Monday, February 24, 2014

Winter is bittersweet, just like porter.

I've always had a deep disdain for the winter months and everything that goes with them: Expensive holidays, shoveling snow and of course, frigid temperatures. There are few things in this world a girl hates more than feeling cold.

Enter: Porter. Porter is the perfect winter beer. Its roasty complexity and higher alcohol content are exactly what I look for to warm my insides, and the bitter finish cuts through the richness and keeps it from lingering too long on the palate.

This week, I was in the mood for some sweeter porters. I find coffee and chocolate work best with the porter's framework, so that's what I was looking for in the beer store. I came across two varieties I hadn't yet tried: Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter and Sweet Baby Jesus! Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter from DuClaw Brewing Company.

The first beer I tasted for was the DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus! Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter, mainly because the flavors were so intriguing. I am pleased to say that this beer delivered on all of its promises. After opening the bottle, the aroma was all peanut butter. This scared me a bit at first, but when I tasted it I found the flavors to be prominent, but all very well-balanced. It was sweet in the beginning with lots of peanut butter and chocolate flavor with malty undertones, but the finish was nice and bitter, very true to the classic porter profile. To me it tasted like a Peanut Chew dipped in toffee, which is a very, very good thing. This may still only be an occasional treat for me as I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but at 6.5% ABV, it's a pretty drinkable beer that packs just enough punch.

Next up was Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter. I was very excited about this one, as I have had several varieties of Wolaver's Fine Organic Ales and haven't had one yet that I didn't love. This was no exception. This is a straightforward porter with a strong coffee taste. It has the richness and silky mouthfeel of espresso, a very faint note of vanilla bean and then a strong bitter finish that is perfectly suiting to this rich beer and not at all off-putting. My favorite part about this beer is that it's incredibly balanced. The folks over at Wolver's certainly packed a lot of coffee flavor in this beer, but used enough restraint to allow that authentic porter flavor to shine through. This beer is quite carbonated and is only 5% ABV, so it's definitely a beer you can sip all night by the fire.

Have you explored the world of porters yet? What are some of your favorites? Tell me in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. I dont know much about beer. Most I don't like but your description makes me think id give these a try. I think I could drink a peanut chew. :-)