#45 Epic/Dogfish Head – Portamarillo

Epic and Dogfish PortamarilloName: Portamarillo
Brewery: Epic (Auckland, New Zealand) & Dogfish Head (Delaware, USA)
Style: Tamarillo Smoked Porter
ABV: 7%

Look who finally got a Portamarillo! This is the beer that I wasted most of my lunch break last Friday trying to find before eventually settling for a Moa Methode. Thankfully the boys from Epic answered my distress call and kindly donated me this bottle.

I was really excited about trying this beer – and not just because it played hard to get. It’s the lovechild of two really exciting breweries – Epic and Dogfish Head in the U.S.A – and it’s got a cool Spanish-sounding name. It’s not Spanish though (I wish it was, I need to learn Spanish before I go to Mexico in December and all I can say so far is “My donkey is dead”*), but is an appreviation of tamarillo-porter. It’s basically a Kiwi Summer in a glass –  brewed using tamarillos that were smoked over pohutukawa chips.

Although I think of porters to be a Wintery thing, there are a few summery elements to the aroma. One is Christmas – dark chocolate and caramel, and the other is the subtle whiff of campfire smoke – bits of bleached driftwood crackling in the flames, maybe a hunk of meat sizzling on a grill…

The smoke gets stronger on the tongue –  not OTT but definitely there – and is of the peaty/campfire variety. There’s also roasted coffee beans, cocoa, a slight hint of sourness (the tamarillo?), and a bitter, dry finish. It’s actually this dry finish that made me think of the tamarillos the most. I  used to have them in my lunch a lot as a kid and I’d always bite into the skin which contained lots of tannin. The difference is that that was gross and this is good.

The mouthfeel was just right – neither thick nor watery, just velvety smooth and refreshing.

Overall I really liked this porter, and my sister who I shared it with did too. I’m a sucker for any kind of smoky beer, but I particularly like how this one delivered a lot of flavour without being too overbearing. Another cool thing is that I got through the whole post without using the word “hoppy” – which just goes to show that Epic are capable of showing restraint in this department. I hope they make some more experimental brews like this, and I hope there’s more of it around next time!

*  Il mio asino è guasto

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Published in: on September 23, 2011 at 11:08 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. what more Spanish could you need? I think that needs to be the name of a band!


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