Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Raspberry Porter

Beer: Raspberry Porter
Brewery: Southern Tier (Lakewood, NY)
Type: fruit beer (porter)
ABV: 5%

It's tough getting American micro brews around these parts, and that's a real shame. Some of the best and most unique stuff in the brewing world is coming out of United States craft brewers, and while the ol' LCBO has a few kicking around, the selection is certainly thin. I've had a couple Southern Tiers before - their regular porter is excellent, as is their IPA - but it took the efforts of two super awesome people to bring a sampler bottle of this back to Waterloo.

(Thanks, Jill and Dave!)

So, to business.

The very notion of a raspberry porter intrigues. Porters generally have a chocolatey, coffee taste to them, which I imagine would go well with the addition of fresh raspberries. Then again, fruit beers always have the tendency to miss the mark, usually a consequence of the fruit flavours dominating, rather than enhancing the base brew. This one starts off pretty well, pouring a dark mahogany and leaving about a half-inch of head, which is about the best one can expect from a bottle. The head quickly disappears into a thin ring around the glass which sticks around until the finish. Couple of flecks of lacing.

The smell certainly delivers what the label promises: raspberry, raspberry, raspberry. Nice ones too, I have to say; certainly not artificial. Lingering in the back is a bit of dark chocolate and coffee, again coming from the porter base. Pretty inviting.

The taste isn't bad, and better than I'd expected. Although the raspberry takes the reins initially, it quickly gives way to a coffee bitterness that provides the finish. The coffee flavour feels a bit burnt, but it's not off-putting. Not very complex, but tasty.

The mouthfeel was a bit disappointing. Way too thin for a porter, even one marketed under the 'fruit beer' category. I'm guessing this was done to increase its appeal to those who were probably drawn to the raspberry in the title, but I think it was a poor decision. Porters need more body to them than this.

Not a bad little beer. Certainly well worth trying, but I doubt it's one I'll aggressively seek out again. I think that with a bit more effort, this brew could be a real winner, but for now, I'll stick with the regular porters. (Grade: B-)

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