A porter with a purpose
A Review of Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter by Sea Dog Brewing Co.
Posted on 9/25/2011 by Brew's Your Daddy
When breweries set out to make something different, the end result can either be a complete and total failure, or a creation for the ages. More often than not though, they land somewhere in the middle. Some people will love a certain boundary bender, while others will completely despise the exact same beer. In my opinion, the most successful ventures are when a brewery sets out to put a slight twist on an old style, while the beer otherwise remains true to form. A great example of sticking to a style while adding a simple tweak is the Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter by Sea Dog Brewing.

The color of this beer in the glass is pretty much what you look for in a porter. It's a dark brown, that holds it's color well when held to a light source, only giving up some of it's darkness around the edges to a slightly lighter tone. There is a good two fingers worth of light tan colored head that dissipates rather quickly to only a thin layer of film on top. While the typical aromas associated with a porter are present, as the name suggests, the first smell you notice is the hazelnut. It's a great roasted layer that does well with the coffee and light chocolate layers that are laying just beneath the surface.

When you go in for the first taste, you are met by no surprises. Just as it was first in line to greet you in the nose, the hazelnut is first in line in the taste department as well. It is a little more rich than one might expect, but in this case there is nothing wrong with that at all. The light chocolate sweetness, along with the coffee bitterness both work well with the sweet and roasted nuttiness that is all throughout this beer. The chocolate is just light enough to be detected, yet not overpower the hazelnut flavor. At the same time, the coffee flavor really helps keep everything in line and not allow this one to become overly sweet. Only at the very end is there the slightest hops bite along with the coffee bitter that helps the beer finish with a surprisingly clean and dry feel.

To me, it is always nice to see a beer that was made with a purpose, and that purpose be achieved. Sea Dog Brewing set out to make a hazelnut porter, and their end result was a hazelnut porter. There is nothing tricky or sneaky about this beer. I think that it could really be enjoyed by just about anyone. Those looking to get started on more flavorful and slightly more creative beers, this one would be a great bridge beer for that journey. It is just far enough off of ''standard'' flavoring to be interesting for you, yet still be a very enjoyable beer. Those who are more experienced drinkers can appreciate it as an easily enjoyable twist on an old standard style. As far as I'm concerned the Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter is a winner for anyone willing to try it.

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Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter by Sea Dog Brewing Co.
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