Warm up your winter with a Vanilla Gorilla

Vanilla Gorilla Porter.

We’re in the time of year where you’re going to see  a lot of dark, warming beer.

Luckily, modern brewing attitude means much more than just straightforward stout or porter. Take Red Brick Brewing out of Atlanta and its Brick Mason Series, for example. These releases always have been big, bold, flavorful and definitely outside of the box in terms of style.

The team at Red Brick has had plenty of time to think about how it’s going to approach making beer. Founded in 1993 when there were very few craft breweries around — much less in the Deep South — Red Brick is the oldest continuously operating brewery in Georgia. Twenty years of trial, error, growth and awards gives Red Brick deep insight into being different.

There have been numerous incarnations of its Vanilla Gorilla Porter over the years. Whether it’s a simple addition of Madagascar vanilla bean or something more exotic like smoked peat moss or aging the beer in Jack Daniels barrels, Vanilla Gorilla has developed a big following amongst bold beer aficionados.

Dark beer with rich flavor is perfect in cold weather. The deep, toasty notes hearken to sensations found in a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate; only difference being the temperature of those beverages to beer.

On the surface, this version of Vanilla Gorilla may seem a little pedestrian compared to its predecessors. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that this is an imperial porter brewed to around 7.5 percent alcohol by volume. Onyx-black with ever-so-slight cola highlights, Gorilla’s off-brown head pours to moderate height leaving thin islands of lacing. From the get-go you’re going to find soft hints of vanilla riding on top of waves of dark chocolate, Irish coffee and faint caramel. Its flavors give more of the same with miniscule traces of dried cherry and a slight woodsy note hanging out in there. A puff of smoke on the finish carries you into the light body and texture making for a very satisfying ending.

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