And now for something completely different

In the chocolate vs. vanilla wars, I'm siding with Seaport.

In the chocolate vs. vanilla wars, I’m siding with Seaport.

I know you’re all wondering about the Pumpkindrome, but my expert panel (well, “expert”) has yet to convene. So, in the meantime, here’s something else I’ve been enjoying when I get sick of squash.

The Specs: Lighthouse Brewing Co. (Victoria, B.C.) Seaport Vanilla Stout
5.5 per cent ABV, 650mL, limited release


Actually, speaking of sick, this is a beer I was fully expecting to be irritated with by the end of my first pint.

If no one had told me what the special ingredient in Lighthouse’s special edition stout was, I feel fairly confident I’d have figured it out on my own. With a strong whiff of pure vanilla on the nose (think extract, not candy) and an equally strong vanilla finish, it’s hard to miss.

But my first impression of Seaport was less “pure Madagascar vanilla beans” and more chocolate bar. With its notes of coffee and mild chocolate combining with the vanilla finish, Seaport tastes like nothing so much as a Crispy Crunch-Coffee Crisp hybrid. (Americans, I believe you call such items ‘candy bars’ and do not experience the joys of Coffee Crisp. For this I can offer only my apologies.)

Given these are among my favourite chocolate choices, I was predisposed to enjoy this beer, but I figured after about half a glass I’d start to get irritated. As I’ve mentioned in past, really sweet beer is decidedly not my thing.

But, here’s what I noticed on further sipping — Seaport isn’t a particularly sweet beer. The vanilla is deceptive, offering the illusion of sugar where there is none and acting in the same way citrus notes do in other varieties of beer. With vanilla to cut the usual heaviness of stout, this beer doesn’t get heavy and stays light on the tongue.

When I reached the end of the glass, it was disappointment I felt, not relief. Lighthouse has done something a little different and decidedly tasty here.