Garr's Red Vanilla Porter

Garr's and I haven't really had the greatest start to our relationship. I really wanted to like them as a brewer, but I must have not picked the right beer to start with. This would be a porter, and everybody who reads my blog (hi mom!) knows my affinity for porters. This beer wasn't actually brewed by them, though. Instead, it was brewed by Straight To Ale, a brewer I am definitely familiar with, and quite a fan of. Actually, has Garr's made a beer without the help of Straight To Ale? Ah well, let's leap before we look.

The ruby dark beer has some fairly big bubbles to start off with, but when the head settles, the bubbles that are left are tiny indeed. There is no lacing left on the sides of the glass, but I expect that more from a hoppy ale then a porter (yes, I know that a porter is a kind of ale). The aroma is dark fruits and earth, but I can definitely smell the vanilla coming through. The should be fun.

First sip is surprisingly tame. The beverage is plenty malty, and it's a good earth malt with some coffee flavoring coming through as well. I'm not normally a fan of coffee, but I've learned to entertain the idea that coffee might be what someone would look for in a beer. So, in deference to the people who do like coffee, I point out that this simple syrup might be something that you would enjoy quite a bit. That's not to say this is like a breakfast stout or something, but it definitely has some coffee going on.

Tip-in is a kind of molasses with grains behind it and carbonation tingle just beyond the horizon. The middle is heavy with grains and earth, some low dark fruits, and seared brown sugar. The finish is a sweet upturn with highlights of the vanilla that I picked up in the aroma. There is a whole lot of vanilla going on in the whole beverage, but there's just enough to give this beer a little something extra.

Bottom Line: Garr's has put out a perfectly serviceable porter. I'll likely have another.



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