Noble Pig - Mocha Porter

Noble Pig: Mocha Porter (Canada: Porter: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Black, massive frothy cinnamon to brown frothed head. Ruby red at edges of the body.

Nose: Bitter coffee. Milky chocolate. Smooth. Light roasted notes as it warms.

Body: Smooth. Roasted hazelnut backing and low hop bitterness. Light cream cheese and chives. Bitter back. Milky coffee.

Finish: Milky coffee. Low roasted character. Light cream. Bitter chocolate.

Conclusion: I’m sensing a trend in Canadian beers so far. They don’t push against your expectations, but they do deliver on very well crafted examples of existing styles with well balanced flavours.

I base this insight on about four days drinking. I may turn out to be wrong. Let it never be said that the English are afraid to make wide sweeping assumptions from ignorance. Wait, what do you mean no one ever said that anyway? Huh.

This is a creamy coffee heavy porter, very smooth up front, but has a delicate use of hop roughness to roast it up a bit at the back end. It is a good balance, and one I respect as heavy dark beers can get sticky and oppressively hopped very quickly, but here it just complements the roasted nut character used as a backing. I’ve seen great smooth porters in my time, and far more rarely good hopped porters, but rarely something that mixes the two.

While it doesn’t break boundaries, this really pushes the strength of the porter style over its stronger stout cousin – despite the big flavours it still slides down so easily. The most noticeable flavours are from where it pushes the coffee – smooth and milky, yet still with bitterness to show it isn’t afraid of some bite to back it up.

A seriously well balanced porter, and one that shows a bit of hops in your porters doesn’t hurt and can in fact help. Very nice for that and for a decent flavour as well.

Background: Tried at the Noble Pig Brewpub in Kamloops – was a bit of a walk from the hotel, up a freaking hill no less, but wasn’t too bad considering I basically grew up on one big hill. Again, really friendly staff, and they had awesome mac and cheese with pulled pork. It was a lovely goopy, probably terrible for me mess of taste joy. I hadn’t seen many darker beers yet on the trip so decided to grab the porter. After this I was wandering back when I saw a coffee store with a hardcore punk gig going on in it, so I joined in. of course. Canada is cool.