Maui Brewing Company - Grandma’s Coffee Cake Imperial Porter (RBC Exclusive)
Serving Temperature:50–58° F
Suggested Glassware:Small Nonic, Tulip, or Snifter
We’re thrilled to be able to offer up Grandma’s Coffee Cake Imperial Porter from Maui Brewing as an exclusive to our Rare Beer Club members, available only through the club and the brewery’s tasting rooms in Hawaii. They’ve put together an amazing beer for us. Brewed with Maui-roasted Origin Coffee, this is one of the most satisfying coffee beers we’ve had in a long while. And it also incorporates another famous local institution on Maui: Grandma’s Coffee House, which was founded over a century ago and is well-known for their incredible pastries. If we’re gonna do a pastry beer, we’re not gonna mess around. Maui literally added Grandma’s coffee cakes to the mash when making this, as well as some subtler additions of cinnamon, vanilla, and brown sugar. It’s a lot—but it’s hard to argue with the final result.
We’ve long been fans of Maui’s canned offerings that make it stateside, including the crispy Bikini Blonde Lager, Big Swell IPA, and Pueo Pale Ale. But especially their Coconut Hiwa Porter, and this imperial porter from Maui builds on many of the successes of that beer. This pours a dark, dark chocolate-brown color capped by dark tan foam, the liquid showing a bit of viscosity to it. Strong foam retention and lacing here despite the significant ABV.
The aromatics on this are huge from the initial pour, leading with expressive cinnamon and vanilla-tinged coffee cake. This combines the appeal of crumbly pastries with a stellar coffee character, as well-roasted, bright, beautifully expressed coffee serves to nicely accentuate the rest of this beer. The imperial porter base brings substantial milk chocolate, roast, and subtle licorice. One of the most expressive, deftly executed coffee aromas we’ve experienced lately, and the alcohol presence stays conveniently tucked away behind that coffee and porter base.
For how much is presented within this beer, it’s super easy to get into. Nicely integrated CO2 provides some lively texture to this full-bodied imperial porter, with generous roasted coffee and cinnamon and milk-chocolate notes leading the charge. The porter base serves as a firm foundation for everything, with the coffee cake and other special additions adding in vanilla and pastry-like flourishes. Sweetness is kept in check by the roast and bitter specialty malts.
Overall, Grandma’s Coffee Cake Imperial Porter serves as a perfect showcase for both the Origin Coffee and the coffee-cake additions, allowing each of these elements ample space to play out fully. Even that underlying imperial porter gets to show off its stuff: rich milk and dark chocolate, effortless nuttiness and roast, all syncing up well with the specialty additions. We make an effort not to gush about these beers—but we’re just so impressed by this one. Lush, effortlessly drinkable, and a perfect example of what this island brewery’s capable of.
Maui Brewing Co. got its start back in 2005, starting as a single brewpub and small restaurant making its own beer locally. Co-founders Garrett Marrero and Melanie Oxley focused on the goal of creating authentic “Ale and Lagers brewed with Aloha,” and placing an emphasis on actually doing their brewing in Hawaii. In a few years, they’d begin packaging their beer too.
Fast forward to now, and Maui has four restaurant locations, significantly expanded brewing operations, and hundreds of employees. There’s the main brewhouse and restaurant in Kihei on Maui, as well as a second restaurant on that same island in Lahaina. And then Waikiki and Kailua on Oahu. They currently distribute to around 20 states, plus D.C., and you might find them internationally in locales like Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Maui Brewing’s been a major part of Hawaii’s craft beer scene, plus they do things like have solar PV panels to provide a huge slice of their electricity needs, and doing CO2 reclamation to reduce their emissions. In 2017, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognized Marrero and Oxley as National Small Business Persons of the Year to highlight the brewery’s accomplishments.
We’ve been fans of Maui since we first started seeing their beer here stateside. Bikini Blonde Lager and Coconut Hiwa Porter were standouts in those earliest days, before our hop-loving souls gravitated to Big Swell. Lately Pueo Pale Ale’s been a nice go-to for hops, with slightly lessened ABV. The coconut porter in particular always stood out as being something special, and this month we’ve got something that’s also a porter… but also significantly bigger.
As a Rare Beer Club exclusive this month, we’re pleased to offer Maui Brewing’s Grandma’s Coffee Cake Imperial Porter, brewed with Maui-roasted Origin Coffee and coffee cake from Grandma’s Coffee House. Grandma’s is a century-old Maui institution of pastry—and this beer’s got a few other special ingredients tucked in as well. This will be available exclusively through the Rare Beer Club and the brewery’s tasting rooms. It’s one of the best beers we’ve tried all year, and we can’t wait to show off what Maui’s put together for our club members.
While travel might not be the greatest idea in the world when you’re reading this, should you find yourself over in Hawaii, best sure to check out what’s going on at the brewery’s various locations: Kihei and Lahaina on Maui; Kailua and Waikiki on Oahu. mauibrewingco.com
This is suitable to age for a bit, but we expect some of these special additions to be at their most expressive early on; already drinking great. We’d take Maui’s suggestion of making this a breakfast beer (perhaps with actual coffee cake?), or pairing with a vanilla-focused dessert.
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