Cantabrian (674) - Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND - OCT 18, 2013
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle, from Fresh Choice Merivale. I know there are no mussels in that bottle. They could have it, surely, given their location at the northern tip of the Mainland, but fine, this is make-believe Mussel Porter, I guess just like Grebbestad Ostronporter or Marstons Oyster Stout. But just for taking this lovely, heavenly/watery creature on the name, the beer already deserves my admiration and sympathy. But do I really like it? This porter has a muddy, watery appearance – that would be more for Paphies sp, as opposed to Perna canalicula? – no, bivalve talk makes no sense here. So it does look like dirty water, not unlike certain brownish Hanseatic Porters that bear an abusive amount of added caramel and molasses. The aroma does have some caramel, but I got more of a hoppy fruitiness, that grapefruit and passion fruit mix, which was quite surprising for a porter. The flavour was not muddy, neither sweet nor cloying, as I’d expect from the appearance, but with a herbal and hoppy cover over the caramel malty base. Green tea, lemon grass, grapefruit and toffee. Not too much as in those oxymoronic Black IPAs, but quite on the right measure. Indeed, as Jimthechap well defines, in the end it has that medicinal taste, a miracle elixir which takes the mussel on the label. If they wanted to spice the brew with plenty of salty brine, and toheroas and tuatuas, the beer would need a denser body and a better balance with some chocolate flavours, which are missing here. Still, I like the elixir outcome. It was a lovely lunch beer for the sunny weekend, with sautéed scallops and an oyster pie. Made in Onekaka – which does sound like “No Shit” in German.
Travlr (9833) - Washington, Washington DC, USA - AUG 11, 2013
3.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Draft at Dodson Street. Clear amber color, strange for a porter, tan head, solid lacing. Aroma of hoppy caramel. Taste is roasty caramel. Odd. Not unpleasant, just odd.
Jimthechap (1324) - Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND - JUN 8, 2013
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Who says a porter can’t be hoppy, or black...
This beer is surprisingly russet in colour with a little bit of haze and a greyish head. The aroma is of manuka and amber malt with some zesty hoppiness that I may have been hoodwinked into smelling. The flavour is the same with good spritzy mouthfeel with a strong nod to the manuka and medicinal bitterness. Porter? Probably not, maybe a medicinal brown ale but for that, a tasty quaffer.