned qualities and only the faintest touch of coffee. Nothing surfaces from the hops and the overwhelmingly flavour is bold, pounding muffin malts, erring on the charred side but not quite getting there.
Very nice; a restrained porter not crippled by its restraint but rather enabled by it, I could have a few of these, especially with something salty.
I bought a pint of this beer at Fargo Billiards & Gastropub, Fargo, North Dakota. It is a huge venue but was quite empty when I was there. One gets the sense it would feel empty even with 200 people inside, so with only 20 or so diners or pool players it seemed really barren. The upside of that is attentive staff who come to your pool table as soon as they see that you’ve finished your beer – I dig that.