Got Beer? Confusion in a Glass

My fondness for coffee beers is renowned, but sometimes I think certain people out there are just trying to play games with me. So I’ll rail against sweet, fruity, summery beers and extol the virtues of moderated, careful hop usage, but sometimes a beer lands in my lap that just makes me wonder if I’ve gone completely insane or if this is the new normal. By now I’m used to breweries cramming nature’s bounty into white ales and thinking themselves very clever, but then there are those mad beer scientists who clearly left reality behind, along with the mockery of their old colleagues.

DuClaw Brewing Company’s Sweet Baby Java is an “Espresso Bean Infused Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter,” which are four different things that I love, but I can’t help feeling like this is the setup for some thick, syrupy, engine oil that will sit in my stomach like a brick. The espresso is a nice touch, meaning at least I’ll be restless and jittery while lugging that brick around.

The aroma has a very ice-cream sundae vibe to it, warning your system what it’s in for. The taste is about as subtle as a bus crashing through your living room, which is not necessarily a bad thing if you really hate your drapes.

Some beers have complex profiles that subtly complement each other by blending the best aspects of each individual flavor and forming a perfect union of tastes on your tongue. This beer is nothing short of a full-scale global land-war between chocolate, peanut butter and espresso. And my friends, it is a bloody conflict.

One sip has me thinking of chocolate cupcakes. The next has me thinking of peanut butter ice cream, and the third has me wondering if I’ll be sleeping tonight.

DuClaw got a little coffee porter in my peanut-butter cup, and a little peanut-butter cup on my incredibly confused over-saturated palate.

By no means is this a bad beer, but I’m thinking this might be one instance where a porter absolutely demands to be made into a beer float, or used to cook some sort of decadent brownies.

Strangely enough, the espresso seems to be the flavor fighting the hardest to gain the least ground. I get the savory goodness on the end where it provides a slightly balancing dry finish, but it goes by so fast I feel like I just waved to someone on a train rocketing away to New York, and I’ll never see them again.

I’m more than halfway through and I still can’t decide if I like this beer or hate it. On the one hand, it’s basically a complete union of at least three of my favorite foods, but on the other, it’s a bizarre flavor anarchy that has my mouth, stomach and brain completely confused.

I’m going to say that I tentatively like this beer, but if the mad geniuses who brewed this monster come around asking about Abbey-someone I’m going to have to dash out of the castle before the men with torches and pitchforks arrive.

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