Coconut beers always seem to be a disappointment to me. It always just seems to be a hint of coconut, leaving me wanting more. After drinking Big Kahuna from our buddies Quaff Bros across the river (though brewed on this side at Listermann), I can safely say that this is no longer the case. Utilizing coconut flakes, toasted coconut, and coconut oil, this beer essentially tastes like it has been aged inside of a giant coconut that previously housed bourbon.
It starts off looking like every other stout, porter, etc. in the world. The only differentiating figure looks-wise is the Coca Cola head on it; big brown bubbles. It gave me pause for a moment because I was under the impression that fatty coconut kills head retention. I guess not always. From the smell alone, you know that you’re going to be in for a treat if you’re a fan of coconut. For just about the first time I’ve experienced with a Quaff Bros beer, the barrel takes the back seat here. In the driver’s seat (and probably the passenger’s, as well) is COCONUT. Bourbon is in the child seat in the back and the base beer (an imperial porter for those who care), is bound and gagged in the trunk.
The taste, following this trend, is dominated by coconut, with a slight butterscotch flavor either from barrel or base beer. It’s tough to tell. The bourbon is even more muted in the flavor, though to be fair, barrel characteristics often include coconut notes, so it’s entirely possible this is getting lost. Also strange is a slight lactic twang on the finish. I have not the slightest idea what would lend this, but I don’t care for it.
The coconut here is obnoxious and somewhat reduces drinkability (in my modest opinion, of course), but that’s the whole point. It’s supposed to be obnoxious. This is a good, not great, beer, but I am happy that I have another bottle. If I’m going to buy a unique beer, I’d much rather make it a local one than one Sam has recreated from some terracotta pot in a third world country. I know there are a handful of people whose palates I respect who really enjoyed this, but I’m having a tough time putting it on the same level as Sour Grapes, Joseph, and a few other top tier Quaff beers. Maybe it’s just that I don’t appreciate coconut enough. Who knows.
There are still more than fifty bottles of this at Party Source, and if you and a buddy go in on it together, at $9.99 a bottle it won’t cost you more than buying a drink at the bar. Needless to say, if you’re a fan of coconut, you owe it to yourself to get over there and pick up the maximum of four bottles you’re allowed to buy.
P.S. In other cool Quaff Bros news, their “Corn on the Knob” will be on draft at Great American Ballpark on June 14 when the Reds take on the Milwaukee Brewers.