The passage of time easily confuses a busy mind, but trudging through the mental archives brings a faint recollection that this beer has been around before. Five years ago, perhaps – it can’t be more because the brewery that made it is barely older than that. And such distinct blends of ingredients tend to linger in the memory for one reason or another. So, whether you treat it as the return of a long lost friend or view it as something new, Six String has released a Chai Porter.
This is the kind of beer that feasts on the classic cliched form of winter consumption – “a comfy chair and a good book”, as they’ve helpfully directed on the label. Plunging deeper into the metaphor, it’s not the kind of beer where you’ll find yourself four fingers deep into a glass, flicking through a passage on the origins of the universe and believing you’re smarter than you really are. It’s not an imperial stout. No, it’s much lighter than that. This is what you’d want on the side table at the point when you park your tush, wriggle into a suitable groove and turn to page one. It’s a scene setter.
The beer itself is based on an otherwise ordinary porter recipe, the kind that wouldn’t raise any eyebrows on its own but that here acts as a suitable vessel to carry the spices. Too much malt and you’d taste nothing else. Too little and it would be a pungent mess. Cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and star anise are all in the mix, but the blend is designed to let you know everything's there to enjoy yet subtle enough to ignore if you so choose. Sweetness adds appeal and there’s none of the bitter or tannic qualities found in your regular bag of English Breakfast. It’s an alternative porter, for sure – maybe even has a little altbier quality about it – but alternatives are almost always more interesting.
- Chai Porter