Since September of 2008 the Stone Brewery has been brewing collaboration beers with the help of two additional brewers. Each edition is branded in the same way, but enjoys a wide range of styles, ingredients and breweries. Together Stone and some amazing brewers have created a Belgian Triple, a Holiday Ale, a Black Pilsner, and most recently a Saison with herbs.
In September 2009 though, Stone teamed with Maui Brewing and revered homebrewer Ken Schmidt to create a Kona Coffee, Macadamia nut, Coconut Porter. Wow, a lot going on in there. Kona Coffee is a gourmet brand of coffee beans grown in Hawaii, and plays a dominant role in this collaboration beer. I was excited too to see how Macadamia Nuts and Coconut would effect the overall flavor of a porter.
What I love most about this beer is just the idea. Three craft breweries all getting together to do what they love to do; brew amazing and exciting beer! Great idea guys!
This Collaboration Porter came in a 355ml bottle at 8.5% abv with gold branding displaying the three breweries and the three primary flavoring ingredients. Unfortunately these collaborations are all just a single run production, so get them when you see them.
I opened this bottle cool around 8C (45F) as I normally would with a rich porter. The pour was pretty usual; not to lively but not very creamy either. It built with a gentle rumbling showing signs of carbonation lifting a short half inch airy light brown mocha colored head. The beer was near pitch black with hints of brown brick and heavy red ambers or garnet gleaming through when held into the light. It did not appear to be very dense or rich though, just very dark, and by now, with only a lacing of head remaining.
The nose though showed much richness. Initially deep roasted coffee poured out to me in a remarkably fresh and clean manner. Light espresso beans with notes of sweetness and dry earth were evident everywhere in the nose, but also a smooth backbone of nutty and creamy malt shines through. Hints of dry dark chocolate and roasted coconut are hidden in the back, but warm up to you as the beer does.
This beer really felt nice is my snifter, but I was ready to empty it. Similar to the nose, the first things that comes in is smooth dry roasted coffee pouring lightly over your tongue and filing your cheeks. It was more delicate than most coffee flavors in beer; it sort of washed over you without settling deep into your taste buds. It was refreshing actually, and superbly clean.
Dark chocolate and roasted malts come in soon after to add some depth and body and also smooth rich flavors. In the back hides the soft aromatic flavors of toasted coconut and smooth nuts. It is very subtle and delicate, and is very close to being completely washed out by the roast of the coffee. If it weren’t for the coffee’s supremely clean and fresh nature you would not taste anything else.
Light wisps of smoke make their way in the back, as does light caramel and a crisp hop bitterness. The overall body was light and tender; not the smooth and rich creamy porter that I had expected. Relatively significant carbonation kept this beer light on its feet, but I think I would have benefited from smoother and softer touches adding to the richness of these flavors.
Overall is was a pleasure to drink and an exciting experience to taste these three flavors in conjunction with each other. I do think however that coconut and macadamia nuts may shine better on their own without the dominating presence of coffee. But if you enjoy coffee, this beer will treat you right!