Derek Warren

HOW TO PAIR BEER WITH EVERYTHING: Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

HOW TO PAIR BEER WITH EVERYTHING: Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter
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Beer: Victory at Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

Brewer: Ballast Point Brewing Company

Style: American Porter

ABV: 10.00%

Description: Victory at Sea pours pitch black in color with a beige head that hangs around for a while and leaves behind a hefty lacing on the glass. The aroma is tremendous, with notes of roasted chocolate malts dancing with fresh brewed coffee and vanilla – a very inviting aroma indeed! Thankfully, it backs up the nose and imparts strong flavors of coffee across the palate that seamlessly mix with hints of vanilla and bitter cocoa. The strong bitterness comes through from the coffee and roasted malts, and the vanilla and subtle carbonation wash over the palate to sooth it and leave you wanting more and more.

The medium body and moderate carbonation are perfect in tandem and make this beer incredibly smooth. The 10 percent ABV is not apparent at all in this beer, but be aware that the alcohol will quickly sneak up on you if you are not careful! Victory at Sea is not only one of the best porters available, but it might just be one of the best beers available – an absolute must-try!

Ideal setting: Victory at Sea is a beer that should only be enjoyed in an environment that allows you to sit and really experience all the flavors locked within – ideally one with no smoking either! Find yourself a nice quiet bar to sip and ponder or simply relax at home while sipping on this fantastic beer. The 10 percent ABV makes an argument for enjoying this beer at home as well!

Ideal music: Victory at Sea is a beer whose musical pairing can fall into two vastly different groups, but it depends on your overall musical taste. The two best musical styles that go with this beer are either jazz or metal – as I said, two vastly different musical camps.

If you are a jazz fan, any of these albums match perfectly with the rich flavors that help you to focus on the overall experience of the beer:

However, if you are more of a metalhead, then there are plenty of good pairings for you to play while enjoying Victory at Sea. The metal should be dark and heavy, much like the beer, so thrash is off the table while grind, death, and black metal will pair perfectly. Some great albums to listen to are:

Ideal movie: Again this is a pairing that depends upon the drinker and can go in two varying directions – those being introspective documentaries or darker thriller/horror films. If you are more prone to documentaries, some great ones to enjoy with Victory at Sea are: “Encounters at the End of the World,” “Cropsey,” “Man on Wire,” “20 Feet from Stardom,” and “Jodorowsky’s Dune.”

If you are more inclined to watch a darker film, it should be something a bit thought-provoking and not an all-out gore fest. Some great films in this category to check out are: “Videodrome” (or really anything from the David Cronenberg catalogue would pair perfectly), “Repo Man,” “The Devil’s Backbone,” “Repulsion,” and “The Vanishing.”

Ideal book: This is an area where there can be some overlap between the two contrasting viewpoints, and a book that is both dark and thought-provoking pairs up perfectly with Victory at Sea. Some great choices to read while sipping this beer are: Ray Bradbury’s classic “Fahrenheit 451,” “As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner, “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (this requires a bit more time to read!), or a more modern dark tale, “Galveston,” from Nic Pizzolatto, writer of the HBO series “True Detective.”

The perfect experience: The ideal evening spent with Victory at Sea would involve some time to sit and sip on this complex and breathtaking beer. It is not a beer to drink large quantities of without experience. Instead, drinking this beer at home with friends while watching any of the classic films listed previously or while enjoying some great jazz music is an evening that you will not soon forget!

How to Pair Beer with Everything is a weekly column about stimulating all of the senses through beer. Look for it every Thursday on NEPA Scene.