While I have reviewed a number of beers by Otter Creek on Hoppy Boston I haven’t spent much time on Wolaver’s Organic Ales. The beers in the Wolaver’s line are all brewed and bottled at the Otter Creek Brewery in Middlebury, VT, but sold under a different label. Wolaver’s was the first certified organic brewery in the US, and recently became the first verified non-GMO brewery too. (As an aside, I have some thoughts on the GMO debate that I won’t get into them here, but I know some people are interested in GMO free diets so I thought I would mention it). While Otter Creek has shifted their focus to hop-centric beers, especially in their newer releases, Wolaver’s still brews a number of malty and dark offerings. Today I am going to review a couple of their beers in tandem, the year-round Oatmeal Stout and seasonal Alta Gracia Coffee Porter. Both are available on draft and in 12 oz. bottles.
Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout pours dark chocolate brown with a minimal off-white head. The scent is pretty mild with some hints of roasted dark malts. The taste is very malt forward, touches of dark chocolate, coffee, toasted bread and just a touch of sweetness. There are minimal hops, just enough to keep the beer from being cloying. The best part about the beer, and one of my favorite things about oatmeal stouts as a style, is the body, thick, full and robust. Even with the full flavor and mouthfeel this isn’t a huge beer at 5.4% ABV. Overall this is a very solid version of a style that has fallen a little out of favor, perfect for a cold and snowy winter night (not that we’ve had any of those recently). Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5
Wolaver’s Alta Gracia Coffee Porter pours a cola brown with a mild tan head. The smell is an aromatic mixture of freshly ground coffee and roasted malts. The coffee leads off the flavor, dark and savory. This perfectly complements the malt which adds some chocolate and caramel notes. This beer also has some distinct hop character, earthy flavors with a solid hit of bitterness that works well with the added coffee. The beer was also brewed with vanilla, which adds some subtle complexity without being overbearing. Alta Gracia Coffee Porter is medium bodied and goes down smooth at 5.0% ABV. This is another strong offering, an elaborate combination of flavors that find harmony in the beer. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.