Home Beer Six beers to go (coco)nuts for

Six beers to go (coco)nuts for

Put down the pina colada and reach for one of these tropically accented ales.

Instagram_20160427_020Let’s get this out of the way: The coconut isn’t a “nut” at all, but is rather the fruit of the coconut palm (if you want to get even more specific, it’s technically a “drupe” belonging to the same family of fruits as peaches, plums, mangoes cherries and olives). Call it what you will—from water to oil to sugar, coconut’s having a moment. Get on it with this sixer of coconutty beers.

Caldera Toasted Coconut Chocolate Porter
We appreciate the emphasis on the “porter” aspect of this brew—even without its addition of coconut chips toasted right at Caldera’s Ashland, Oregon brewhouse, it would be a fine example of the style. In the nose, cocoa powder dusts wet grain, vanilla and brown sugar-roasted carrots. The ’nuts provide an oiliness to the soft body, causing the drizzles of chocolate syrup and wet coconut shavings that arrive at the swallow to linger long after each sip.

Dangerous Man Coconut Milk Stout
Hailing from Minneapolis, this draft-only brew is made with toasted coconut shavings and lactose (i.e. milk sugar), but the nose is neither milky nor nutty; the coconut comes across more as coconut water than actual coconut flakes, which is a refreshingly subtle take. This light touch carries through to the flavor, where additional splashes of coconut water meld with roasted nuts, soft molasses and milk chocolate.

Boulevard Imperial Stout X – Coconut
Ever had Malibu Rum? You’ll recognize the sugary top notes in this 11% stout, which gains its coconut character during a 48-hour infusion involving just over two pounds per barrel of raw and toasted coconut flakes. Beneath the nuts, though, is a powerful multigrain malt character: vanilla, brown sugar, molasses, cherries, maple, malted milk balls, a dash of graham cracker. Compact flavor delivers a swift, tight punch of sweet coconut and cherry and milk chocolate to the tongue, while fingers of alcohol scrape the back of the tongue at the swallow. An after-swallow exhalation of roasted malts and cocoa gives this limited-run brew the impression of a chocolate-covered coconut macaroon.

Miami Big Rod
Most coconut-flavored ales lean dark, counting on roasted malts to provide chocolatey accents to the fruit; Miami Brewing Company, the beer side of Schnebly Redland’s Winery, flouts tradition by infusing coconut flavor into a subtle American blonde ale. The result: a gently hazed, sunshine-hued brew that finishes clean graininess with a dollop of coconut sunscreen.

Oskar Blues Death by Coconut
They’re not kidding with that name—brewed with Cholaca, a form of pure liquid chocolate made with cacao beans, water and coconut, this seasonal is less a beer than a liquid Mounds bar. Tangy chocolate syrup and oodles of coconut both fresh and toasted swirl in the nose; the flavor is equally replete with dessertlike notes of confectionery coconut flakes and bittersweet chocolate.

Triple Digit Chickow! Coconut
Triple Digit is the high-ABV arm of Cincinnati, Ohio’s Listermann Brewing Co., and this beer is the coconut-spiked version of Chickow!, Triple D’s popular hazelnut imperial brown ale. Let it sit and those hazelnuts rule the aroma, but give it a swirl and a rich bouquet of coconut, marshmallow, vanilla, nougat and toffee springs forth. The sip is a treat, drizzling the tongue with raspberry maple syrup, chocolate sauce, coconut cream and hazelnut, but the dessertlike quality can get overwhelming, so you’ll want to split a bottle (or even your glass) with a few friends.


Zach Fowle is DRAFT's beer editor. Reach him at zach@draftmag.com.

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