Beer Review: Coalition Brewing Loving Cup Maple Porter

The leaves are already losing their fiery colors, replaced by brown in only slightly varying shades. Nights now arrive an hour earlier, giving up a minute of sunshine with each passing day. But before we grab our saws to chop down our Christmas trees, we pause to give thanks. Oddly, no one's cornered the Thanksgiving beer market. Well pilgrim, Coalition Brewing has just the thing.

Brewery co-founder Kiley Hoyt is a Vermont native, so it makes sense Coalition offers a porter brewed with maple syrup. Loving Cup Maple Porter is available year-round at the brewpub, but is being bottled as a seasonal offering for the first time this year. The British-style porter is on the dry side, offering desirable chocolatiness without being thick or sweet.

Enter the maple syrup. Sourced from Butternut Mountain Farm in Vermont, the brewers' syrup of choice is the grade A medium. (Grade B is great for pancakes and baking, but is much higher in unfermentable sugars.) The resulting maple kick in this beer is more pronounced in the aroma than in the swallow.

The recipe keeps the porter at a sessionable 5.4 percent ABV, which is perfect, since the beer pairs well with both the savory portion of your Thanksgiving spread and your buffet of desserts. You'll be glad for at least one tasty thing that won't fill you up. Look for bottles on shelves in the Portland area from Nov. 17 on.

— Brian Yaeger, The Drink Nation

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