Brewery: Epic (Auckland, New Zealand) & Dogfish Head (Delaware, USA)
Style: Tamarillo Smoked Porter
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