A collaboration between the well-known Mount Vernon brew pub and Lauraville coffee roasters, the beer was originally released back in February of 2014 as draft only, but as Brewer's Art co-owner Tom Creegan explained, the popularity and feedback they got was so good it instantly became the top candidate to be their first beer released in 12 oz. bottles.
After a recent tasting of the 6 percent ABV brew, we could see why: the toasty notes from the dark roasted barley melded perfectly with the slightly bitter jolt from the free-trade Mexican Chiapas coffee beans added into the jet black brew. Add in its wonderfully frothy head and layers of cocoa, and you have the perfect beer for the season (or, if you're like us, breakfast).
During a recent phone interview, Creegan describes how the collaboration initially started out. "Myself and a couple of the brewers live up near Zeke's and we'd go pick up coffee and they'd say, 'We should make a beer together!'" This being The Brewer's Art, a lot of similar offers are extended pretty often, but Zeke's "was one that seemed to make a lot of sense, two Baltimore brands getting together to make something people like: a beer and coffee combo," Creegan says.
Zeke's owner Tom Rhodes went on to explain that the initial reason for contacting The Brewer's Art was an attempt to create a beer for a planned coffee shop bar at BWI—a project that didn't make it off the ground (the contract was awarded to Starbucks, shocker) but ultimately led to the creation Zeke's Porter.
Folks are familiar with the cans of Brewer's other beers, so the bottles of porter are signs of a shift. "We're doing [the packaging] with a different brewery this time, Dog Brewery out of Westminster, who do a lot of bottling for people," Creegan says. "And we're unfortunately phasing out the big 750 ml bottles, so we wanted to do something that was accessible and cans are a major commitment in terms of how much volume you have to do for it to make sense. So this allows us to do smaller batches of things."
Right now the porter is going to be a seasonal beer, but Creegan says the demand could eventually put it in the year-round rotation.
If all goes as planned, the beer will hit shelves by Feb. 12, with a coinciding release party to be held at The Brewer's Art.