Tasting Notes returns to completely obliterate the midweek hump by taking a look at Last Snow Coconut and Coffee Porter from Funky Buddha Brewery (Oakland Park, Florida).
Released twice a year -typically in February and September – as a Little Buddha Small Batch offering, Last Snow is Funky Buddha’s way of book-ending the harsh, sub-70 degree “winters” experienced in Florida. This “rich, creamy Porter” is brewed with “coconut and freshly-roasted coffee for a taste that recalls a winter wonderland.” Although packed with flavor, the beer’s surprisingly low 6.4% ABV creates an easy-drinking experience that you can enjoy all season long. Since Last Snow happens to be one of Funky Buddha’s more popular releases, odds are that bottles from this last release have all been bought up by now. Hope still remains though. I have recently seen this brew available on draft at a few beer bars and growler stations around Tampa, and Funky Buddha has it listed as “On Tap Now” at the brewery’s taproom.
Alright, enough talk. It’s time to open this bomber, pretend drinking this beer is “work” and take down some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for Last Snow Coconut & Coffee Porter from Funky Buddha Brewery
Appearance: Last Snow fills the glass with an incredibly glossy black, completely opaque body. Held to direct light, the color holds with just a tinge of rusty brown presenting itself at the extreme edges of the liquid. The beer is too dark to identify a carbonation level. The pour produced two fingers of light brown foam. This head is loose and eventually dissipates to allow the beer’s darkness to shine from all angles.
Aroma: As my nose approaches the glass, I am delighted to be greeted by a spot-on toasted coconut aroma. This note is rich and downright intoxicating. Roasted coffee and fine chocolate soon emerge to swirl about and provide an added level of decadence to the coconut. A slight caramelized brown sugar presence then develops to round off an aromatic profile that is ridiculously reminiscent of German chocolate cake. Simply amazing.
Taste: The luxurious, rich and flavorful toasted coconut icing you find on German chocolate cake leads the way, but the beer then begins to take on another identity as it opens up. The coffee assumes a larger role here by providing a hefty dose of beautiful roast and subtle bitterness. Dark chocolate rides that bitterness out and lays down a bit of sweetness as well. Caramel, toffee and bit of hazelnut finishes the experience off.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level, this Porter proves to be much lighter than you would ever expect. The beer does cling to the palate a bit, but this is a welcomed characteristic because it allows you to bask in each and every note provided by the flavor experience. The ABV is surprisingly light and well hidden. Notes of coconut and coffee linger as the aftertaste.
Final Thoughts: So . . . yeah, I can easily declare that Last Snow Coconut & Coffee Porter is one of the best flavored Porters I have encountered during my lengthy craft beer journey. Until now, I have never experienced such a fresh and clean coconut flavor in a finished beer. Usually there is a bit of a plastic-like, artificial character to the coconut that just can’t seem to be circumvented. This is not the case here because Funky Buddha obviously figured it out and absolutely nailed it. The coconut note would be enough to sell me on this brew, but then we have that coffee presence. Coming across beautifully roasted and high-end, the aromatics and flavors of the chosen coffee are the perfect complement to that coconut. The final surprise – and possibly the most impressive feat achieved by this offering – is that so much flavor was stuffed into a pretty low ABV Porter. So many breweries would have pushed this thing to the area of 10% or above without a second thought, but not Funky Buddha. It is clear that they took their time with Last Snow, laid it down gently in the sweet spot, and effectively killed it with laser-guided precision. I want more. Now. Please? Prost!