This cellar pull drinks so beautifully right now, I wish I could drop a bottle of it on every doorstep (especially the snow-covered ones in the Northeast). Chocolate, bourbon and vanilla flavors in the 4-year-old, 8.5%-ABV porter from Ashland, Ore.-based Caldera have melded into a super-cohesive sip whose finish lasts and lasts. Does it sound like I’m gushing? I am—and I haven’t even touched on the beer’s name and label, which are a tribute to the late, adorable Mogli.
Low carbonation on the pour made me nervous about how the porter had held up, but one sniff quashed my fears. There’s bourbon there, thanks to some time in contact with bourbon-soaked oak spirals, plus a distinct oatmeal raisin cookie flavor and some milk chocolate. The sip oozes chocolate-covered cherries, light vanilla and very subdued bourbon. Alcohol heat is low-key, playing second fiddle to a unified rush of chocolate, dark fruit and light woodiness. Moderate body is true to the imperial porter style, with just a hint of warmth on the tongue. It satisfies with all the flavors of a big, aged imperial stout, minus the booze heft.
Need a lighter fix than this? We’ve rounded up six excellent porters to check off your list before the winter’s over.