Brewer: Matt Brewing Company
Location: Utica, New York
Type: American Porter
It was definitely a beer day, denizens. I was considering going with a beer from an old familiar friend of a brewery—one that I knew without a doubt would satisfy me. But then I caught sight of this curious beer, which I picked up during a holiday Total Wine splurge. Here’s a secret about me: I love caramel. It’s one of my all-time favorite flavors. Combined with a dark beer profile? You might make me a fan for life if you can pull this off successfully.
This was my first Saranac beer, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Pop the top and pour, and the familiar earthy rush of dark brew flooded the glass, rising into a soft, tawny sheen of foam. Inhale and the decidedly glorious smell of caramel fills my lungs. It’s a delicious smell, interlaced with hints of vanilla and roasted malt. My hopes rise, as delicate and reserved as the beer’s foam.
Drink up a generous mouthful. Satisfying mouth feel that isn’t watery but also not too heavy. Swallow.
Someone turn down the lights and put on some Barry White, because it’s time for succulent, sweet caramel and loamy, rich porter to get it on, right there on my palate. Whether this is a consistent level of amazing or Saranac slammed this particular batch WAY out of the park, I’m not sure. All I can tell you is that this was one of the most deliciously balanced blends of beer and flavoring that I have enjoyed in a very long time.
This could have been a hot syrupy mess. It could have tasted nothing like the promise offered by its name. It could have tasted contrived, manufactured, fake or, even worse, absolutely nothing like it said it would (see Sweet Baby Jesus for a perfect example of broken beer promises).
Instead, I have to tell you, I think Saranac is nothing short of brilliant for this beer. What makes this even more spectacular is the fact that, according to reviews I’ve read after the fact, they are mostly known for their hop-heavy line-up. That makes this malted, dark wonder even more special.
I tried to find more of this beer the last time I was at Total Wine. Sadly, however, none remained. I can understand why. If I can find it again, I have every intention of buying a full six-pack, and of putting a couple away for aging. I bet this ages like a fiend. I’d also love to find this on tap. This is definitely one of those beers I feel compelled to experience in all its forms.
If you love caramel…hell, even if you just like caramel, I would recommend this beer. Also? I bet it makes one breathtaking ice cream float…