Beers infused with fruits and other flavorings can be interesting and delicious--so long as the flavor is well-integrated and doesn't overshadow the actual beer flavor.
While browsing for some wine to restock my rack, I also perused the create-your-own-six-pack section of my local beer and wine store, and noticed a Vanilla Porter made in Colorado by Breckenridge Brewery. It's brewed in the traditional method, so there is some dark chocolate flavor , but the brewmasters have also included real vanilla beans from Madagascar and Papua New Guinea. I picked up a few single bottles (I wasn't ready to commit to a full six pack...)
We tried it the other night, and the first sip was surprising--the vanilla flavor was definitely there, but it wasn't over the top or cloyingly sweet. Unfortunately, I didn't get the "smooth" finish that the label promised. To me, it was a bit too hoppy (i.e. bitter.). But if you like dark beers and want something a bit different, the Vanilla Porter can be a fun choice for cooler weather.