The Daily Brews

Ballast Point Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

Because we can seems to be the reason why the Ballast Point brewing Company of San Diego, California, would produce one of the most "in your face" beers around.

This imperial (meaning bold) porter is bursting with coffee bitterness and swimming in lush vanilla smoothness. At 10 per cent abv, this beer bashes you over the head with its unsubtle presence.

The beer wasn't unpleasant to drink, so much as an endurance test and a beer research task. Having said that, if you are a porter fan this could easily become an acquired taste - especially for a special treat.

The body and flavours are powerful, but overall it is well balanced and incredibly smooth. In the end your response to it will come down to how grunty you like your beer. My Dad, an open- minded Kiwi brown ale drinker was visiting and he sampled a drop. His verdict: horrible. Mum thought you should either drink beer or coffee, not both at the same time. Others will agree but I like the combination. It is probably better suited to a freezing winter day by the fire.

The coffee is provided by Caffe Calabria of San Diego, which is obviously a local "craft coffee" purveyor. The coffee is added as a cold brew, which provides the pleasant roasted coffee bean flavour as well as the traditional coffee aroma.

Ballast Point delight in experimentation and challenging traditional beer styles. Their Sculpin IPA is a high-class beer. Their extensive range also includes the delightfully named Ballast Point and Coronado Ingrid's 1 in 8 with Rum Soaked Oak Chips and "Ballast Point Sea Monster (Devil's Share Whiskey Oak Chip Aged). Further research is obviously required.

Warwick Foy

Taranaki Daily News