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Hess Brewing Brunus Induresco Coffee Porter, Eh Tu Brunus?

I love seeking out nano’s and seeing what they are up to. Unlike girls at the gym with nanos, nanobreweries are downright approachable and can usually get up in the mix with stuff that bigger boys may not want to attempt. I don’t know if there is a smaller adjective but Funky Buddha fits this bill pretty well. When people started kicking up dust about this lil upstart, Eric generously hooked this up for me so I could get in on the SD reindeer games. Let’s see what is going down with Hess in today’s review.

It's a coffee drink for people who don't have shit to accomplish in the morning.

Hess Brewing Company
California, United States
American Porter | ABV 7.5(?)

One of the badass things about nano’s is that price is usually not a limiting factor since they are going to be making small runs with weird ingredients so you can try shit like a Durian Gose or an Ectocooler Saison, wait I think I already tried that last month, anyway, shit is cray. This is no exception, this porter has freshly roasted coffee beans from the coffee and tea collective and the nano notes are certainly there.

A: The pour is classic porter, nice Dr. Pepper looking wateriness with mild coating and a light sheeting that billows up a non-offensive amount of carbonation. The lacing is clumpy like 9’s in a club, you know what I mean. The result is lil spotty archipelagoes that cling to the glass like if Casper got hit with a proton pack. Don’t cross the streams with this porter.

At first I wondered if this would be mainstream and disappointing, but then it delivered some memorable moments. Pic related.

S: Easily my favorite part of this beer is the smell. It gets straight up Peruvian with some nice malty roast and an acidic coffee integration like light roasts that still have balls. The beans and dry roastiness trump the chocolate or sticky malt aspects, and for the porter base, I am liking what is going down. This has more coffee to the nose than even those other coffee heavy hitters like Peche Mortel of Founder’s Breakfast Stout, albeit with less complexity. The coffee hits like the Tyrant in Resident Evil with a huge left hook and little more than an aggro charge attack. However, I think it is better as a result.

T: The taste is acidic coffee and deep roasty malts through and through. It isn’t exactly on the smokey zone like some stouts that push the office jokes too far, but the coffee keeps it in line with clean Latter Day Saints coffee humor. The dryness works well with the light watery character and gives the whole beer this sort of morning beverage aspect that isn’t exactly filling but it knocks you down strictly due to the bitterness of the deep arabica character. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I would assert the use of high alpha acid hops like Tomahawk but it isn’t exactly like that, no Native Americans were implicated in the creation of this stout.

Some people complain that I need to take more beer porn pics of me pouring the beer at super high res so you can see the hair follicles in the malt and shit, go to a Spiderman thread, this is beer.

M: The mouthfeel is crisp and dry. There was not a barrel involved here but the roast can trick you into thinking maybe some kids were painstaking working as coopers for Hess, and while I am not an advocate of child labor, if that is the case, so be it if coffee flavor is the price. Anyway, so there’s a nice crisp dryness but not a huge malty body to support it, so you get the porter analog of a west coast IPA, with different palate profiles. I am on board for that shit like crunchwrap supremes at 2:45 a.m.

D: This is exceptionally drinkable and I merked an entire 1 liter growler with the utmost urgency. This isn’t my favorite porter of all time but it does put an interesting spin on those non-BA non-imperial porters like Edmund Fitzgerald that hold a special place in my heart. If you like those but want more coffee on bean sex, this will get your oils all grinding. I would go ahead and assume that this is only as exceptional as noted when sampled extremely fresh, it also helps to sample 32oz at a time for maximum boost gauge omnislash potential.

You wouldn't steal a coffee, you wouldn't download a girlfriend, don't rob nanobreweries by accepting subpar replicas. FEELINGS.

Narrative: Carl Glauber kicked the obsidian sand in front of him and exhaled deeply. He was resigned to his fate, an untimely death on a deserted volcanic island with nothing but the sweet succor of hundreds of pounds of fresh coffee beans to abate his pain. The sweet irony of dying a slow death in the south pacific with only coffee beans to live on was, he was awake for every moment of it. “Go follow the Kopi Lowak coffee beans” they said “it’s the modern day gold rush, with coffee beans!” they said. Now he was here jittering harder than an asian biochem student wondering where it all went wrong. Maybe it was the jumping in the single prop plane, maybe it was the sacks and sacks of decadent coffee, maybe- ah, who we Carl to speculate as he stared out upon the deep, black, obsidian fragments. His hands shook violently from a coffee induced dehydrated rage as he tried to insert a piece of paper inside of an empty Frappucino bottle with a plea for mercy. The bottle floated against the stern of a nearby Seattle’s Best barge and a crewmate ambled up the ropes with the message in hand. “SIR! There is a Kopi Lowak poacher writing in barely legible handwriting begging mercy for his coffee transgressions!” The captain of the Seattle’s Best barge lowered his brown solemnly, “if he chose to exist outside the coffee parameters of gas stations and dorm rooms, he deserves whatever fate the java gods have served him.” Authorities would later express amazement when Carl fashioned a helicopter entirely out of coffee beans and byproducts, only to escape weeks later and learn that he had the coffee all along. He is currently shopping his story to William Morris Endeavor for movie rights.

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BONUS REVIEW: New Glarus Smoke on the Porter, the beer is much harder to make than the guitar riff is to play.

I love New Glarus and I don’t care who knows it. We all know my civil objection to Red and Tart, but quite literally every other beer is amazing without qualifier.

Now we come to this crossroad. I hate smoked beers, I dislike smoke, and even a flint and dry kindling makes me nervous. So here we go, don’t let me down Wisconsin.

So sticky, so rauchey.

Unplugged Smoke on the Porter
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States
American Porter | 6.10% ABV

Let me start by saying that every. single. beer. In this unplugged series has been amazing. Seriously. I will also qualify that with the fact that this beer IS AMAZING, but I absolutely did not enjoy it. How is this possible? Well, did you ever see Tree of Life, and you know something incredible is going on but you just refuse to embrace the artistry and amazing deliberate moves set forth. Enough sophistry, is it good? Yes, but not to me. This is not to say that people are “wrong” if they enjoy this. I just cannot stand smoke in my beers unless it they buttress the balustrade with some elaborate railings. So the base beer is amazing, if you can breathe through the smoke and inhale into blankets like that movie The Negotiator, you’ll survive.

I guess I just don’t like my amazing porter tasting like beer jerky [sic] anymore than I would cure a delicious cut of meat with a porter. “I WOULD!” the masses resoundingly announce. Well, intersubjectivity rules again. Some people dress in Furry suits and dome one another up, I am not saying it is wrong, my intercourse is just less elaborate.

The Verdict: This is a great base beer, amazing taste, very drinkable, clean, on to style, great chocolate and slight mocha wash, if you can somehow ignore the HUGE smoke presence, another win for New Glarus.

There are some bad ass elements going on in this beer, but you aren't sure if they should be combined.

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Pipeworks Brewing End of Days Cacao Milk Sweet Ancho Chili Cinnamon Non-Imperial… STOUT.

I am not kidding. That is seriously what this beer has going on. You know that shit just got real when your stout has more adjectives attached to it than a teenage girl’s drink at Starbucks, but HEY, Hunahpu’s had all that going on as well, SO THIS SHOULD BE JUST AS GOOD RIGHT?

Right?

More like the end of trades.

Pipeworks Brewing Company
Illinois, United States
Milk / Sweet Stout | 6.10% ABV

I heard mixed reviews about this thing, some people were all half mast and calling this the second coming of sweet baby Huna, others decried that this was the largest misuse of chilies since Fear Factor pushed a ghost pepper in that dude’s urethra. Who am I to judge? I WILL SHOW YOU EXACTLY WHO.

The beer pours porter thin and leaves a mild cola sheeting that doesn’t seem to have the britches to carry all those modifiers listed above. The abv of 6% is of particular concern as well and once you taste it, you realize that you liked Tboz the best, not Chili. But, what about your friends?

The taste is like taking a delicious milkshake, watering it down substantially, but keeping that sweet cacao presence, and then adding some cinnamon for good measure. You still with me? Ok so take all that with your watery milkshake, and now add a jamba juice boost of ANCHO CHILIES. After about 8oz my throat has this mild stinging and numbness like when you rub cocaine on some nips. You know the drill. It was refined but out of control at the same time, not unlike 3J from Family Matters. I enjoyed my limited serving but even my levels of badassness couldn’t wrangle this whole beastly 22oz. What about your friends? They were rolling 3 deep on this one and ultimately it seemed like when you see a 92 lbs. girl at the gym with DD implants you think that the inner beauty of simplicity and refinement need not be sullied with a din of chili madness, plus they’re just disproportionate, I mean look at that.

IT IS A CHOICE.

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Arcadia Bourbon Barrel Aged Shipwreck Porter, For When Your Life is a Total Shipwreck

So you take a porter, completely rape the style and boost it to a staggering 12% abv and then put it in a bourbon barrel and the beer nerd kids get all half chub, then you add some wax to it and the beerection is so hard that a kitten’s claws couldn’t scratch it.

When this thing breaches your hull, you're going down.

Man, this beer was a huge pain in the ass to open. They went for the 6 coats of wax option and I sure worked up a hunger for 360 calories of beer after going through that shit. IRREGARDLESS, notwithstamping the formgoing, the beer-

Arcadia BA Shipwreck Porter, 12% abv, Baltic Porter

A: Ah imperial porters, always a hazy venn diagram for beer nerds to debate about Imperial Stouts and other very pressing style classification issues. This has a nice water inkiness that produces a night frothy mocha head, but I’ve definitely heard this one before, more specifically it is a porter through and through in body and spirit. It is candid in a “did the neighbors see us through the window” sort of fashion. Straight up porter blood, no B’s and C’s.

For some people, barrel aged porters complete them, these people need an ottervention.

S: The nose of this beer has a nice toffee and brown sugar note to it that reminds me of a honey ham glaze with a nice oaky finish. The chocolate dallies in like a fat kid in PE class, but eventually makes it there. Very nice smell to it and I sure wish I landed more than just one of these but, then again, I have enough to take down as is.

T: This has a fantastic initial sweetness like a butterscotch kiss from See’s Candy, a nice boozy heat to the middle, and then a gentle chocolate coffee finish as a nightcap to the sip. I am liking this style more and more ever since Hill Farmstead went and fucked my world up with Birth of Tragedy, but this is an amiable substitute. As a side note, I paired this with a tuna melt and the two parties could not be reconciled, it tasted like shit all the way through on both sides like a Family Law case. So, dont pair this with fish, is what I am saying, or maybe don’t get divorced, I GUESS.

Sometimes just a little barrel aging is all it takes to turn that liverfrown upside down.

M: The thing I love about Imperial Porters is that you know exactly what you are getting: a ton of flavor and very mild filling and coating on the interior surfaces. That’s a Home Depot joke for all the painting contractors. Moreover, this beer washes clean and after just 12oz you start feeling it and watching iCarly seems like an acceptable thing to do.

D: For the huge bourbon presence and sweetness, this beer still gets a high marking in drinkability for its versatility, small format, and sheer deliciousness index. I would recommend giving this to a sorority girl and shaking your head ruefully when her palate rejects it forthright. This is a gentleman’s drink, to be consumed on boat decks with passing ironic references to the title. Again, BA imperial porters aren’t all over the place so this is a great one to spread around.

Some people think imperial porters are a weak substitute for the real ultra kush imperial stouts. I see them as something altogether different.

Narrative: Devin Worthington threw his back out at work. Well, to be more specific, he was reaching for a Payday in the vending machine and torqued his C-2 vertebrae, but that’s splitting hairs. After the first two days of watching endless daytime dramas and Court TV he began on a new venture: shipbuilding, in bottles. At first glance, the old impossible bottle schtick seemed like something you’d see in a glass case next to a wooden wolf carving or perhaps a beanie baby collection in a finely appointed trailer. However, his new passion called for a tiny nautical lifestyle and he put a pot of Progresso clam chowder on the stove to celebrate this ambitious undertaking. The manuals set forth the traditional mast raising technique from inside the bottle, but fuck that, Devin wasn’t some land loving labia, he wanted the real deal: mini-long handed tools. The epoxy got all over the inside of the bottle and his expensive tools proved as useless as his disability checks. When he sobbed over breaking a tiny balsawood mast, he knew his life was the real shipwreck.

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Péché Mortel (Imperial Stout Au Cafe), Stout Imperialism at Its Finest

Alright time for some good old fashioned stout abuse, another top 100 beer, and more ways to write “this has a coffee taste” in fun and inventive ways.

Peche Mortel, Total Immortel.

Peche mortel, Brassiere, Imperial Stout 9.5% abv

A: The appearance has deep dark hues with no transparency, just a hateful oily darkness that abuses like a NASCAR loving husband. However, the coating relents a bit and there’s frothy mocha lacing that adheres to the glass longingly. Give up lacing, it is time to move on.

Satanic Cups of Coffee

S: There is a huge coffee aroma and burnt smoky notes preside with a bit of chocolate; it is clear that coffee is the main event here, and additional complexity is overwhelmed in this discussion. Not a word in from sweetness, edgewise or otherwise.

T: The nice bit of cocoa on the front is quickly chloroformed and dragged away by the coffee censors. There is a huge dryness from the hops and coffee overpower the sweet notes. This beer could use a bit more maltiness but it helps to keep the crispness of the coffee forward. I guess if you had a kick ass office, a negligent boss, or a drunk supervisor, this could pass as a morning beverage. DONT FORGET TO READ THE OSHA POSTERS.

This beer is a little too sweet, makes me question its intentions.

M: Again, the coffee and roasted notes just overwhelm and it makes it a bit of a one trick pony. Sadly you want more complexity, but what is there, is done fairly well, like a Gallagher comedy show. Except less racist.

D: Sadly, there’s just too much drying and acidity from the coffee notes to make this any form of a session beer. It has its place for three months of the year as a classy respite, but beyond that, it’s tough to really give it a direct nod of approval. This can be the ski lodge wench with fair skin that burns easily. The pale barista that serves you on a daily basis, provided the day is blustery and depressing as a gulag. That kind of barista.

It's like a childhood pleasure with a strange twist.

Narrative: She is wearing the green apron with the six pieces of flair again, it must be Thursday. Don’t look, damnit, you always look at her directly in the eyes before you are even to the register, idiot. Just examine the unhealthy, overpriced baked goods. Nice, now she’s not on to your schemes. Don’t order the same thing like you always do idiot. Naked Juice? No, she will think you are a pervert. Right, strike up a conversation about that captain entendre. Could you have put on a nicer shirt to go out to a café? You know she only comes home from school for winter session and this is the only time you have to see her each year. This year Reggie, this is your season, you will woo “What can I get you?” oh, think think, stack adjectives, describe something, she’s looking! “A frap, drip, uh vanilla soy…” “Latte?” “Yeah. That’s chill” “You want it chilled?” “No, I meant uh like, the adjective phrase, I mean, hot I want a hot latte.” Well, could that have gone any worse you idiot? “Adjective phrase?” why not just go slam your dick in a car door. Her breath smelled of redolent fresh coffee grounds and her eyes sparkled a deep mocha. Now it is all ruined. That is, until next winter session, when she returns, for your grasp. “What size?” “Oh uh, grasp, I mean, holdable, uh Vent…venti” Nevermind, you wont be grasping anything but coffee you needledick.

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Hill Farmstead The Birth of Tragedy, Apollonian vs Dionysian and Everyone getting Twisted

Thus Spoke Aleathurstra

Ok so what’s the deal with this asshole? Well it’s the imperial version of an already badass porter, Twilight of the Idols. It is named after a Nietzsche work, it has bourbon, coffee, and a nice alcoholic heat to it. It’s like they read my diary.

Hill Farmstead Birth of Tragedy, 11% abv, Imperial Porter aged in bourbon barrels

A: The appearance has that classic imperial porter sheen to it, like the coat of an alcoholic panda bear. Black and slick in all the right places, it beckons to slippery asphalt and car crashes that New Englanders no doubt survived in obtaining this succulent potation. As a side note, my bottle had hardly any cabronation, wah wah, here comes the wahhhmbulance ready to pick some nits.

Ok ok, bourbon barrel aged porter, let's settle down.

S: This has a crazy powerful bouquet that smells like melted chocolate, toffee, boozy vanilla extract, and a mild hint of bourbon heat. There is a sweetness that is perfectly balanced by mild alcoholic heat, just like your old bus driver.

T: This is an incredible porter and I know that I ride this brewery’s jock like its jock will soon be discontinued, but it’s really that good. Top 5 porter and guess what, one of the other spots is held by, that’s right Barrel Aged Everett. I can’t get over this brewery, like the haughty 14 year old girl, who just wont accept that her 22 year old boyfriend wasn’t really in love with her. Ok so, it has a nice sweetness that enters and has a set allowing the alcohol waft to permeate and suddenly you forget that you are at a drive in, then a mild coffee pick me up before the bourbon mellows it all out. Just ridiculously pleasant, koala foot massage pleasant.

Just. Want. More Sick Porters.

M: It is thin, like a porter should be, no fat ass imperial stouts up in this mix. It is just light and coats just enough to be rewarding but then hammers its point home. The alcohol is like a stage director in all black watching every movement, making sure that the pilgrim chocolate kids dont miss their entry cues. Holy mixed metaphors.

D: This is incredibly drinkable, I am trying to tame myself from powering through the entire 500ml bottle with little success. It is thin, hot, and sweet, oh wait here’s a patently obvious female entendre. Nope, keeping it classy here. It is totally drinkable and I wish it came in sick sixers or at least tall boys to take up to the lake. PSYCHE. This beer is meant for hearths and post skiing discussions, luge comparisons and other highbrow Vermontean prose.

Do want more.

Narrative: “Existing within the framework entitles you to undeserved, awkward sexual interactions. That is the nature of a collegiate degree” the professor boomed to the teeming auditorium. His teaching methods were unorthodox but shattered the line between biology, psychology, and will to power. “You see, this is the only time that your biological willing will be in comport with the acquiescence with your biological counterpart.” Several students shifted in their chairs and looked left and right, largely Asians and Latter Day Saints. “The supple and demean curve hits its apex at precisely 20 years of age. It is at that age that alcohol enters a golden period of divine inspiration of inhibition where each person may assert the fulfillment of the Dionysian condition while still feeling confident in the missteps guided by the Apollonian age. You will have sex, it will be terrible, but it will be compulsory.” A scandinavian girl had seen enough and left promptly. “You see, all of dark willing is urging, and that is controlled ultimately by a tempering of the passions, and 20 years old is the exact age when both sides meet in a murky confrontation of rationalized bad decisions. It is in this moment that you will be the most alive, the most willing, and consequently the most powerful. You will never receive as much affection, as easily, as everlastingly as this year of your life my college juniors.” The student body began to look left and right with much trepidation and embarrassment. As much as his homework made little sense, the handjobs were rough and undeserved, the kisses pounding and syncopated. It would take the purchase of a Dodge Challenger and countless dates to recapture the ethos that was ejaculated into the air of that auditorium that day. “Only then, will you all become ubermensch. Now, go make out.” Class dismissed.

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Dry Dock Urca Vanilla Porter, Sweeter than Bieber’s Baby Mama

I think I am getting an Urca just looking at this pic.

Dry Dock Brewing, Urca Vanilla Porter, 5.3% abv

A: The appearance is a deep mahogany with a really watery character, wishy washy soapy lacing, with some rub a dub dub mocha to it.

S: This beer has a waft of almond, a huge vanilla sweetness like a Starbucks next to a Strip Club, and a mild coffee finish. The experience is sweet and fulfilling, like the first time you heard Ashton and Demi were getting a divorce. Ahh, refreshing.

Just whispering some sweet vanilla sloth nothings into your ear.

T: The taste is sweet with a sticky vanilla bean at the forefront that slowly fades into a coffee and chocolate finish, a bit of acidity at the end washes away this beer like the taste of koala tears. Don’t act like I am the only one.

M: This is very watery and the the body is thinner than than Mila Kunis’s STAGE THEATER CREDITS, you see, expectations, this beer defies them. The sweetness and thin body make this difficult to stomach, its like a cinnamon roll with too much frosting, not enough roll. This would be an awesome additive to pour in a bigger stout and breakdown into two awesome vanilla stouts, it’s like King Theseus’s ship, but with an alcoholic engineer.

The sweetness and vanilla overload make me feel like a decadent fat ass.

D: The body is thin, the taste is ridiculously sweet, and it leaves you feeling like you made out with a dental hygienist who loves vanilla ice cream. Like, “keeps it at work” level of love. It tries hard and presents something new but, its like a big sword with a tiny handle, it needs some maltiness to comes to grips with itself, badumtish.

Narrative: