Brewview#35: Asylum Porter by 42 North Brewing Company

Wow, it has been quite some time since I’ve been able to write a Brewview and it feels great to be back at it. I hope everyone had some fun over the holidays and enjoyed some delicious beers. I know I had quite a few in the midst of family and good friends.

So today’s choice comes from 42 North, their Asylum Porter. Even before drinking this beer I’m already liking it. Similar to other delicious Buffalo brewed beers its name, Asylum Porter, is linked to Buffalo history. The Richardson Complex, also known as the Buffalo State Asylum is well known to Buffalonians. Construction of this amazing building began in 1872 and was opened in 1880 as a state-of-the-art asylum for the insane. In the 1970’s patient were moved and no longer resided within the complex, which led the eventual neglect and deterioration of the grounds. Though recently it has been restored and transformed into Hotel Henry. I think it would have been cool to clean it up to code and have it be open for tours year round. But who am I? A local craft beer blogger. Either way it’s an amazing building with some amazing history and I’m sure the Asylum Porter will hold true to its name.

What does 42 North have to offer? Coming straight from their website:

‘Our Asylum features big malt flavors and aroma. Coffee, bitter dark chocolate, hints of dark fruits (plum, dried cherry) and a touch of smoke.’

Very enticing!

What are we waiting for?

The Beer: Asylum Porter by 42 North Brewing Company

ABV: 6.8% IBU: 45

Hops: Northern Brewers

Malts: Marris Otter




First Impression

Wow! The Asylum Porter packs a strong punch when it comes to the aromas. Just cracking the can open and even stronger when I poured it into my glass. Sitting a foot away from my glass I am still able to smell the delicious aromas the Asylum hides within its walls. The best part about these aromas, besides their strength, is their clarity. It’s incredibly easy to pick up on each aspect and therefore enjoy the aromas to their fullest extent. I’m not terribly surprised that the strongest aroma is chocolate, given that Chocolate malts were used. Beyond that is a mouth watering coffee aroma. And then as a nice accent in the background is a burnt, smokey, earthy aroma, which I am attributing to the Norther Brewers hops. This hop is so distinct and delicious I find it easy to pick up on if it’s in the beer I am currently drinking.

Besides aromas, first impressions are also based on appearances as well. Though the head was very minimal the color is very dark, much like some of the history held within the old insane asylum. Besides at the very top of the beer, I am not able to see a thing through this beer. Dark amber is not even close enough, this beer is black. I’m sure the culprits behind that are the Brown and Chocolate malts.

From the very beginning this beer grabs hold of you with its enticing aromas and dark appearance. I’m thinking the flavor of this beer will be just as amazing.

Let’s Drink

Hmm…Wow….The Asylum Porter is outstanding. So much flavor packed into a pint can, it’s amazing. Right off the bat I am hit with a chocolate flavor that seems to stick around for the entire sip but still leaves room to grow. Alongside the chocolate is a nice toasted malt and coffee flavor.  It’s easy to pick up on how the different malts used seem to come together. Very delicious, the malts are first to charge and remain on the battle field for some time. Though the flavor starts to change from the malty to a more bitter presence. Though the chocolate flavor remains, the Northern Brewers hops begin to arise. With that I am getting a very strong earthy, smoky, woods bitterness to it. Again I am loving the Northern Brewer hops, such a unique flavor that could be easily be misused. In this case, 42 North got it just right.

There is something to be said about a beer that has a transforming flavor, from the beginning of the sip to the bitter end. Some IPAs have a simple citrus hop flavor, same thing with porters and stouts but with malts instead. The Asylum Porter is a beer that shows the strength malts can have in a beer without over powering the hops. They flow so smooth, hand in hand even. 42 North was not mistaken when they put iconic and robust on the side of Asylum Porter’s can.

Final Thoughts

At this point it’s pretty easy to see how much I enjoyed the Asylum Porter I’m sure. But I’m not sure I’ve said all there is to say….as I think of more to say…hmmm

42 North did an excellent job, the Asylum Porter is a versatile beer that I could find myself enjoying in several different setting. Ultimately though I think I found a new beer to drink while reading my philosophy books. A dark and enticing beer alongside deep thoughts, seems like a good combination to me.

Like I said before 42 North was absolutely correct when putting iconic and robust on the side of the can for the Asylum Porter. I guess that’s it.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it! Keep the beer flowing!

42 North, cheers to you!

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3 thoughts on “Brewview#35: Asylum Porter by 42 North Brewing Company

  1. nothing like a good Porter to keep you warm on a cold Buffalo winter night! 🍻

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mmm coffee and chocolate! And I love the local history

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have another coffee porter coming soon!

      Liked by 2 people

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