The Flavor of Atwater Vanilla Java Porter

Today, it’s time to shift focus over to the taste of the Vanilla Java Porter.  This blend is one of 9 primary beers produced by Atwater Brewery in Detroit, Michigan.  As soon as I removed the bottle cap, I could smell the dark, chocolaty richness of this brew……

Thoughts From the Brand

The original label of Vanilla Java had a great description:

“A Robust Porter made with Chocolate and Coffee malts.  We then add the finest coffee and vanilla to our award winning brew, which is sure to please!  Open it!”

My Thoughts

Being one who loves chocolate and a good beer, I thought the Vanilla Java held promise on the smell alone.  One sip and I knew this was a beer for me.  Smooth, wonderful blends of coffee and chocolate is the perfect combination.  Personally, I don’t really get any taste of vanilla, but I love the taste anyway.

Now, this isn’t a blend that you would want to select for a night of pizza or nachos.  In fact, I don’t know if I want to pair it with food at all.  I like it as a dessert blend replacing something sweet after dinner.  I sipped on mine and enjoyed for nearly an hour.  I’m definitely not disappointed that I have 5 more bottles for some evenings in the future.

I should probably mention that while this is a Porter, I’m still going up a learning curve on the terms – remember I look at the bottle designs and then I drink the drink…currently, no more depth to my knowledge than that.

Thoughts From the Web

To round out the description from Atwater and my personal taste, I headed to the web to get some opinions.  I was honestly surprised at what I found there.  The ratings were really mixed with many finding the Vanilla Java not to be a beer for them.  I was also surprised that a number of reviewers felt the vanilla overpowered the coffee/chocolate flavor.  Since I mentioned earlier that I don’t think I even tasted the vanilla, I was amazed that others found it to be too much.  Here are just a few of the quotes:

“Smell: coffee and vanilla, not terrible but not overly appealing. Appearance: a pretty dark color, but almost no head that is shortly lived. Taste: light coffee, strongly vanilla with a hint of chocolate, average. Palate: fairly drinkable in the short term, wanes at end of bottle. Overall: an okay beer, not overly rememberable.”

“I like it. I can see what there is a strong dislike. Its a very unique beer that probably pushes it too far for some. Pours a deep dark amber brown color with an off white foam head. Has an aroma of coffee and vanilla. Sweet silky smooth taste with lots of coffee and vanilla notes. Gives it a rootbeer taste. Some chocolate notes as well. This dark beer manages to refresh as well. It’s unique and I am enjoying it.” – Chalsk on RateBeer

“Dark pour with an off-white head. Aroma is vanilla and a little chocolate. Taste is lots of vanilla (maybe too much), chocolate, a little roasted, and then finishes espresso.” – Fratto on RateBeer

Again, I was surprised by the average reviews online and mixed opinion on the taste.  I guess this reinforces that we all like different things and this might be one of those love / hate brews.

Summing it Up

Even with the mixed reviews online, I think the Vanilla Java Porter from Atwater Brewery is definitely a brew to put on your list.  With friends over for the evening, this could be the perfect after dinner drink to add the right finish to the night.  Splitting a six pack with a group of friends will also allow everyone to get a taste, but not have 5 extras if they find the taste is not for them!

Have you tasted Atwater’s Vanilla Java yet?  If so, I would love to hear your thoughts.


2 Responses to “ The Flavor of Atwater Vanilla Java Porter ”

  1. Joe Sennabaum says:

    I am stationed in North Carolina. When I go home to visit my family the first thing I do is purchase your Vanilla Java Porter. My issue is when I am back here in the Fort Bragg, NC area I can’t find any Atwater Brewery products. The nearest city to Fort Bragg is Fayetteville. Is there any way to get Vanilla Java Porter here in North Carolina, more specifically in the Fayetteville and Fort Bragg area? I’ve been telling friends about your beer but I can’t share your beer with them. Please help a soldier out when he brags about Michigan beer by providing Michigan beer.


    An Atwater Beer Drinker

    • Lori says:

      Joe – I love the Vanilla Java Porter too! However, I just did a review of the beer and don’t actually work for Atwater Brewery. Good luck on your quest to have it reach North Carolina – hopefully, it will come your way soon!

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My name is Lori Sullivan. By day I'm a Marketing Strategist and by night I'm a Jewelry Designer. I also enjoy relaxing with family and friends with a great wine or beer. This blog is the place where my passions for drinks, design, memories and marketing mix.