While the days are starting to get longer, the weather outside is still bleak. Snowfall after snowfall, it is breaking my spirit of adventure for time being. With that being said, my local watering holes have been filling in an important gap by bringing the good beer to me, rather than searching it out. One in particular started as just a ‘drop off’. One can to see if you would like to order more. It has come to a point at one of my stops that the owner does not drink and usually puts it aside so I can have it and let him know if he should order more. Welp, let’s just say this is one that he ordered several cases of.
James Bean Vanilla Oatmeal Porter, James River Brewery (Scottsville, VA)
Oatmeal Porter, 6.9% ABV, 10 IBU
Presentation: Can pour into pint glass. Not everything these days is barrel aged, has a double digit ABV, and requires a tulep. Most Porters find a perfectly good home in a standard pint. If you want to get fancy, British Pint.
Appearance: Black, no light escapes, dark brown head that sits high and laces heavy and sticky. Prepare for mustaches.
Aroma: Roasted malts of chocolate and coffee with strong vanilla overtones. Not overly sweet.
Taste: Unlike an Oatmeal Stout, this Oatmeal Porter is drier, but notes are more pronounced, accented, then muted. Imagine a mixing board of sound, where music definitively starts and stops. Vanilla start middle front and stops right before the end. Chocolate starts first and ends middle. Coffee accents from late middle to finish. The play is nice, and creates several different profiles throughout the taste.
ABV/IBU Mouthfeel: Oatmeal porters are dry, and this one is no different, like baker’s chocolate. Weight is medium to medium heavy for the style, but there is a slight smoothness to it. ABV is well balanced, and IBU is mostly unnoticed.
Overall: This is a state that is rich in dark oatmeal beer, so there is a lot to compare to. I think this one would easily stand up to the best in the state. Vanilla hits hard on nose and in the taste, so keep that in mind. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed. On tap now at the brewery, but I found it in cans in Hampton Roads, so keep your eyes out for both throughout The Commonwealth.