The Specs: Tofino Brewing Co.’s Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter
6.5 per cent ABV, 650 mL, Winter seasonal
Yup, To-fine-o Brewing again. I can’t help it, guys. I’m a sucker for porters. Also, I was too lazy to make coffee on the morning of the day I tested this and by 5:30 p.m. was hurting for a cup of the black stuff in the worst way.
Lucky for me, Dawn Patrol delivers. This isn’t some run-of-the-mill ‘notes of chocolate and coffee’ beer. This is coffee as beer. My poor, under-caffeinated soul could not have asked for a purer fusion of the two.
First, it nails the scent. Imagine taking a whiff off a good bag of corse-ground beans, about a medium roast. There’s a bit of a beery background as well, but it’s predominantly coffee on the nose.
If you’ve ever had a really good cup of cold-brewed iced coffee, you’ll recognize a lot of the notes in this beer — which plays a bit like a sharp, fruity espresso, but with the rounder, mellower tones that come from a long, cold steep. Even the bitterness here is characteristic of coffee rather than beer.
If I didn’t know it’d actually be vile, I might assume this was cold brew with beer in it, rather than beer brewed with coffee. I think the darn thing even fixed my caffeine-withdrawal headache.
That’s not to say there’s nothing beery here. You’ve got a light carbonation, and a little bit of maltiness you’d be hard pressed to get from anything on offer at your average Starbucks. There are some background tones of vanilla as well, though they’re easy to miss in all the coffeecoffeecoffee excitement.
It should go without saying that this is not a beer for you if you don’t like coffee, but I’ll say it anyway. Don’t drink coffee? Don’t drink this… leave more of it for me.