We Tried The Dunkin’-Harpoon Collaboration For All You Donut-Beer Fans

Two years ago, well-known coffee and donut chain Dunkin’ Donuts (now just Dunkin’) collaborated with Boston’s renowned Harpoon Brewery to release a beer made with chain’s Espresso Blend Coffee. It was called Harpoon Dunkin’ Coffee Porter and it tasted exactly like it sounds — sweet, rich, and full of roasted coffee flavor. This year, the brands decided to up the ante a bit. While the aforementioned porter is being re-released, Harpoon Dunkin’ Pumpkin Spiced Latte, Boston Kreme Stout, and the highly suspect-sounding Jelly Donut IPA are being added into the seasonal mix.

If you didn’t gather it based on the beer names, the collab sees two donut-infused beers included in this year’s offerings. The Boston Kreme Stout and Jelly Donut IPA were brewed with actual donuts. All four beers will be available on draft, in six-packs, and in the new Harpoon Dunkin’ Dozen mix pack (which gets you three cans of each flavor) starting in September.

Since it’s natural to be wary about what these borderline stunt beers taste like, we decided to sample all four. Check our tasting notes below and decide which (if any) of these brews you’re going to sip on come fall.

Harpoon Dunkin’ Pumpkin Spiced Latte

ABV: 5.2%

The Story:

It’s not fall without pumpkin beers. Harpoon turned the trope on its head by making a spiced latte ale using real pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices, and coffee.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is all pumpkin. The palate is pretty much the equivalent of taking a big gulp of autumn. There’s a lot of pumpkin flavor, is what we’re saying — sure to appeal to pumpkin spice fans.

Basically, it’s like a hybrid of a pumpkin pie and a beer. But there’s also an underlying smoky, spicy cup of coffee lingering on the finish that adds enjoyable nuance.

Bottom Line:

It’s a little stunty and in danger of getting muddled, but overall this works.

Harpoon Dunkin’ Boston Kreme Stout

ABV: 4.3%

The Story:

The Boston Kreme (or Boston Cream) is a classic donut flavor. It’s pretty much a Boston Cream Pie in donut form with chocolate frosting and a creamy center. The beer made in its honor was brewed with cacao nibs and actual Dunkin’ Boston Kreme donuts.

Tasting Notes:

The Boston Kreme donut is full of cream (obviously) and is covered in chocolate. It should come as no surprise that these flavors work well in a stout. The taste is of a classic Irish stout with the pleasing addition of rich, sweet chocolate.

A very indulgent beer — you don’t want to drink too many in a row.

Bottom Line:

Fans of classic dry Irish beers like Guinness will definitely appreciate this chocolate-centric stout.

Harpoon Dunkin’ Jelly Donut IPA

ABV: 5.7%

The Story:

While the other three make sense, this one is a real head-scratcher. This IPA was brewed with raspberry puree and actual Dunkin’ jelly donuts. There’s really not much more to say about it. If you only try one from the series, make it this one if not for the strange flavor experience alone.

Tasting Notes:

Sure, on paper this seems strange. But somehow it… kinda works?

The addition of Hüll Melon and Citra hops give this IPA the citrus boost it requires. The subtle berry jam flavors from the donut actually work well with the resinous hops to create a fresh, crisp beer.

Bottom Line:

This beer is very well rounded with the expert use of hops to temper the sweet jammy donut.

Harpoon Dunkin’ Coffee Porter

ABV: 6%

The Story:

This is the beer that was released for the last two years. It’s actually pretty decent with its combination of porter and actual espresso. It’s rich, robust, and full of coffee flavor. If it was socially acceptable, we’d start our day with a cup of this brew instead of our usual coffee.

Tasting Notes:

Comparing this beer to the other three isn’t really fair. It’s the only one that doesn’t rely on a strange flavor combination. Pairing a classic porter with espresso brings out flavors of rich coffee, sweet chocolate, English toffee, and vanilla.

Bottom Line:

This is the beer equivalent of a hot cup of coffee. The best of the bunch.