2/24/18: MadTree Brewing Company's Local Blend Dayton - Boston Stoker

2:43 PM

This is the second in a series of four posts devoted to Local Blend, a collaboration series of coffee porters MadTree recently released. I'll be judging each beer individually, comparing it to the others in the series, and, finally, rating Local Blend as a whole.

Boston Stoker isn't a coffee brand I've enjoyed before. Sure, I've seen bags of their blends around. And yeah, a few of my friends like their Facebook page--some of these are big coffee folks, leading me to believe that I'm in for a treat with Dayton Local Blend.

When MadTree dropped its Local Blend collaboration series last month, I was, to say the least, excited. I like MadTree, I like porters, and I like coffee beers. Why the hell wouldn't I be excited? Drinking the Cincinnati Local Blend the other day (see, each can in this collab four-pack represents a different Ohio city, and each features coffee from a company that calls that can's namesake home) only increased that excitement. So, let's go ahead and break into today's can.

I've talked about MadTree on the blog more times than I can count (see their "About MadTree" page if you want to know about the company responsible for today's brew), so, instead of going into the history of the brewery, I'd like to focus on Boston Stoker for a few moments.

Boston Stoker Coffee Company (according to their "Our Story" page, which, by the way, is where I'm getting all of my information) began in the mid-seventies as a tobacco and pipe shop. The owners decided to brew their own coffee to keep people in the store longer. The plan worked, and soon customers were asking for bags of coffee to brew at home. In the nineties, the clamor of Boston Stoker coffee reached new heights, and the company moved its headquarters and roasting operations to Vandalia, OH. Today, it remains family-owned and partners directly with coffee farmers world-wide in order to import the highest quality coffee beans while supporting the people who grow them.

The Untappd profile for Local Blend Dayton lists it as a 5.9% ABV porter with Boston Stoker coffee and lactose added. Which means that it's a sweet, creamy, roasty coffee porter. So, sign me up. My can, by the way, boasts a 6% ABV, for whatever that tenth of a percent difference is to you.

The coffee takes center stage in Local Blend Dayton's bouquet. It's rich and dark, earthy and mossy, with a slight hint of nuttiness. The roasted malt character of the porter is present, too. It's lending dark chocolate and charred wood notes to the aroma. I like it but I can't say the same for Purrl--she wouldn't deign to give my can a single whiff.

This picture has a bonus Henrietta, for your viewing pleasure.
This tastes exactly like how I'd expect a coffee porter to taste. It's bold and dark on the fore, like a strong cup of black drip coffee. It's roasty and earthy. The lactose in the brew is bolstering the chocolate flavor from the malt. But, the vegetative quality of the coffee beans are here, too, in the finish. This has that same quality you'd find in a vegetables from a farmer's market: green, earthen, whole. Those are odd words to describe what I'm getting at, I'm sure, but if you know what I'm saying, you'll get it. If you don't know what I'm saying, try this beer. Then you'll get it, as well.

Like any good lactose porter worth its, well, lactose, this is thick, full, and creamy. Sure, there's carbonation in my can but it doesn't interfere with the way the lactose so perfectly compliments Local Blend Dayton's coffee addition.

Once, while Michelle's family was visiting and we still lived in Athens, we went to the local farmer's market. This was in the parking lot of the strip mall at the end of East State Street, the street that houses all the bigbox department and grocery stores. While this might seem an odd spot for a farmer's market, it makes great sense in a weird Athens way.

Anyway, a local coffee shop had set up a truck at the market that particular day. It was a cold and cloudy morning, one of the last farmer's markets for the year. I chose an espresso over a drip coffee--I'd never had an espresso before (I don't think I'd ever actually had the chance to get one) so I seized the opportunity. Something about the flavor of my beverage mingling with the crisp, earthy aromas of the fresh produce set upon the market's stands made that day stick in my memory, and Local Blend Dayton is bringing it to mind now.

If you think, right now, about how your ideal coffee porter would taste, odds are your imaging MadTree's collaboration with Boston Stoker. It's big on rich, roasty coffee flavor and the lactose adds a deep chocolatey flavor and an undeniable creaminess. Comparing it to the only other Local Blend I've had, which is Cincinnati, I have to say that I still prefer Cincinnati more--that porter's flavor was unique and unexpected, the raw vegetable of its bean flavor through me for a loop and made me want more. But, I won't let that comparison detract from Local Blend Dayton's quality; it's still a top-tier coffee porter. I'm giving it a 9.0/10. It's another stellar beer in the Local Blend series.

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