I hate it when a beer tastes totally different between tap and bottle
and that’s the case with Breckenridge Vanilla Porter. I had this on tap
and it was delicious so I picked up a bottle at my beer store and it was
only good. Perhaps I got an old bottle (there is absolutely no
freshness date whatsoever), so all I can do is review what I have in
front of me: a tasty, by-the-book porter with a vanilla twist in the
Appearance: Cream soda complexion of brown and ruby red. Seemingly
opaque, but translucent with visible carbonation in the light. Forms a
large, dark tan, frothy head which retains and laces extremely well.
Smell: Standard porter aroma of dark malts, a touch of honey or some kind of confectionery sweetness. Mild, though.
Taste: I had this beer on tap and it was as robust as many imperial
stouts, but when I tried the home version it was quite different. It’s a
porter in pretty much every aspect. Mild, toasted dark malt through the
palate with sweetness in the background the entire time. Minute taste
of dark fruits, but nothing not found in most other porters. The finish
is what gives the beer its uniqueness with a burst of vanilla flavor and
a quick kiss of bitter dark chocolate. These candy flavors linger
momentarily, but then the palate fades away cleanly. I enjoyed what was
there but I wanted a lot more.
Drinkability: I was shocked to discover this beer is only 4.7% ABV since
it seemed like a much bigger brew on tap. This makes Breckenridge
Vanilla Porter an anomaly of a brew since it’s a tad too big to be a
classically defined "session beer," but I think it’s one you can bend
the rules for. The body isn’t too thin, the mouthfeel is comfortable,
and there’s no cloying sweetness or dryness whatsoever. It’s a good
alternative to the usual boring porter.