In the increasingly crowded shelves of a local bottle shop the way you market your beer, including the beer names and artwork, can make a huge difference in sales. Some breweries unfortunately still use sexist art and names, I for one refuse to drink any beer by a brewery that has offensive beer names/labels. I have seen a few people explain this away, insisting they don’t even notice label art and it has no effect on what beers they buy. This is probably BS, the artwork has a subconscious effect on everyone’s choices at the very least. I try to focus on the quality of the beer, but quality marketing can catch my eye and lead me to try something new. With this in mind it’s actually surprising that I haven’t reviewed any beers from Kelsen Brewing Company in Derry, NH yet. I’ve always been a big fan of fantasy novels from Tolkien to Jordan to Martin and beyond, so the swords, axes and dwarves are right up my alley. Recently I grabbed a bomber of Draken, Kelsen’s robust porter which is available year round on draft and in 750 mL bottles.
Kelsen Draken Robust Porter pours pitch black with a solid tan head. The scent is rich and bold roasted malt. The malts lead the flavor, touches of espresso, dark chocolate, caramel and raisin. There is enough hop character to add balance, some herbal and earthy notes along with a solid bitterness. Draken is full bodied with the rich mouthfeel you want in a robust porter, but with 6.8% ABV it isn’t going to put you under the table. The finish is crisp with some lingering roasted malt flavor. Kelsen Draken is a very good robust porter, tons of flavor and great drinkability. I really need to drink and review a few more of their beers in the near future! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.