You wouldn't think a little sugar would be so controversial. In the past three years, so-called "pastry stouts" have filled taplists with maple and muffin beers—think Great Notion when it's not hazy.
But even as the top-rated beers from Beer Advocate fill up with "Kentucky Brunch" coffee stout and marshmallow Dark Lord, the Chicago Tribune sniffs that craft fans have been caught "forgetting what beer tastes like." So far, the trend has hit the Midwest and East Coast a lot harder than the Belgian- and hop-happy Northwest. Portland's Breakside Brewery is late to the pastry party, but also a pretty good dancer. Their new Nutella Porter tastes a lot like its Italian namesake, a sweet and nutty spread responsible for a quarter of the world's hazelnut consumption.
Early tastes of the beer were aggressive to the point of cloying, but it's mellowed over the past few weeks into a filbert accent that doesn't overtake the malt base—Nutella on brioche rather than eaten with a spoon. And sure, this beer has little to do with what I want from beer, but candy also has very little to do with what I want from food. It still tastes pretty good.