Hello everyone, and welcome to another installment of the ‘Spew Brew Review’ (shit, that’s a great name, I may update all beer posts with that).
Today I’ll be reviewing my personal favorite type of beer, the porter. Much like my favorite cut of steak, the porterhouse, the name of ‘porter’ comes from the famous St Louis Cardinal catcher Darrell Porter, winner of the 1982 World Series MVP (similar origin for the name ‘porterhouse’, which came from the house of famous St Louis Cardinal catcher Darrell Porter, winner of the 1982 World Series MVP). There is alternative story of the name origin in which this style of beer was popular with street and river porters in England during the 1700’s, but that seems to outrageous.
Anyway, a porter style is a dark brew made from both brown malt and a fair share of hops, which means it has that carmel/coffee flavor like a stout. In fact they are almost one and the same, at least in the beginning they were (stouts were the heavier version of a porter). But over time, both evolved into slightly more distinct breeds; a porter is a bit lighter and hoppier.
So here they are:
1. Georgetown - 9 LB Hammer
6.4% ABV 40 IBU
Georgetown has done it again! ‘Quality’ is their nickname (although officially I believe it is ‘Hoyas’. Yes, I am going back to that joke until it is not funny….or until it is funny. Either way, the well still needs to be tapped). Classic porter; malty and rich with enough hops to break up the monotony. With a robust flavor of chocolate and coffee, this beer will make you gain 9 lbs before you know it. Heavy? Yes. Good. Yes. A fine introduction to the world of porters if you are new to the breed.
2. Leinenkugel - Snowdrift Vanilla Porter
6.0% ABV 16 IBU
Leinenkugel, out of Wisconsin, is one of the biggest craft breweries in the world!!! At least they have a great distribution team, because they actually broke into the PNW craft brew marketplace. But they broke in for good reason; they brew a good brew. And this one is maybe their best. Although not a typical porter, this thing delivers. It has a strong vanilla flavor (hence the name ‘Vanilla Porter’) which does not overpower but makes its presence known amongst the chocolate/coffee tastes. This one is the porter for the people who don’t like porters, who like porters, even for people who don’t like beer. This is an all-inclusive brew, the anti-Trump beer.
3. Elysian - Perseus Porter
5.4% ABV 47 IBU
As you well know, I am a big fan of Elysian; the biggest player in the craft brew arts in Seattle. I like their IPA’s their Dragontooth stout, and their experimental approach. The high IBU (for a porter) is also encouraging. However, this one falls flat on me. I wanted more from a brew named after the man who rode the winged horse Pegasus, cut off Medusa’s head, showed it to the Kraken, and they drop-kicked Hera for good measure. But this beer, well, it was more like Fredo-seus; just a family disappointment.
4. Alaskan Brewing - Smoked Porter
6.5% ABV 45 IBU
Nothing good comes out of Alaska; polar bears, men with big beards, Sarah Palin. But wait!!! There is one thing that is good….Alaskan Brewing Co. These guys are good. So good in fact I will not call them bad, or even average. They are good. This beer is one of their best. Now if you are unfamiliar with a smoked taste, it can be strong. And the smoke is very strong in this beer. It is like you sucked on a charcoal for about 10 minutes then french kissed a rack of smoked BBQ ribs. But porters are the only type of beer that can get away with that flavor combo. This beer is not for the weak of tongue. But if you are up for the challenge, then you will not be disappointed. It has all the standard elements of a porter, with a smoke aftertaste, and a touch of love from the good people from Juneau. Try it if you see it, it is in limited quantity.
5. Deschutes - Black Butte Porter
5.2% ABV 30 IBU
As you well know (and if you don’t you haven’t read my previous posts…asshole) Deschutes is probably my favorite craft brewery. So it stands to say their flagship beer, the Black Butte porter, would be a favorite of mine as well, especially because it is so rare for a brewery to have a porter as their primary beer. I mean it has to be good, right?
It is. It is a bit on the light side (5.2% ABV is a tad meh) but the taste is not compromised at all. It is a creamier and less robust porter than all the previous ones on here, but it is also the most drinkable. You can suck down 4 of these and not even be aware of the $20+ tab you are currently running up. It is just a good porter. Somewhat generic, but I go to the Black Butte every time they have it on tap. Now it is not the best of the Black Butte family (yes, there is a Butte family, and there will be definitely more on that later) but you are probably not the best representation of your family either, and your parents still love you right?