Beer Name: José Martí American Porter
Today I left work at 3:30, went to the beach, watched the most spectacular sunset on the waters of the Bay, ate dinner at La Teresita’s, and then came home to have this beer.
I have had several José Martí porters, and each time I drink one, I remember my past life as a Cuban revolutionary and fall in love with everyone in my life all over again.
I’ve been wanting to review this beer for awhile now, but I get so overly emotional when I drink it that I was scared I’d come off sounding a bit loopy when I wrote the review. So I apologize in advance for my bleeding-heart rambles.
This beer smells wonderfully of roasted malt and dark chocolate when you first pop off the cap. A scent of raisin comes through underneath all of that, and if you close your eyes and remember childhood, then you even catch a nostalgic fragrance of an earthy cedar warmed by the central Florida summer sun. Now Beer Advocate
tells me that this brew is made with Pacific Northwest hops. I don’t even know what that ultimately means, but I will say this: I adore how these hops smell — their scent interplays with the chocolate and I think that if I saw them in real life, I’d like to make a wreath of them, place it in my hair, and go climb a tree.
The porter pours an enticing black with a fluffy head of foam. The foam is the color of coffee with way too much creamer in it, and it looks like something you’d eat with a spoon. It’s not a tall head, necessarily, but the foam itself is quite thick, if that makes any sense. And it dissipates nicely to a thin coating of foam that leaves a tasty alcoholic film on my lip when I drink it. Even though the beer is black at first glance, you can hold it up to the light and catch a seductive red glint the color of garnet in the corner of the pint glass. And it has lots of pretty pieces of light colored sediments floating around it, asking you to drink them. On top of all that sexiness, it leaves a really spectacular ecru lacing around the inside of your pint glass.
The first sip of this beer is really just a dark chocolate faerie dancing on your tongue with some lovely roasted malts. And I get a taste of kona coffee that I didn’t necessarily get in the smell, which makes for a decadent flavor combination. And interestingly, those flowery hops are right there on the top. But they aren’t too bitter; their unruliness is kept in check by the more mature coffee and chocolate flavors underneath, making for a really superb balance of flavors. You know that feeling you get when you smell the remains of a campfire the next morning? Cedary ashes that leave a lingering scent of what is now behind you? Somehow, Cigar City Brewery took that feeling and mixed it into the aftertaste of this porter. Which is quite appropriate.
But besides the tastes of coffee, dark chocolate, cedar, and roasted malt… this tastes like home. It tastes like every person I’ve ever known, and every idea I’ve ever had, and every poem I’ve ever read. It tastes rich, it tastes poor. It tastes like Ybor, Birmingham, Jackson Hole, and the Outback. It tastes like I want to cry whenever I drink it.
The perfect amount of carbonation leads to a sweet union of tongue and porter, making for a really lovely mouthfeel. I’d be happy to have this brew linger on my lips for as long as it takes me to sort out every flavor it has to offer me.
As for the porter’s drinkability, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn’t enjoy drinking this. However, having more than one in an evening might make you weep with longing for lives passed and lovers lost.
Photography, as always, compliments of the multi-talented and reptilian Cindiasaurus Rex
Yo quiero salir del mundo
por la puerta natural:
en un carro de hojas verdes
a morir me han de llevar.
No me pongan en lo oscuro a morir como un traidor:
yo soy bueno, y como bueno
moriré de cara al sol.
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), by José Martí