Vancouver Island Brewing – Nanaimo Bar Porter

Overview

Vancouver Island Brewing – Nanaimo Bar Porter Review

From the Winter 2019 edition of the What’s Brewing Tasting Panel

This round in What’s Brewing magazine, the Tasting Panel took a look at a six-pack of BC porters. In this review, we key in on one that was a bit different from the rest: Vancouver Island Brewing’s Nanaimo Bar Porter. 

The beer pours darkest brown, with a substantial retentive head. There’s a subtle aroma of ice cream bar, with chocolate, toffee, marshmallow and coffee notes.The flavour is of coffee, chocolate, ice cream and hazelnut. It’s sweet but not overly so; critically, it’s not cloying. You can actually drink this.

It hides its alcohol well, seeming quite sessionable for an 8.2% ABV elixir.Along with the regular components of beer, the brew is made with oats, vanilla, cocoa, coconut and maltodextrin. The result is like drinking a chocolate mousse.

On the palate, it has a substantial, silky body, which gives it that mouthfeel that many Porter and Stout drinkers crave.

Coming back to the What’s Brewing feature: the Panel didn’t score Nanaimo Bar very highly, with a few noting that they didn’t actually detect the Nanaimo bar flavour. For us, the key was the aroma, where marshmallow and ice cream bar came through, albeit in subtle fashion. More importantly, it wasn’t overbearing, which is the main fear any potential drinker might have. When you see the name, you expect a sweet candy beer. Many have been brewed in BC that were off-puttingly sweet, even undrinkable, or at least not worthy of a second helping. We found that Nanaimo Bar Porter was one of the rare brews in this vein for which we would readily go back for more.

  • (4)
    Appearance
  • (4.5)
    Aroma
  • (4.5)
    Palate
  • (4)
    Flavour
  • (3.75)
    Overall Enjoyment
4.2

About This Beverage

  • Colour: Darkest Brown
  • Head Size & Retention: Above average head/retention
  • Carbonation: Full Bodied
  • Clarity: Clear
  • Balance: More Malty
  • Drinkability: Easy Drinking
  • Enjoyment: I would definitely seek this beer out again
  • Malt Characteristics: Caramel, Rich/Sweet, Toasty/Roasty
  • Other Flavours/Aroma: Oats, Vanilla, Maltodextrin, Cocoa, Coconut
  • Palate: Full Bodied, Creamy, Soft or Silky

Summary

When you see the name, you expect a sweet candy beer. We found that Nanaimo Bar Porter was one of the rare brews in this vein for which we would readily go back for more.

Pros

  • Sweet but not overly so; not cloying
  • Like drinking a chocolate mousse

Cons

  • Will still be too sweet or non-traditional for some
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