Well, its been a coffee porter kind of week here at The Brew Club! Earlier this week we checked out the excellent Kona Pipeline Porter, and now I’m getting my crunchy-gear on to try out the ‘Certified Organic’ Wolaver’s Alta Gracia Coffee Porter!
The backstory to the Wolaver’s Coffee Porter is that they use organic coffee from a Costa Rican farming village of Alta Gracia. The organic coffee is grown by the farmers, and they are paid fair prices for their product.
The other cool thing about Alta Gracia is it seems to be an educational farm where locals can learn organic coffee farming techniques themselves and make a living by selling their shade-grown coffee to companies like Wolavers. Nice stuff.
So how is this hippy beer anyway? Looking back, I rather enjoyed the Wolaver’s Organic Pale Ale (my first organic beer) so my hopes were high. Pouring the beer, you can see it created a decent beige foamy head, and when I gave this organic coffee beer a sniff, well sure you got roasted coffee, and malt – perhaps even a bit more of a chocolate smell than the aforementioned Pipeline Porter from Kona.
Taking a swig, the dominant flavor is obviously coffee – which is cool. Me like. The coffee flavor was a little more bitter than the Kona version, and it was stronger too – it reminded me of unsweetened dark-roast coffee – in beer form obviously. ( Almost like someone forgot to add sweetner to the coffee.)
The label states that organic chocolate malts and organic vanilla beans are infused in the brew (no trail-mix though), but I was hard-pressed to find any significant vanilla flavors coming through. Yeah, there was more of a chocolate ‘fusion’ going on than in the Kona Pipeline Porter and you can pick that up in the aroma as well as in the flavor.
Overall, its a smooth drinker, but definitely more bitter. I did find that the overall flavor improved dramatically when this beer is allowed to warm up a bit. Definately let this one sit outside of the fridge for 10 or 15 minutes and you’ll get the fullness of the flavors.
Standing on its own, I did enjoy the Wolaver’s Coffee Porter, and I think if you like coffee flavored brews you’ll like this too! It supports the farmers that grow the coffee in a fair way, and in addition, all of the ingredients in this beer are certified organic. That means that all the stuff that goes into the beer is grown free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and wacky genetic engineering. Kinda wholesome, no? I think its a great excuse if anyone complains about your beer hobby! “Hey, this beer is ORGANIC! I’m helping the Costa Rican farmers earn a living, and the shit is ORGANIC! ORGANIC!!!”
Seriously though, the beer is good and I’m glad I have more than one bottle of it to enjoy! While the flavors are different than the Kona version, (different coffee is used too) I think its a very good coffee porter that gets 3 stars (not quite as good as the Kona) but I’m giving the Wolaver’s Coffee Porter an additional 1/2 star for all of its crunchy goodness!
What do you think? I’m kind of getting into a coffee beer craving phase. Have you tried the Wolaver’s Coffee Porter? What’s something you’ve had that you’d recommend for me to try?