The weather seems to have us frantically jumping back and forth between late summer and mid-to-late fall lately, so a little alcohol is just what the doctor ordered to soothe my sore throat from the dry air and dramatic temperature changes. (What, your doctor doesn’t prescribe beer? Maybe you need a new doctor. Just saying.)
Journey for Fall
I really had a hard time choosing a beer this week, what with all the current offerings of barrel-aged this and pumpkin-spiced that. I do appreciate a hearty, high-alcohol, high-flavor fall beer. But the beer I settled on in my mind was the wonderful brown from Martin City Brewing called Fallback. The can art showcases leaves falling from a tree in all shades of oranges and yellows and browns, and the beer is a perfect reflection of that. Perfectly balanced, nutty, toasty, just slightly sweet, with a crisp, clean finish. If you could drink the aroma of the forest floor in the autumn, this would be it. Alas, the beer store by my house had no Fallback. I drank my last can a few weeks ago. As with everything else, I guess the fall beer comes out mid-summer and is all gone by the time the season gets into full swing.
Not to worry, though. My mission to find Fallback ended with me carrying $45 of consolation beers back home.a I picked up a bomber of 4 Hands’ Absence of Light, which I’d had on tap at the brewery in St Louis last weekend and loved– milk chocolate and peanut butter?? With alcohol??!! Yes, please!! I also got Elysian’s Punkuccino, which I haven’t tried yet, but who’s sister, “Night Owl” I also had on tap in STL. It was a pretty good pumpkin beer, IMHO. I picked up a Boulevard Rye-on-Rye-on-Rye for Beer Scout jimmywags, too. And as an impulse buy on my way out of the store, I grabbed a $13 four-pack (ridiculously expensive for 12-oz cans!) of Oskar Blues Death by Coconut, which I’ve never had. I picked the “coconut Irish porter” for my review (yes, I’m finally getting to the actual beer I’m reviewing!), simply because I didn’t feel like opening up a large format bottle.
Let me start my review by saying that the combination of “Irish” and “coconut” sounds like an oxymoron to me. I’m not sure how Irish your porter can be with tropical fruit added in. But trying not to hold that against it, I dove in.
Death by Coconut
Death by Coconut pours very dark brown – almost black – and is opaque. I held it up to the closest lamp and couldn’t even see a hint of the outline of my hand behind the small taster glass. It formed a medium head, which dissipated over the few minutes I tried to get the perfect picture of the beer in the glass, and ended with a ring of foam around the edge of the glass with some lingering lace in the middle.
The beer smelled like a chocolate bar – sweet and toasty, with a hint of coconut. Often, coconut beers smell like you just poured a bottle of sunscreen into a glass, and that was not the case with this beer. The aroma was more like an Almond Joy you haven’t bitten into yet. You know the coconut is just below the surface and it calls you to take a bite (or drink, as it were).
Death by Coconut has a pleasant mouth feel – not too thick, not too thin – with just the right amount of carbonation. The beer has a moderate alcohol content with almost no alcohol flavor or warmth. The base could pass as an American Brown or maybe as a thinner milk stout. It has a nice roasty-toasty flavor without being bitter. The sweetness comes across as chocolaty rather than overly malty and the roasty flavors balance it nicely. And while the coconut aroma isn’t overpowering, the flavor the coconut is immediately recognizable and hangs with you from beginning to end. I described it to jimmywags as “drinking a Caramel Delight” (or a Samoa, depending on where you buy your Girl Scout cookies). I could see it being a little too much for a beer purist, but I though the flavors worked well together, even if they were a little intense.
I’m looking forward to having another one of these beers in the next week or two as a dessert, but I wouldn’t drink more than one at a time, especially for the price. Still, though, I remain a big fan of Oskar Blues with this latest offering, and I’m grateful we can get it without having to drive to Colorado these days!