Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cisco - Moor Porter

Cheers everybody and thanks for reading!  Today's brew is another one from my anonymous East Coast friend.  Not that this person supplies all my brews by any means, but I'm finally digging into that stash and I am loving every minute of it.  I'm especially grateful to receive this brew since it's available almost exclusively on the East Coast (MA, CT, RI, VT, NH, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, D.C., SC, FL, & GA)!  Today's brew is the Moor Porter from Cisco Brewing in Nantucket, Mass.  No limericks please.   OK, maybe 1 or 2 about craft beer.  I'll allow that if you feel so inspired.  Poetry comes later, though... let's pour!

Aroma 10/12
The aroma on this gets better and better every time I sniff it.  It began with dark roasts that also implied a little smoke with them.  Lots of black malts involved here, friends.  A lesser cocoa is present as is the bittersweet calling card of molasses.  As this beer warms it becomes wonderfully rich and brings out a warming chocolate, a well-blended black licorice, and plenty of the molasses.  Complex and delicious, but stops short of being a powerhouse.  Very nice.  The chocolate and cocoa seem to grow stronger all the time!

Appearance 3/3
This pours like a porter should and looks like it means business.  The glass is all but completely opaque with black goodness and shows a chestnut brown toward the top if held to light.  The head is tan and not large, but it lasts an adequate amount of time and covers the surface of the beer.

Flavor 16/20
For how dark this beer is, it starts out quite lightly.  It's almost a clean beginning with a light general sweetness and then fades gradually into a darker, more flavorful backbone.  Full disclosure: even the backbone isn't that dark.  This doesn't make it bad, but it is a surprise considering the aroma and appearance.  Fading in from the initial flavors are the smoke from the aroma and a light char.  The licorice is in the background, but grows a bit as the beer is held in the mouth.  This beer does have an interesting light sour that punches through all the dark flavors the way a ray of light shines through clouds.  Surely, the beam of citrus is diminished in comparison to its surroundings, just as the light is by the clouds, however its presence is just as noticeable.  The chocolate shows its sweet side toward the end and when it mixes with the darkly roasted black malts, gives the illusion of a coffee-ish flavor.  The finish brings to light a flavor that was previously so well blended, it was nearly undetectable.  A round earthiness comes forward in the finish and when it does so, it makes it that much easier to find in other stages of the beer.  It also enjoys a brief wash of bitter, but settles back down with the flavors of the black malts.  Funny, even the lingering aftertaste has that same illusion of coffee thanks to the roasted/bitter combination.

Mouthfeel 4/5
This is not the worlds most robust porter, but that is exactly where its strength lies.  This porter is light bodied and easy drinkin'.  It is assisted by a higher than normal level of carbonation thanks to its bottle conditioning, and the aforementioned overarching light sour flavor.  When this beer is held in the mouth the carbonation dies rather quickly, transitioning it from a light refresher to a smooth porter.  The fact that the chocolate flavors show up about the same time as the smoothness is about as nice a touch as they come.

Overall Impression 8/10
There's lots of dark goodness in this brew, but not at the expense of becoming heavy or a burden to drink.  The aroma was phenomenal, but lead to a lighter taste than anticipated.  This is a highly drinkable, accessable beer that would lend itself extremely well to introducing those that feel they are ready to darker beer.  It's lighter but not at the expense of good flavor.

Total 41/50
Another "better-than-average" beer that has some really nice things going for it.  Very drinkable, wonderful and complex aroma, and an interesting mouthfeel.  However, the flavors seem to be fighting for space instead of complementing one another or flowing one into the next.  This is especially odd since all the right ingredients seem to be utilized.  As I mentioned earlier, this brew is not a stretch to consume on a hot summer day or one after another, even at 5.5% ABV.  However, I would be more prone to use this brew to convert people to the "dark side" of beer.  If they're ready, that is.  If they're not ready, then dark beers are still going to taste like crap to them no matter how light a version of the style it may be.  But those that are ready, need not resort to flavorless American Guiness Draught (I understand that foreign versions are better, I just have yet to verify this for myself) or kill themselves on some super delicious, thick, monstrosity of a stout.  This beer exists solely to introduce people to dark beers or to be a drinkable version of the style .  It's local.  It's tasty.  It's an introduction to darker beer.  Well, as long as you're in their distribution states.

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