Tall, Dark & Smokey is Pontoon Brewing’s new beer. Brewed alongside the supervision of Rasheed Philips (from Philips Barbeque Co.), this porter is a perfect way to stave off the winter’s chill. TDS pours with a dark brown to mahogany coloration and very little in the way of head or lacing. The initial nose of the beer is heavy on the wheat and cereal (e.g. Cinnamon Toast Crunch). The first sip of Tall, Dark & Smokey yields a mouthfeel that is a bit more cohesive than lighter beers but does not veer into the more viscous liquids present in sweet / pastry stouts.
The smokiness of the porter is fairly moderate. This is hard to do. It is rare for a brewery to craft a smoked beers (either rauchbiers or smoked porters/stouts) that does not move into the “bonfire” territory. I feel that the toasted malts and cocoa nibs that are present here do a great job in creating a balanced set of flavors. Vanilla’s presence concludes each sip, adding just a bit of a focus that allows for imbibers to reset their palette.
The flavor profile of Tall, Dark & Smokey is consistent no matter where one is at in the beer, rather than falling into the trap a great many English porters have and shifting into a mess of saccharine elements. The one cohesive part of this brew has to be a bit of a burn that builds up with subsequent sips. Pontoon’s latest would make for a perfect counterpoint to strongly-flavored cuisine, cheese, or other richer holiday fare.
For the full constellation of brews that Ponteen releases, check out their domain. The brewery’s social media profiles are great repositories of information about the new events and efforts that the brewery is crafting.