There are some flavours, some foods, that once you've tasted, you never forget.
At the very first Brewmaster's Dinner that I attended, in the spring of 2012, at Mill Street Brew Pub, I had the pleasure of eating a lobster bisque that made me remember what true love is. It was rich, flavourful, and silky smooth. One of the ingredients that made this lobster bisque stand out from any other that I've had was a touch of vanilla.
The beer that was paired with this culinary masterpiece was the brewery's Vanilla Porter.
This seasonal had only been available on tap at the brew pub and select drinking establishments. But this weekend, it became available in nitrogen-charged cans at the LCBO.
Vanilla Porter (5% ABV)
Mill Street Brewery
Beer O'Clock rating: 5
Appearance: a clear, dark brown with red highlights, almost like root beer, with a dense, creamy taupe head that sticks around with a thick cap.
Nose: vanilla, faint licorice.
Palate: vanilla, maple syrup, light chocolate, and a light espresso finish.
Overall impression: this is a well-balanced ale with imposing vanilla, warm malts, and a slightly hopped finish. It tastes sweet without cloying, but finishes dry. It is a true treat.
I have missed that lobster bisque ever since I had it, more than a year and a half ago. And I miss the vanilla porter when it leaves the taps at Mill Street. But at least now I won't have to miss one of them anymore. (You're making the cans available year-round, aren't you, Mill Street?)
Best to play it safe and stock up.