612. Red Brick Brewing – Brick Mason Smoked Vanilla Gorilla Porter

612. Red Brick Brewing - Smoked Vanilla Gorilla Porter

After having some wings and a couple beers at Taco Mac in Atlanta, GA, my friend Joe said it was time to check out “The Fred.” It’s the name of a private bar below Taco Mac that you get access to if you’ve enjoyed enough different beers at Taco Mac. We walked downstairs and up to an inconspicuous door with a doorbell. When we walked it, it seemed to have a great speakeasy vibe – dimly lit with dark curtains on the walls and cushy chairs. The waitress handed us an iPad with the beer menu on it, which had a good list of uncommon beers on tap and a list of hard-to-find bottles. My friend Joe knew I was looking for good local brews and recommended this one.

Location: On tap and served in a curved glass at The Fred in Atlanta, GA.

Numbers: 7.8% ABV, ~ 250 Calories

Appearance & Aroma: It’s black in color, and it’s dark in the room, so it makes it hard to see light through it. There was a quarter-inch thick, creamy head on it when it was served, but it feel to just a thin layer of creamy bubbles across the top. The aroma was mostly vanilla with hints of roastiness.

Taste & Feel: The body is light medium and the mouthfeel is fairly smooth. Up front, there’s a somewhat sweet cocoa flavor with hints of vanilla sweetness. The flavors grow in the middle, with the vanilla stepping forward and the cocoa roastiness just behind it.  The sweet vanilla flavor peaked in the finish, with a slight roasty cocoa bitterness in the background. The vanilla flavors lasted for a brief time in the aftertaste.

Food Pairing: This beer has a good amount of vanilla flavor with undertones of roastiness and cocoa, making it a good beer to pair with dessert. I’d go for a contrasting flavor, pairing it with a tart raspberry dessert, but it could also make a good vanilla ice cream beer float.

Overall Impression: I enjoyed the atmosphere at The Fred, and enjoyed the opportunity to try this local brew there. I was a bit nervous with it being a smoked beer (as this flavor can easily take over), but the smoke flavor was muted in the background and came off as roastiness. It was mostly a sweet vanilla flavor, and was fairly drinkable. Overall, it was a pretty good beer, but I think the abundance of vanilla covered up some of the complex potential it has.

My Rating: ★★★½☆

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