Friday, 26 December 2014

Ballast Point: Victory at Sea (Coffee and Vanilla Porter)

Bought from Cellarbrations at Carlisle (Perth)

Yet another Victory for San Diego's best
Ballast Point's Victory at Sea coffee and vanilla porter is yet another prime example as to how this SoCal brewing stalwart has risen to the top of fierce regional competition. While its rivals focus on daringly hop forward IPAs, Ballast Point have instead showed the world that the representation of Californian beers does not need to begin and end with huge hop flavour profiles. Not only is the Californian beer flag flying high here but also SoCal coffee from Caffe Calabria, who collaborated with Ballast Point in creating this exceptional porter.

Victory at Sea pours a dense black with a tanned, at first firm head that dissipates to fine lacing. On the nose, this coffee and vanilla-infused imperial porter bounds forth with promising aromas of intensely sweet coffee, vanilla extract and dried dark fruits and berries. Indeed, there is a sharp quality to Victory's aroma.

The addition of fresh, cold brewed coffee from Caffe Calabria makes its presence known right up front. Riding a sweet malt backbone is a torrent of lusciously dry coffee and the sort of roasty and earthy character that suggests the telling of stories by the campfire (preferably while visiting the mountains outside San Diego - which I hope to do one day). Vanilla undertones do their level best to shine in however are ultimately overwhelmed; perhaps this is why the next victory at Sea incarnation sees its omission. The well rounded finish is characterised by roasty coffee and hop bitterness. Victory at Sea's mouthfeel is perfectly complementary to the overlying flavours in that it is relatively smooth once the medium carbonation has settled upon the tongue.

Victory at Sea is among the most intense porters I have ever enjoyed. It is an absolute must for anyone searching for something that better represents the truly broad scope of Californian brewing.

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