Seth is a beer writer, outdoor enthusiast and non-profit consultant.

Continuing this summer's theme of tasting beers with added fruits, berries and spices, this week we turn to the tropics, where lazy breezes stir the steamy air. What could be more tropical than the coconut? The mild nutty flavor of the seed of the coconut palm flavors desserts and adds a cooling complexity to spicy cuisines. So why not add it to beer? How well does the rich flavor of coconut translate in the context of a cool, refreshing beverage? I learned the answer below.

 

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Peak Organic Coconut Lime Kolsch (Portland, ME)

Format Sampled: 12 oz. can
ABV: 4.7%
Availability: Purchased at Whole Foods Market

Tasting Notes: Pours a sparkly yellow with a fine white head. Aroma has toasted coconut and a wisp of lime zest — the exact smell of getting ready for a beach day. The first sip has a creamy soft mouth feel with rich flakes of coconut flavor floating on waves of mild malt. As the coconut tide recedes, bright green lime zest flavors peek out, a shockingly good pairing. The aftertaste blends the flavors of coconut water and lime oils in a swirling, exotic blend that demands another sip. This is a beer that compliments the beach, serves as an ideal accompaniment to Thai cuisine, and defines a flavor combination that's entirely new.

 

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Dogfish Head Lupu Luau (Milton, DE)

Format Sampled: 12 oz. can

ABV: 7.3%

Availability: Purchased at Whole Foods Market

Tasting Notes: Pours a golden amber with a thin whitish head. Aroma is sweet, salty, piney and faintly toasted. The first sip is pointed with sharp, resinous hops. For a moment, it's as if I'm drinking a '90s IPA with an aggressive, brash bitterness. As brash as the hop opening is, it cools quickly into a toasted, mellow nutty flavor. Tasting partner Meghan doesn't recognize the flavor at first, but as soon as I hint at the coconut, her eyes light up. Would I recognize the flavor of coconut if it weren't on the label? It's a testament to restraint and skill that the flavor of the coconut is as subtle as it is. It compliments the hops and adds a element of savoriness that's entirely unique. The aggressive hop bill lingers around the edges of my tongue, and the occasional sliver of toasted coconut flavor enlivens the aftertaste.

 

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Baxter Brewing Window Seat Porter (Lewiston, ME)

Format: 12 oz. can

ABV: 6.0%

Availability: Unknown

Tasting Notes: Pours a murky brown with an off-white head. Aroma has coconut, coffee and vague sweetness. The first sip is sweet, fortified with the subtle flavor of toasted coconut. It's not too sweet, it's more rich and opulent. There's unsweetened cocoa, burnt coffee, and some molasses in there. For all the dark flavors, the body is surprisingly light and easy to quaff. Combined with the natural sweetness of the coconut, the Window Seat is one of the few dark beers I'd recommend for a refreshing summer sipper.

 

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