Febrewary: Alta Gracia Coffee Porter


Brewer: Otter Creek BrewingCompany
Location: Middlebury, Vermont
Type: American Porter
ABV: 5%

Let this be a lesson to us all, denizens. Always read the full label before making a purchase. Had I done this with the “Wolaver’s Fine Organic Ales” coffee porter that I’m here to review now…well, let’s just say that I would have probably thought twice about actually buying it. Wolaver’s is a line brewed by Vermont’s Otter Creek Brewing Company. I gave their Stovepipe Porter a less than enthusiastic review back in Darktober.

And so it goes with this beer. It seems as if the only real hat trick that this Wolaver beer has is that it is an “unfiltered and unpasteurized porter brewed with Vermont grown organic coffee and aged on organic vanilla beans.” Wonderful It’s an organic beer. But it claims to use excellent coffee and vanilla beans, which when combined, should make a fantabulous beer…something right up my alley, so to speak.

This beer barely fizzled as I poured it, even though I did try to encourage some sign of carbonated life. Regardless of my attempts at carbonation resuscitation, this beer was practically DOA. Drinking it was an equally lifeless experience, each swallow going down like flat bargain bin soda left out on the table for hours.

With hardly any carbonation also came the disappointing realization that this porter had hardly any nose whatsoever. It smelled kind of like a cup of watered-down coffee, but nothing extraordinarily noteworthy beyond that. Limp, weak mouth feel and a taste that I can only describe as my sad attempt as a child to make a chocolate soda by squeezing Hershey’s syrup into a glass of Pepsi. I can report that this experiment was an unequivocal failure.

Kind of like this porter.

Were I in a more charitable mood (which I suppose I should be in, considering the holiday and all), I would say that I plan on giving this beer another try. However, combined with my previously unenthusiastic experience with Otter Creek, I’m going to say no. No to this beer and no to Otter Creek. Again, there is no lack of dark beer goodness out there. I really don’t see the point in subjecting myself to beers this lackluster.