Truth be told, yes I thought that after drinking my way through the 24 Beers of Christmas last winter that I would never have anything resembling a dark beer ever again. (Or at least until the next winter.)
But when I stumbled upon the rum-barrel aged version of Bomber Brewing’s Coconut Porter (already a solid beer), I knew I had to give it a go. After all, the good weather we've been able to enjoy is about to give way to another run of rain and clouds. You might as well pull in that patio furniture you just assembled last week (just me?) and get into a dark ale of some sort.
Even though I'm always intrigued by rum- or whiskey-aged beer, I’m not always a huge fan of it. If often ends up tasting like a weird amalgamation of dark, crusty beer with an alcohol aftertaste. Smoothness, one of my preferred attributes in beer, can hardly ever be found.
Here though, the very subtle hints of oak and rum work surprisingly well with the chocolate and coconut, creating an easily sippable and enjoyable beer that’s never too heavy.
Of course, some hold aversions against Bomber for being owned by that bastion of corporate-ness that doesn’t need to be mentioned. Fair enough, but it does need to be said that a four-pack of this costs $13.50. (And that most other four-packs at Bomber ring in at a dollar less). The same can’t be said for most if not all of the breweries in its immediate surroundings.
The bottom line—as always in this column—is that when a brewery experiments, it gets our curiosity. If that experiment tastes really good, it gets our attention, corporate overlord or not.