Greenport Harbor Triton

Greenport Harbor Triton

Enjoyable

  • Caramel and notes of tropical fruit
  • Bitter and mildly malty; a bit coppery
  • Bitter but smooth

Pairs well with nutty semi-soft cheeses.

Mrs. Fervere, Melba, and I attended a beer tasting at Horace and Silvia’s Publick House in Babylon, NY, where Greenport Harbor Brewing was debuting Triton, a barley wine. There were about 40 people trying that and three other Greenport varieties. I’ve made it fairly clear that I enjoy barley wines, so I was eager to try it, but what was interesting to me was that most of the other patrons didn’t finish their glasses. Barley wines are really an acquired taste.

The Triton is dark amber in color and had a caramel scent, with a touch of tropical fruit. It’s bitter, even for a barley wine. Melba and Mrs. Ferment both noted that the bitterness was different from the American pale ale, Harbor Ale, that we tasted previously. And it’s true. The bitterness in barley wines is imparted from the roasted barley, the hops, and the higher alcohol content, wherein most ales, like the American pale, the hops are the significant carrier of the bitterness. Those beers have a citrusy bitterness. But the barley wines have a full-palate bitterness. They hit hard on the tongue and stay on the finish.

Triton is no exception. It’s bitter, and a bit metallic, on sipping. There is a mild malted flavor that follows, which is soft on the finish. It’s doesn’t have the lingering sweetness of other barley wines, which may be by design. It’s a strong, bitter beer.

We got to meet with John and Justin from Greenport Harbor Brewing during the tasting and expressed my gratitude that they’ve brewed something as risky as a barley wine. John, one of the founders, said that they like to brew “contentious” beers. There’s really nothing more contentious than a barley wine; although, John told us that they’re soon introducing a black IPA, which sounds pretty contentious, too.

During the tasting, the Triton was paired with a cheese platter made up of a Swiss, a port Cheddar, and a Fontana. The Triton held up very nicely to the semi-soft cheeses. Even Melba, who thought that the Triton was a bit like “a punch in the face”, said it paired well the cheeses, cutting through the fattiness and leaving the palate clean. We all gave high marks to chef Brian Fugit, from Horace and Sylvia’s, who prepared an excellent menu to pair with the beers.

As noted, we tried the Harbor Ale, as well as Black Duck Porter, during the tasting. We also had Leaf Pile, which I’ve reviewed before. The other two, I’ll review in the next couple of days, but I will say that the porter, a stout, was the best craft-brew stout I’ve had in memory.