Though many want to deny it, winter has arrived. It’s trying times like these when I turn to a comforting glass of liquid barley.
Much like food, beer styles can pair better with the seasons. Rich, malty beers can do an excellent job of keeping you warm in those all-so-special snow storms with hurricane-caliber winds. Lethbridge is great in the winter, ain’t it?
Lucky for us, Lethbians do not have to travel far to find a beer that will give you the big spoon needed to tolerate the cold.
Enter Coalbanks Porter by Coulee Brew Co.
This beer is dark. Very dark. The eerily black concoction seems to suck in all the light it meets. Atop this black beauty is a dense, mocha-coloured head that the beer wears proudly.
Aromatics are everything you would expect of a porter. It’s roasty, with plenty of coffee and dark chocolate notes floating around in there too. A pleasant fruitiness reveals itself as the glass begins to warm up.
Drinking this beer is a real treat. It’s hearty, full-bodied, and smooth. It has a bitterness similar to that of dark chocolate — slightly drying, almost astringent, but not overwhelming. The roastiness tends to linger well after you’ve finished, much like a cup of black coffee.
For me, winter is all about the big, comforting food and drinks. One of the wonders of cold weather is being able to hide the winter weight; you can eat a poutine and cover it up with a hoodie.
But I digress.
Porter can pair with the best hearty foods out there: braised beef, BBQ dishes, you name it. Chocolate desserts add a whole other dimension to the beer, uncovering sweet, malt flavours not apparent before.
In the escapades of tasting porter after porter, I had a sudden desire to make brownies. I threw a shot of espresso into the frosting as a little pick-me-up, and an ideal pairing was born. The rich, sweet, chocolate flavours and sharp kick of espresso enhance the already-prominent cocoa flavours of the porter. It turns the porter sweet and the brownie savoury.
Other pairings include flannel blankets, fireplaces, snow days, and those times when you need to get to work but your car conveniently wont start.
It’s cold out. Drink porter.