A Taste of the Appalachian Foothills
A Review of Highland Oatmeal Porter by Highland Brewing Co.
Posted on 7/23/2011 by Chops
                   
Great
Every fan of better beer has an unspoken obligation to support their local breweries. Luckily for me, I live in North Carolina, home of the current reigning BeerCity USA champion: Asheville. Nestled in those gorgeous Appalachian foothills is Highland Brewery, a local favorite. Their beers may not be world class, but every one of them is a well crafted and beloved. Highland's Oatmeal Porter is a well regarded staple around the state.

In the glass, this brew has a beautiful mahogany coloration. Hold it up to a light source if you can because this beer is very sexy to look at. It's also clean and clear, providing a lovely view of the spectrum. The aroma is very thin and faint, so you really have to get your nose into the glass. I couldn't get much more than a subdued roasted malt smell. Porters can vary wildly in aroma intensity, so I didn't perseverate on it.

The front end of this beer is quite smooth and flavorful with a lot of roasted malts and a decent amount of sweetness, much like a quality brown ale. The middle ground is where all the complimentary flavors start to emerge. I was able to pick out some toasted nuts, coffees and twinges of dark chocolate. The oatmeal flavoring provides a very nice undertone that ties everything together. The lighter mouthfeel allows the drinker to chew on the flavors for a while, but it can get a bit watery and dries up on the finish. I'd say the only downside to this beer is the finish, which can be a bit chalky and bitter.

Overall, Highland's Oatmeal Porter is a very nice porter. I can recommend it to most levels of beer drinkers. Novices might find the flavor train and finish a bit off putting, so I would recommend sticking to something a little easier. This beer isn't aggressive by any means, but you really have to enjoy those roasted gritty flavors to appreciate it. Highland's version may not be a world class porter, but it certainly tastes like home to me. I can't help but picture myself sitting on a porch enjoying that cool breeze rolling off the Appalachian foothills. And in the grand scheme of things, what more could you ask for in a brew?

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Highland Oatmeal Porter by Highland Brewing Co.
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