Drinking on a Monday is a short column where I share that one bottle that I open after the most dreadful of all weekdays.
There’s a lot of beers I would love to feature in this column but simply can’t. As a site that is mostly focused around cask ale, I purposely created this specific monday feature as a way to focus on things that don’t come in a firkin; things that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Its a column about commercially released bottles, and that means that some beers have to be left out. One brewery that I wish I could feature more prominently is Smog City Brewing out of Torrance. I generally describe Smog City as the best overall portfolio in the Los Angeles area. Sure, other breweries might be excelling at saisons, or killing it with IPA’s but Smog City, across the board, doesn’t have a misstep. They are making world class versions of just about every style out there. But most of all what sticks out about Smog City is their dark beers and at the center of that lineup is the recently renamed Groundwork Coffee Porter (now just Coffee Porter). With the brewery finally releasing bottles of this incredible beer, I’m very proud to be able to feature it and the brewery on this column for the first time.
Coffee porter is a very dark brown color – almost black, but around the edges light sneaks through and shows off that chocolate-y brown hue. This beer is really all about the coffee, and everything about the aroma screams a cup of joe. That scent is supported by a sweetness that comes through as vanilla (or maybe, if this were a stout I would think there’s lactose here). The head is fairly thin and a great tan color, but doesn’t hold up for long. Everything about the flavor is there to support the coffee. It starts smooth and builds with rich chocolatey notes, beautiful roasty malts and velvety espresso with hints of nuttiness. The finish is quite smooth – the flavors linger just long enough. The body on this stands out particularly well. Its got a good strong body but not overly heavy – exactly like a good porter should be. A few years back I found a lot of porters I was buying were drifting into the world of stouts, but Smog City doesn’t fall victim to that. Its a porter through and through, and a great one at that. If someone replaced my morning coffee with this, I wouldn’t be complaining.
Smog City Coffee Porter is a beer that I’ve given to plenty of people, some who don’t even really like beer (not to mention DARK beer) and without fail the look on their faces shifts from curiosity to total contentment after tasting it. If you like coffee you’ll like this beer, and if you like porters you will LOVE this beer. (Update: Just learned that the first shipment of Coffee Porter bottles are going out for distro today, so expect to see them in your favorite bottle shops soon!)
Bonus – if you head over to the taproom you might be able to grab a taste of the Chipshot Coffee Porter, which is this beer with and addition of orange zest, cinnamon and vanilla bean. It takes something fantastic and turns it into something one-of-a-kind.
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