Wednesday, April 6, 2011

468. Cigar City José Martí American Porter

I wish to leave the world
By its natural door;
In my tomb of green leaves
They are to carry me to die.
Do not put me in the dark
To die like a traitor;
I am good, and like a good thing
I will die with my face to the sun.
A Morir [To Die] (1894)

There is poetry on the label. No wait, I don't think you heard me. Poetry. On the label. And as José Martí informs us, “A grain of poetry suffices to season a century.” This is our first beer from Cigar City Brewing, which is located in Tampa, FL. And it was the beneficent gift of Jeff Fortney, who spent last week in Florida, and thus returned strapped with fancy beer. Jeff and Jeffrey came over and joined Elli and myself for an evening of beer sampling and discussion, along with some homemade bread Jeff brought as well. We also got to try the White Oak Aged Jai Alai IPA, which has a fantastic oak and vanilla nose balanced by a caramel malt body. Which is to say that it was delicious. But we’re here for José.

Named after my favorite Cuban revolutionary (and yes, I am serious—sorry Che), José Martí American Porter pours a deep rich chocolate brown with a lush tan head. Initial aromas include roasty coffee sweetness; as the beer warms, slight chocolate and brown malt scents emerge. Flavors start with roasted sweetness mixed with chocolate; the mix is rather delicate, and while the roasted character is very upfront and direct, the beer has the mouthfeel to carry and balance the big roasted character. The middle dries out slightly, which allows the dry bitterness to come to the forefront even though there are still plenty of chocolate and coffee flavors to round and carry the beer. The finish has a touch of chalky dryness followed by a lingering roastiness that ends rather clean. José Martí has a rich, rounded mouthfeel that combines creaminess and roastiness. While the roasty components do seem a bit out of character for a porter—even an American porter—the bitterness and body helps to balance the beer, making it very drinkable. And, regardless of style, it is damn good drinking, Chalk me up for more of this beer—it is a Top 10 Best for the year all the way. Mix in the poetry on the label and the picture, and this beer has the total package.

From Rate Beer: “An aggressively hopped robust porter named for the Cuban national hero who also spent a significant amount of time in Tampa and gained prominence in Latin American literature from the poetry, essays, and publications he contributed to in his lifetime.”

ABV: 8.0%


No comments:

Post a Comment