To be brutally transparent, it has taken me a loooooooooong time to warm up to dark beers. However, it has taken a considerably shorter time to become a fan.
So much so that I almost crave them. Especially now that so many breweries are putting on their creative hats and coming up with such amazing concoctions. Incorporating a myriad of flavours that range from peanut butter (Dead Frog Nutty Uncle) to tart cherries (Fieldhouse Cherry Vanilla Milk Stout).
Dark beers for me are like candy bars – there really isn’t a bad choice, but there are better choices. Case in point is my current go to – Field House Salted Black Porter – incredibly rich, complex, warm, sweet, bitter, and just plain yummy. Now that could be said about most of the porters and stouts, but there is just that little something that keeps me coming back for more and more and more and more.
I’ve recently stumbled across the Two Wolves Great Plain Dark Ale which would be an excellent “lighter” option that could easily be consumed 365 days of the year. I can see myself grabbing a 4 pack of these for any games night or around the evening backyard fire.
Mentioned earlier, the Dead Frog Nutty Uncle also tickles my fancy and would be for those days when Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are the “bar” of choice. It’s another rich, deep, warm, and yummy beer that goes down way too easy. This would be a great beer to finish off with dessert and an evening with friends.
So where does the Tofino Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter fit into the mix?
Tofino? Beer? Huh…
When one thinks of BC’s regional craft beer meccas your mind goes to the usual hot spots – East Vancouver, and Victoria. They are chalk full of some of the most brilliant minds in the industry today.
However, there are a number of jewels that have come out of more non-traditional BC towns – Fernie, Quesnel, Kamloops, and Abbotsford for example. To which we can also add Tofino to this list.
Tofino is a tiny tourist town (pop. under 2k) where every good BC’er goes to surf. Yes dude, we go there to surf. Okay, there’s also fishing, and site-seeing, but this remote West Coast Vancouver Island village is the surfing capital of Canada! Hence where Tofino Dawn Patrol (getting up early and going surfing) Coffee Porter gets its monicker.
The Details: Porter, 6.5% ABV, – IBU
The Pour: A dark rich liquid pours a fluffy tan head, settling to a thin smooth layer.
The Smell: Malt with lots of coffee. As it warmed up the coffee came out stronger, as did a hint of liquorice (???). That liquorice may actually have something to do with the “Bourbon-soaked vanilla beans” it is conditioned on.
The Swig: Coffee forward might be the best way to describe it, with a hint of liquorice (or bourbon? who knows). Left a mild bitterness with alcohol in the backend that was reflected in a warm chest. There was just enough sweetness to compliment the bitterness. As was to be expected the hops were not a major player.
It had a pleasant feel in the mouth, with a touch of effervescence that wasn’t really smooth.
WIBTA?: A very niche / seasonal beer that I would probably pickup again next winter. Definitely not an everyday sort of beverage though. If you are into coffee beer I would encourage you to give this a try.
The Closing Notes
Winter for me means spending a whole lot of time indoors with board games and binge watching Netflix. A bottle of this would definitely be a suitable companion for either activity. Although at 6.5% ABV you may want to be cautious as it does go down fairly smoothly, and at wouldn’t take much to find yourself going back to the fridge to crack open another.
As coffee beers stand, Tofino Brewing have done a good job. It’s balanced nicely with just the right coffee hit and a touch of sweetness. Probably the only thing that I would have liked was a smoother mouth feel but now we’re getting picky.
To answer my earlier question, Tofino Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter is like the orange chocolate at Christmas – best enjoyed sparingly, but enjoyed none the less.
Where do I find this amazing beverage? Go to the link on their website for a map showing various stockists around the province or go to Tofino and fill your growler.
Well that’s it for now, gonna go quench that panda sized thirst… Cheers!
*WIBTA is where I ask myself “Would I Buy This Again?”