A Warm and Hearty Embrace
A Review of Bear Hug by BridgePort Brewing Co.
Posted on 3/19/2013 by Chops
                   
Great
Founded in 1984, BridgePort is Oregon's oldest craft brewery. Those are some really big shoes to fill and they come with a ton of responsibility, especially considering that Portland held the title of Beer City USA for many years. Much of Portland's status as a craft beer destination can be attributed to BridgePort. They were one of the first breweries to actually take action against the onslaught of bland and flavorless beer. As a result, they have solidified themselves as a respected elder of American craft beer. I recently came across their Bear Hug Cherry Chocolate Stout. As a beer geek, I could not help but succumb to its powerful allure. After all, it marries two of our most cherished things: reputation and clever names.

In the glass, this beer has a stark black coloration with no edging. It comes with a frothy copper-tan head that has good retention. On the nose, I was greeted with a sweet and savory combination of roasted malt, cherry sour, warm chocolate, and a nip of alcohol. It's strange to say, but it's not every day that you come across a beer that presents itself as advertised. Bear Hug is most certainly a cherry chocolate stout. It's a conclusion I could have reached blindfolded and I found that oddly comforting. You would think that this would be the norm, but alas, we now live in a world of unhinged brewing. Glad to see BridgePort is keeping us grounded.

For such a rich combination of bold flavors, this beer is surprisingly easy to grasp. It's very smooth and easy to drink with a solid medium body. It tastes very clean, no grittiness or chalkiness. The flavors are simple and direct: clean roast, savory cocoa, and tart cherries. The hop profile is mild and complimentary. The hops do assert themselves a bit on the finish, creating a tart bitter roasted aftertaste. Everything is nicely balanced and non-aggressive, creating a delightful session stout.

Overall, BridgePort's Bear Hug Cherry Chocolate Stout is a savory brew with forthright flavor. It tastes and feels exactly as advertised: cherries, chocolates, and malt roast (oh my). As a result, I can recommend Bear Hug to all levels of beer fans. Seasoned drinkers will appreciate this beer as a flavorful session stout. Novices will appreciate this beer as a soothing intro into bigger and bolder stouts. As an East Coast resident, I have limited exposure to BridgePort brews, so the ones I do find need to be treasured. I greatly enjoyed my warm and hearty Bear Hug and look forward to hunting down more BridgePort delights.

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Bear Hug by BridgePort Brewing Co.
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