Review: Kona Pipeline Porter

In Beer Reviews by Ryan

Kona says:

Pipeline Porter is smooth and dark with a distinctive roasty aroma and earthy complexity from its diverse blends of premium malted barley. This celebration of malt unites with freshly roasted 100% Kona coffee grown at Cornwell Estate on Hawaii’s Big Island, lending a unique roasted aroma and flavor. A delicate blend of hops rounds out this palate-pleasing brew.

Kona Pipeline Porter
Porter, 5.4% ABV

IMG_1221*This beer was provided by the brewer for the purpose of a review.

If you haven’t noticed, we’re big fans of porters around here: dry, robust, sweet, coffee-infused — we like ’em all. Kona Pipeline Porter definitely leans heavy on the coffee, so if you’re into that sort of thing then you’re in for a treat.

Pipeline pours jet black with a slightly billowing tan, khaki head. There is decent head retention, although nothing terribly spectacular. Dip your nose in the glass and you get a strong aroma of fresh brewed coffee with a bit of creamer. There’s a touch of burnt toast too, maybe some charcoal and some cocoa.

I tend to like my porters with some heft — thick with a decent amount of carbonation — and this beer has neither. Pipeline is a bit on the thin side with a frothy body and a scant bit of carbonation. What this beer lacks in body, however, it makes up for with flavor. This is a very one-dimensional beer but that one dimension is nearly perfected: coffee. There are notes of espresso, iced coffee, some creamer and maybe a bit of milk chocolate. The coffee isn’t over-powering nor is it underwhelming — it’s juuust right.

IMG_1226This beer doesn’t require much thinking. No need to try to figure out if you’re tasting molasses or maple syrup. You taste coffee — and that’s about it. Hell, even the hop profile is minimal so as to not interrupt the coffee. And as a fan of coffee beers, this is all fine by me.

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Equal parts beer nerd and policy geek, Ryan is now the curator of the Guys Drinking Beer cellar. The skills he once used to dig through the annals of state government as a political reporter are now put to use offering unique takes on barrel-aged stouts, years-old barleywines and 10 + year verticals.