Setting a Record in Style
A Review of Thunderstruck Coffee Porter by Highland Brewing Co.
Posted on 11/14/2012 by Brew's Your Daddy
I am almost positive it was a record. I could be wrong, but I defy anyone to top it. In and out in less than 2 minutes. That was how long it took me to get out of my car, walk into the beer store, select a never before sampled beer, pay for it, and be back in my car. It all happened so quickly, I actually had to check the seat next to me as I drove off to make sure I hadn't just sat in the parking lot and imagined the entire event. When I did, pretty as you please, there sat a six pack of Highland Brewing Company's seasonal Thunderstruck Coffee Porter.

Now see, while most would view my purchase as rushed, it actually turned out to be the culmination of the perfect beer storm. The isle that leads from the door to the beer section of the store is unobstructed from one end to the other. When you go in, you have a clear view of one glass cooler door. I had in my mind that I was to only purchase one six pack or large bomber sized bottle. As the steps brought me closer to the cooler, the first thing that caught my eye was the familiar look of the Highland Brewing Company packaging. I couldn't think of a single time where one of their beers had treated me bad, so I let my eyes do some grazing. All of their year round offerings were present, like their Kashmir IPA and Black Mocha Stout, but then there was one out of the ordinary package that grabbed my eye. It only took a brief moment of examination to have me sold. Just reading the name ''Thunderstruck Coffee Porter'' was literally enough to do it. I had only come to a complete stop in front of the cooler for maybe 5 seconds before my mind had already been made up by those 3 awesome words.

From there it was straight back to the front of the store where the guy at the register said ''Well that didn't take long at all'', and to which I replied ''Sometimes there is no need to browsing my friend.'' He got a good laugh out of it, and then followed up with ''Let me know how that one turns out.'' This was a statement that will be better addressed at a later time, but just the fact that someone working at a beverage store has yet to try the beverages they are selling really irks me. It's like having a person selling cars who has never actually driven one of the said cars they are trying to sell. In any event, I snatched my receipt from his hands, and was once again back in my car headed home.

I raced home, breaking at least 3 traffic laws that I was able to count in the process, eager to rip into my precious cargo like a child diving for the largest package under the Christmas tree. There was no time for hesitation. It was in the door, kick it closed with the back foot, throw the keys on the counter top and reach for a goblet time. As soon as it hit the counter, my left hand was digging through the drawer for a bottle opener as my right was snatching a bottle of this tantalizing nectar from its handy dandy carrying case. In one smooth motion I was able to bring opener to cap, and the result was that Pavlovian response we all have experienced at one point or another. A huge grin hit my face as my mouth began to water.

Before I was even able to start the pour, the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans started to fill the room. My already huge grin grew even bigger. As I tipped the bottle, a very dark brown, almost black liquid began to flow freely into my goblet. Once the pour was complete, about a fingers worth of a somewhat bubbly tan head settled on top, and it managed to stick around for about half of the session before it seemed to disappear into the darkness that still remained in the glass. After allowing myself a few more moments of visual enjoyment, I decided to get a little closer and see what else could be found. Upon doing so I was able to pick up on some distinct pockets of cocoa powder and earthy roasted malts, while lighter notes of vanilla and white pepper made themselves known after just a moment of warming time. There were a few instances where a dark fruit aspect came through, but even with some deliberate examination, I was unable to really narrow it down to one specific culprit.

It was at this point that I could no longer resist the urge to taste what my eyes and nose had already been able to enjoy. As I raised the glass to my lips, I again could not ignore the glorious smell of coffee that was pushing its way towards me. My taste buds were giddy with anticipation of what was to come, and as soon as the first sip hit my tongue, they were all nicely rewarded. A cold, medium roasted coffee flavor coated my tongue and I was instantly in beer heaven. Though it wasn't quite as bold as the nose suggested, it was far from weak, and it carried just the right amount of bitter bite. There was an earthy undertone to it, and it worked well with the slight hops flavor that lay just beneath the surface. A solid layer of bittersweet chocolate came through next, and along with it the same random dark fruit notes that were detected in the nose earlier. It took me a good three or four sips before I would even allow myself to start digging for any more subtle flavors, but once I did I was able to pick up on some really nice toffee and vanilla notes, and on occasion there was even some burnt molasses to be found.

I guess in all honesty if I had any complaint about Thunderstruck, it would only be based on a sheer personal preference, and that would be in the mouthfeel area. Now don't get me wrong. It fell well with in the range of acceptable as far as the style goes, but I really could have went for a couple of more notches higher in the weight and grit departments. Even in my porters I like there to be a hefty body and chew factor, but as I said earlier, this is solely a personal preference. If anything, the more dialed down interpretation in this area only lends to a more sessionable brew drinking experience overall.

Now this is the point were I would usually go into telling you which camps of drinkers should or shouldn't give the Highland Brewing Company Thunderstruck Coffee Porter a try. It would most likely give you the pros and cons of why it would work for some and not for others. Sometimes it is helpful, and other times it just adds to the confusion. This time however, I get the chance to do it a little differently. I can actually get away with saying that if you like coffee you should try it. If you like good beer you should try it. And if you like good coffee beer, you should absolutely without question try it. It really doesn't get any easier than that. My only other word of advise would be that if you decide you want to take it for a spin, don't dally in doing so. It is a seasonal offering, so it's only around for a short time. So consider yourself warned, and don't come running to me complaining if you miss out. I will have no choice but to pull out one from my private stash and drink it in front of you as I laugh uncontrollably.

*And seriously, did you think I would let this beer review end without taking full advantage of the beers name itself?*

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Thunderstruck Coffee Porter by Highland Brewing Co.
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