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It’s back, StyleCravers.  Beginners, snobs, sommeliers and casual drinkers rejoice, because StyleCrave’s Beer of the Week column has officially returned.  Last year, we brought you one fine, microbrewed beer each week with an unbiased review, providing some new taste adventures for your weekends.  We’re back, and we’re not alone this time…

We are joined by the good people at The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club, a subscription service that sends you a case of four different beers each month (in a pack of twelve) starting at $20.95 per shipment.  They are sponsoring this column and have provided the beer, but have given us carte blanche to say whatever we want about each beer– good or bad.  Do yourself a favor (and us, too!) and head over to BeerMonthClub.com to take a look at their offers and let us know what you think.  We absolutely love receiving this package each month, it is an absolute gem when it arrives.  We have a feeling you’ll enjoy it too!

We review our first beer from BeerMonthClub.com after the jump, so check out what we think of Atwater Block’s Vanilla Java Porter…

Atwater Block’s Vanilla Java Porter

Over the last few years, I’ve fallen head-over-heels for porter beer.  Among the best I’ve had is Original Flag Porter, a beer I reviewed on GearCrave in May of 2008.  When it comes to good porter, we want it as close to the original recipe as possible.  We want it dark and malty with a hint of chocolate– and we also want it drinkable.  So when I was faced with tasting a porter that had vanilla flavoring, I was more than skeptical– I was downright cynical.  How dare they try and sugar-coat my favorite style of beer with vanilla and “java”?  Porter is a beer of the pub, not of the coffee shop…

Color me surprised, as Atwater’s Vanilla Java Porter was more than just drinkable, it actually holds up quite well against porters without the added flavoring.  Having tasted other porters that have involved vanilla and other flavoring, this is actually a success in that niche.  Traditional porter fans will not be turned off by this one, its actually a welcome departure from your standard pour.  Those who actually like this niche of beer, hybrid/flavored porters, will find this amongst the better beers of that group.  In short, if you find yourself in a mood for porter and want to try something different, its definitely worth giving Atwater Block’s Vanilla Java Porter a chance to surprise you.

Be sure to check out The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club– and come back next week as we review our next pick from the club!