ChadPolenz (1631) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 16, 2011
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
The Cooperstown Brewing Company is a very small operation located just south of the Baseball Hall of Fame in upstate New York. Not surprisingly, this brewery has a baseball theme to all of its beers. I decided to start with the possibly ironically-named Benchwarmer Porter. In sports terms, a benchwarmer is a lousy player but in the case of this beer it’s actually a solid performer. If this is the benchwarmer, the rest of the team must be outstanding!
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
I poured a 12oz bottle into an Irish tulip pint glass. It flowed out of the bottle like water and produced next to no head. What developed was a coating of tan, soapy suds - although I was able to generate a thicker head with a forceful swirl of the glass. The color was typical for a porter: nearly opaque black but with dark ruby red highlights around the edges.
The aroma was standard for a porter: malty with a touch of dark fruit and yeast. Fairly sweet and no alcohol notes.
The brewer’s describe this beer as being brewed in the tradition of English porters and I could tell this was the case upon the first sip. Much like its brethren from across the pond, Benchwarmer Porter is noticeably mild and surprisingly light body as soon as it hits the palate. There’s a dark fruit flavor and a slightly yeasty texture followed by a strong milk chocolate and coffee aftertaste.
This beer reminded me of Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter throughout the first half of my glass. As I continued to drink on I found the chocolate and coffee flavors seemed to weaken out but the fruits and malts from the front became more prominent. Eventually it all became a mélange of flavors typically found in British pub beers. I’d prefer something more robust, but the palate here was quite pleasing even if it was mild.
British pub ales are known for their high drinkability and much like the taste, Benchwarmer Porter also follows the formula with its extreme smoothness. The mouthfeel is light, thin, and almost doesn’t seem carbonated as it goes down like water. The sweet aftertaste is really pleasant, although it becomes quite dry as the beer warms.
For a beer with a potency of 6.3% ABV, this drinks like a much lighter brew. Between the tepid body and mild palate it’s quite impressive how well the alcohol is hidden both in the palate and on your system. This beer would pair well with a red meat dinner or substitute two bottles for dessert.
It takes a lot for a porter to wow me but Cooperstown Brewing’s Benchwarmer came awfully close. I liked the taste for what it was but couldn’t help wanting more all around. Still, it’s so drinkable it’s the kind of beer I could see myself buying more often.
maniac (3800) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - JUL 12, 2011
3.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle on 01/15/2011 at the 13th Richmond Gathering. Clear copper body with a small tan head. Sweet caramel and toasty malt aroma. Big roast and chocolate flavor with some toasty malt. Medium body with moderate carbonation.
beerbill (3601) - Laurel, New York, USA - JUN 23, 2011
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
12 oz. bottle sampled at the brewery. Pours just about black with a light brown head. Pleasant aroma of roasted malt with a few notes of coffee and chocolate. The flavor is likewise roasted malt with just a bit of coffee and chocolate. Medium bodied. Very nice, solid porter.
jmulv (336) - New York, New York, USA - MAY 16, 2011
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Had at Tap NY. Benchwarmer? It’s better than that, maybe a fourth starter or a utility infielder that plays a few times a week. Taste is pretty smoky with the malts shining through. It’s not a very powerful beer, but the taste is solid and it goes down easy.
deyholla (9826) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - MAY 6, 2011
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle. Pours near black with a brown head that starts at the edges dissipates completely. Aroma is a combination of roasted malts, dark grains and a bit of a dry coffee note. Flavor begins with roasted malts and finishes with a dry coffee note but is a bit thin. Not bad, just middle of the road.
probstblueribbon (3654) - Nepean, Ontario, CANADA - APR 17, 2011
1.9 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 3/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 6/20
12 fl oz bottle from BOTW (Rochester), served at cellar temperature in a tulip glass. 15AL11.
App.: Deep brown-black with a decent grey-tan head.
Aroma: Quite bright and fruity, old apple juice, not good.
Palate: Medium body, moderate effervescence, a touch astringent.
Flav.: Earthy cardboard, old apple juice, some restrained dark malts, not good; dry with some bitterness and a kinda watery, vegetal, vague finish.
Not good. Drain pour.
bhensonb (13742) - Woodland, California, USA - MAR 15, 2011
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle from Half Time. Pours very dark brown with a creamy/foamy beige/tan head. Aromas of chocotate and burnt malt. Med body. Flavor is quite bitter. That might be burnt malt, hop or coffee. Whichever it’s dry and bitter in the finish.Chocolate notes persist throughout.
BeerandBlues2 (11860) - Escondido, California, USA - JAN 17, 2011
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle at 13th Richmond Gathering, courtesy of MaltDawg. Pours clear dark brown with an average to large beige head, long retention with excellent lacing. Aroma is heavy malt (bread, cookie, chocolate, roasted, nutty), light hops (woody), and average esters (fruity) with notes of dates and leather. Flavor is heavy malt (bread, cookie, chocolate, roasted), light hops (earthy, woody), and average esters (fruity) with notes of smoke, prunes, and dates. Medium body, warmth, and carbonation, and low creaminess with a dry and biting finish.
MaltDawg (1344) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - JAN 15, 2011
2.9 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
(Sample Date: 1/15/2011 Source:Other) Light graininess and chocolate malts. Clear dark amber brown with small white head. Earthy oxidized notes. Bottle may be a bit dated. Dry finish with some roast and moderate bitterness.
Drake (11500) - Free Union, Virginia, USA - JAN 15, 2011
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
12 ounce bottle courtesy of MaltDawg at the 13th Richmond Gathering. Thanks! Pours a clear dark reddish brown. Large brown head. Decent head retention and lacing. Aroma of roasted malts, chocolate, smoke, a bit of a tart note. The taste is roasted malts, a milky note, tart fruity finish. Medium bodied. Decent. Maybe a bit past its prime.