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Maui CoCoNut Porter

December 21st, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | Filed under Brewer: Maui, Brewer: Minneapolis Town Hall, Brewer: Williamsburg AleWerks, Country: America, Grade: A-, Grade: B plus, Style: Porter.

5.7% ABV canned

I’ve been too precious with my beer lately.  Just keeping it on the shelf, in the fridge, admiring it more than drinking it.  Almost scared to uncork my bottles if not for a special occasion.  Right, like I have special occasions.  I’d become like some douchebag who owns a fleet of Porsches and Ferraris yet never takes them out of the hangar, instead pedaling a beat-up Schwinn to the store every time he needs a carton of milk.  So this past weekend, with a load of looming trades headed my way, I decide to take some inventory and free up some space in my cellar.*  By drinking through my bottles one by one.

I’ve been drinking a lot of porters lately–a style I’m starting to think I can only differentiate from stouts in my mind–and each one of these three came in a trade from my three favorite fellow beer bloggers.

I don’t know why, but I’d wanted to try Maui’s CoCoNut porter for a long time.  Maybe because it just sounds exotic.  Maybe because it would be the first Hawaiian beer I’d ever had.  Maybe because I have a weird fetish for quality canned beers.  Or maybe just because I’m a fan of unnecessary midWord capitalization.  Alas, I finally got a can courtesy of my man Jay at Hedonist Beer Jive.  I’m sad to report, though, I was a tad disappointed.  Much like the Stone’s Ken Schmidt collaboration (which, yes, also included some help from Maui), I think this is another middling review that we somewhat have to blame on my own faulty expectations.  I don’t know why I keep expecting these coconut beers to taste like a liquidized Mounds bar, but I just can’t shake the desire for that taste.  Just like Ken Schmidt though, this one tastes nothing like that but instead is a very, very roasted offering.  I also found it somewhat lacking in complexity for such an ambitiously created beer.  A slightly thin mouthfeel would be another debit, but this is actually a pretty nice drinking porter for the low ABV.  I may not sound like I liked it, but I truly did, I just wasn’t floored by it.  I’d love to get my hands on the rest of Maui’s offerings as well.

B+

Minneapolis Town Hall Odin

8.4% ABV from a growler

Minnesota has become a craft beer mini-mecca and luckily my man The Captain lives right in the eye of the storm and, even luckier, has no compunction with mailing heavy ass growlers halfway across the country for, you see, two of Minnesota’s top breweries–Town Hall and Barley John’s (which I have still yet to try an offering from)–are tap/growler only.  After their legendary Masala Mama, Odin is the second offering I’ve had from the Town Hall boys and it’s another very good one.  Full bodied and roasted but with a hint of nice sweetness on the back-end.  Beautifully complex and quite enjoyable.  Not too boozy but a little too heavy to be super drinkable, then again, I had no clue the ABV on this was so high until I just this second looked it up on BA.  I enjoyed this one quite a bit and hope to continue stockpiling Town Hall growlers.

B+

Williamsburg AleWerks Bourbon Barrel Porter

ABV unknown from a bomber (#0334/2009)

This final offering comes from Dave the Drunken Polack.  I had, quite frankly, never even heard of this Virginia brewery but when Dave asked if I was interested in this beer I saw those three magic words–BOURBON.  BARREL.  AGED–and I was sold.  Wise decision as this is a very solid offering in perhaps my favorite sub-style of beer.  Aged two months in oak bourbon barrels with tastes of caramel, chocolate, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, and bourbon this is a very complex and very strong beer.  It smells like a masterpiece but the taste doesn’t quite deliver as it’s a little hot and a little bitter.  Well worth seeking out though and along with Williamsburg’s absolutely outstanding Pumpkin Ale that I had back in October but never formally reviewed, I’d definitely have to label this relatively-known brewery as one to watch.

A-

*Like I have a cellar!  Ha.

6 Responses to “Maui CoCoNut Porter”

  1. Dave | 12/22/09

    I have yet to open up my bottle of Bourbon Barrel Porter because I know it’s still too damn hot. I had a sample of it a little bit ago. Hopefuly it dies down a bit.

  2. Aaron Goldfarb | 12/22/09

    I really hate hot stouts and barley wines but I didn’t have a problem with this one at all. Far less hot than the Black Xantus I had recently. I wouldn’t be that concerned though a few more months of age could do it well.

    I am saving the Williamsburg barley wine for a little longer though as hot barley wines can truly be awful.

  3. Stuart Raymond | 12/22/09

    FYI Fitgers in Duluth is better than Barley Johns. Maybe one of these days I’ll ship you their Star Fire Pale Ale or El Nino DIPA.

  4. Jay | 12/22/09

    I had the Coconut porter again over the weekend, maybe the EXACT SAME MOMENTS you were drinking yours, and my relatively higher score still stands. I found it really sweet and smooth and a total surprise of a dark beer. But hey, there’s no accounting for taste, right?

  5. Aaron Goldfarb | 12/22/09

    Stuart: Never heard of Fitgers but I dig their website and they sound pretty good. That El Nino Double-Hopped sounds awesome!

    Jay: I’ll blame my expectations again. I think it’s that damn feeling that I just want a liquidized Mounds bar. I need to try it again with a blank slate.

  6. Stuart Raymond | 12/22/09

    The brewmaster of Town Hall is brothers with the brew master from Fitgers, if that gives you any indication of their quality.

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