Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Port Brewing Board Meeting Brown Ale review

Port Brewing Board Meeting Brown AleA bottle of beer from Port Brewing Company or The Lost Abbey from California usually means one thing - you're going to get a lot of flavor in a 22oz bottle. When I spotted this bottle of Port Brewing Board Meeting Brown Ale I hesitated at first as brown ales can be rather boring. But when I saw this beer was made with coffee and cocoa nibs, that changed my mind and I bought it.

This beer is a hefty 8.5% ABV so I could almost classify this as an Imperial Brown Ale. The beer rating sites also put this as an American Strong Ale. Either way, it was a big beer with some added flavors and it sounded good, even if it was a 97 degree day. I was in my cold 67 degree basement so that didn't bother me a bit.

Port Brewing bills this beer as one of their year-round beers and boasts that this beer was brewed for early risers who love to catch morning waves on the Pacific coast. Heck, I'm high and dry here in Colorado, so hitting the waves was out of the question, but I'm not one to argue with when is the best time of day to drink this beer. I chose after dinner and went to work on this review.

Appearance: Board Meeting Brown Ale poured a very dark, dark brown with dark mahogany edges along the extreme edges. The beer quickly built up a tall 2-3 finger light brown head and that head lingered for the longest time. When the foam receded, it left a wonderful sticky lacing along the sides of the glass and kept a small top coating of brown foam throughout the sampling. The beer was too dark to see through. The bottle opened with a noticeable "hiss" and seemed to have a modest carbonation.

Aroma: Once the cap popped, immediately I could smell the coffee and cocoa nibs in this beer. I could also pick up on a roasty malt base and the Magnum and Challenger hops gave off a spicy / earthy tone as well. This beer also had a sense of nuttiness to it, not quite like hazelnut, not exactly like almond, but a nut just the same. Leaving this beer standing for a while gave off most of the coffee and cocoa aromas, but then swirled I got a lot more of the spicy hop scent. The beer was quite pleasant to smell.

Port Brewing Board Meeting close-upTaste: Board Meeting certainly had a big bold flavor. It was rich in dark malts without being very roasty nor sweet. Granted, there was some sweetness to the malts, but the coffee and cocoa flavors grabbed the taste buds initially. The texture was nearly creamy, with a slight bitter finish at the end. The beer was slightly drying and had a bit of an alcohol hit to it. I also tasted a hint of citrus on the back end as well for a nice mix.

This beer had a medium body, nearly a chewy kind of beer. This beer tried to remind me of an imperial stout, but falls short on the roastiness scale and instead gave a more sweeter dark malt base without going too far on the sweet. This definitely has a "morning coffee" feel but with a punch. I wouldn't drink a big glass of this at breakfast, but man, a small 4oz cup of this before work wouldn't hurt.

Overall: It was easy to get to enjoy this beer. As the beer warmed up later in the session, more of the sweeter malts and cocoa flavors came out. The coffee bitterness is toned down and I'm glad Port Brewing decided not to put a lot of coffee into this beer. This is the kind of beer I would like to keep an extra bottle of in my beer cellar. And at 8.5% ABV, it's right on the edge of being cellar-worthy. Although, time may ruin the coffee tones and would kill the nice spicy hop character.

Call me a fan. Port Brewing / The Lost Abbey seems to put out quality brews every time I've tried them. Glad they ship here to Colorado. They give many breweries a run for the shelf space around here.

Disclosure: I paid full retail price for this beer at my local liquor store.

Related articles:
- Port Brewing Old Viscosity Ale review. (2008)
- The Lost Abbey Judgment Day review. (2009)
- The Lost Abbey Saint's Devotion Ale review. (2013)

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