On the food desk, we've been busy planning the newest edition of our annual dining guide,
7Nights, as well as plotting events for a smashing Vermont Restaurant Week. Hence, this late-week edition of the Midweek Swig — I finally got to the "swig" last night.
This week: the Shed Brewery Nosedive, a "robust vanilla porter" (according to the brewery)
Cost: $4.99 for a 22-ounce bottle at Richmond Market & Beverage
Strength: 6.75 percent abv.
The pour: a rich, opaque, cocoa brown with a thumb-width, creamy head that evaporates to a thin lace. It smells like dark-chocolate mocha with a fistful of coffee grounds thrown in, and it appears almost syrupy.
The taste: Though there's barely any bitterness, this tastes bright for a porter — an electric porter? The espresso and cacao flavors are spiked with a noticeable vein of vanilla that somehow doesn't feel integrated, as if it's floating on top. The beer has a subtle cola-like quality, both in texture and taste, as if it were a blend of Coke, Guinness and Rookie's Root Beer, sans sugar.
Drink it with: a snowy night, a chocolate ganache tart, or both.
Backstory: The Shed Brewery (which is housed at Middlebury's Otter Creek Brewing
) announced this porter last month as a limited, Vermont-only release. It gains some of its flavor from aging with Madagascar vanilla beans. The folks at Richmond Beverage had only received it a day or so earlier.
Verdict: I wouldn't necessarily call this "robust" — rather, it's sprightly, as if a porter was ambling down the street in bright-yellow rain boots. Still, it's also toasty, malty and don't-think-too-hard-about-it delicious.
Midweek Swig tackles a new liquid release (almost) each week. If you have suggestions for something to sample, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.