Beer of the Month: Kona Brewing Pipeline Porter

Beer made with roasted malts is going to remind you of other roasted flavors such as coffee. Some brewers actually throw in some coffee to punch up that quality, but the combination doesn't necessarily work. Here's a case in which it really does, and I don't think the reason is some beer equivalent of terroir (the brewery is in Kona, Hawaii, and uses local Kona coffee). The brewers just had a larger effect in mind than extra roastiness.

Like any porter, it pours very dark brown with a high tan head. The nose is strongly malty, with a touch of coffee and a tiny hint of molasses — rather less molasses than you usually find in super-dark beers. On the palate, the malt and the carbonation give a plush effect, but not exactly a mellow one. The hops and the coffee make for a suave, slightly abrasive texture, like a strong espresso.

It's a remarkably coherent effect, filling the mouth and the gripping the tongue at the same time. Despite all the malt, the rather short finish is practically dry.

This is the beer for beef, especially roast beef or pot roast. Think of it as a red wine based on malt rather than grapes.

Style: A dark, malty massage for the whole mouth

Price: $8 to $9 per six-pack

Where to find It: Red Carpet Wine in Glendale, (800) 339-0609,; Beverages and More stores,; Total Wine stores,; and Vons supermarkets,

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