Leinenkugel remains my favorite brewery, despite the tendency of beer snobs to criticize them ever since they became part of the Coors family. Before I ever tried this beer, it put me on an emotional roller coaster.
New beer from Leinie’s? Great!
A vanilla porter? ECSTATIC!
…It’s replacing annual favorite Fireside Nut Brown?
Not so happy about that.
But Ann found it on sale tonight, and thanks to some frosty mugs I keep in the freezer, it wasn’t long before I could try it.
The color at first looks incredibly brown with a sandy head, but in the light it’s actually a deep red. The nose is strongly vanilla, as it should be, with notable additions of toasted biscuit and caramel. Apparently Leinie’s uses seven malts in this beer, and my first taste suggested that they figured out exactly the right seven, in exactly the right proportion.
There is a nuttiness in the taste that doesn’t come through strongly in the nose, and there is just enough bitterness at the back of the palate to satisfy my taste for hops without being so strong as to take away from the dark, rich, creamy vanilla porter flavor. The mouth feel is slightly full but it never feels heavy.
One of my favorite winter beers in the past was Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale, which was a Michelob product that has now been discontinued; it had a brilliant splash of vanilla that made it a fantastic dessert beer. I’ve tried some other vanilla beers, but very few have had the complete commitment to vanila that WBCA did. I’m thrilled to announce that Leinie’s has picked up where Michelob left off.
I’m disappointed that Fireside Nut Brown has been put into “hibernation” (they won’t say that they’ve “retired” it), but if this is the beer to take its place, I’m not about to take up pitchforks against Chippewa falls. If anything, I’m going to picture myself in Wisconsin near a roaring fireplace, watching snow fall after the sun sets.
Yeah. It’s that good.