Brew Review

Brew Review: Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter

By Jonathan McNamara

Someone ought to get in touch with the marketing department at Ska Brewing.

Yes, that’s right. I used the word “ska” as in punk with a horn section, “Mirror in the Bathroom,” Reel Big Fish, etc. The marketing dilemma this brewery suffers begins with incorporating Ska into their branding. They even admit on the Web site that “although there is evidence dating beer back to the Sumerians nearly 5000 years ago, Ska can only be traced to Jamaica in the late 1950’s.”

Still, while beer and Ska have little in common, I like both so we’ll forgive them for that.

This of course brings us to…

This week’s brew: Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter from Ska Brewing in Durango Colorado.

Honestly, I have no idea where he’s there, but Death himself adorns this label. If it were just Death I might be able to clumsily justify him with thinking like “obviously they’re saying this is the beer of choice for those about to leave this mortal coil.” But no, it’s not just plain old Death, it’s Death wearing kingly robes and holding a scepter with a bowling ball and (you guessed it) a ten pin.


Tastes: like a lot more sense. Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter may have confusing branding, but the smooth flavor it delivers to your gullet is easy enough to understand. It’s absolutely delicious. It smacks of Guinness without the heaviness. The second sip left me with impressions of chocolate. The third changed to coffee.

I had mine: After a long day’s work. Though I could easily see enjoying one while listening to the Skatalites or even Streetlight Manifesto.

Goes with: substantial food. There is a surprisingly dark flavor to this beer divorced from the burden of feeling heavy as you throw a few back. Feel free to open one up with protein-laden feasts or spicy sups of any kind.

Verdict:While I’m positive that a couple of these would impair my ability to skank properly it would be utter madness for me not to recommend this beer. Drink it comfortable in the knowledge that you’re holding a great bottle of brew…even if Death is staring at you from the label.

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Jonathan McNamara