This flavoured American porter from Nickel Brook Brewing in Burlington, Ontario is opaque and black, pouring with a moderate tan coloured head that settles as a collar with large bubbles and leaves small spots of lace on your glass. Nickel Brook Maple Porter has deep aromas of dark roasted grains, toasted cocoa, coffee and plum, with distinct notes of cigar, alcohol, wild grass and a damp, light wood like cedar or birch.
The taste of Nickel Brook Maple Porter is rather sweet and most definitely malt-forward, with a whole lot of roasted character accenting flavours of dark toffee and dry red wine. All that rich sweetness is well-balanced by a notable sharpness that gives way to a very dry finish that leaves lingering hints of maple and wood in the aftertaste. This ale is full-bodied and carries a moderate carbonation. It feels very thick and grainy throughout, but there is also a subtle syrupy quality that smooths everything out a bit.
The bottle that Nickel Brook Maple Porter is housed in can be found in both wax dipped and “naked” bottles. The simple grey label uses an old west style wordmark, with a rusty-looking, hand-drawn maple leaf below a sticker showcasing the brewery’s recently adopted “science” logo. The label also contains a detailed description of the beer and a complete list of ingredients. A packaging date can be found stamped on the shoulder of the bottle.
Nickel Brook Maple Porter is a very well-crafted ale that straddles the line with a robust porter or dry Irish stout. The addition of dark maple syrup is subtle, but really pulls everything together. I think that a few months of cellar time would mellow out the sharpness a bit and really put this beer over the top.
I happened to have some maple cheddar handy while writing this review and that was a no-brainer pairing option. This beer also did well with dark chocolate, a butter tart, carrot cake and some freshly baked bread. I wouldn’t hesitate to try it with a beef or rabbit stew either. Nickel Brook Maple Porter is available annually as a spring seasonal release, both at the brewery’s retail store and about 100 LCBO locations.
Type: American Porter
Region: Ontario, Burlington
Brewery: Nickel Brook Brewing Company
Format Purchased: 750 mL
Alcohol Content: 6.0%