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Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week": Ska Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Apr 18, 2007 4:00PM

2007_04_botw16.jpg2007_04_ska.jpg"Ska Month" continues here at Chicagoist with another selection from the Ska Brewery in Durango, Colo. This week, we're looking at the last of their "robust reincarnations" series, Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter.

Nefarious is a Baltic-style porter that weighs in at a hearty 8 percent alcohol by volume. Like our previous two Ska selections, we purchased this as a 22-ounce bomber at Lush Wine & Spirits' University Village location. It poured a deep brown, near-black in color, with a small tan-colored head that receded quickly into nothing. As we poured this into a stout glass, we picked up some hints of yeast and spice notes on the nose, along with some esthers. This, combined with the high alcohol content, explained why the head was so thin.

The flavors you'll find on Nefarious are similar to a stout. Coffee, roasted malt, and chocolate dominated the palate. The chocolate note here was sweeter than we find in most stouts or porters, like milk chocolate. Combined with the coffee notes, the taste was similar to drinking a rich mocha. As the beer lost its chill, we found slight touches of dark fruits on the palate. All these flavors worked to conceal the beer's alcohol content; it drank easy. Nefarious had some hints of almond on the finish, with a dry mouthfeel that'll have you reaching for water.

Compared to other porters — the sorely missed Bell's comes to mind — we'll have to be honest and admit we've had better. Of the three "robust reincarnations" Ska offers, however, Nefarious was our favorite of the three. It has a weight to it that makes it a good beer for cold-weather drinking and is the perfect insulator for early spring, if you're the type of person who breaks out the shorts at sunrise on March 21. As a pairing with food, it would work well with pizza (few beers don't), hearty Italian fare, or spicier Thai cuisine. Cheeses perfect for Nefarious include aged cheddar, smoked gouda, or bufala mozzarella.

We hope that you're enjoying "Ska month" here at "BotW." Despite our sometimes combative demeanor in the comments, we do encourage feedback. If you've gone out and sampled any of these selections, we'd love to hear back from you. Next week, we'll close out April with one of Ska's everyday selections. This week, it's all about Ska Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter, Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week."

Bottle image courtesy of