Before the Industrial Revolution, if you wanted something moved, carried or delivered, a porter was your man. These manual laborers were what made 18th Century London move, and you better believe bearing the burdens of a bustling city worked up a powerful thirst. The brew of choice for this working-class was the beer named after their profession: the porter.
Regarded for fullness, potency and flavor, porters are dark complexioned’usually brown or black’ales tasting of flavors such as chocolate, coffee, molasses and licorice. Porter was among the first beers mass-produced and aged at the brewery, meaning it was ready to drink when sold. Many styles of porter are brewed around the world today including Stouts, such as Guinness.
Samuel Smith Taddy Porter 3 Pulses
Crafted in authentic porter style, this beer embodies the flavor and tradition of the original London brew. Dark, the Taddy Porter smells of floral and citrus hops alongside notes of fresh baked brownies. Amidst flavors of grains and roasted barley, big hop character rears its head to zing the sides of the tongue. Medium bodied, the Taddy Porter is a dry ale and an example of how the past once tasted. ($4.49/22oz. at Beer Depot)
As the British Empire grew, London breweries wanted to expand into the global beer market. Brews shipped from England were often created with more alcohol and roasted malt character to preserve the beer during its transport and cover brewing imperfections. People living in the countries along the Baltic Sea coast loved the English porter and soon began brewing their own versions.
Alderis Porteris 4 Pulses
Hailing from Riga, Latvia, this dark crimson porter smells of roasted barley and Nestl’ Quik. Subtle citrus hops balance with the sweet flavors of molasses and coffee. Thick and juicy is the only way to describe the full-bodied feel of this voluptuous brew. ($2.99/20.oz at CNG Wine & Spirits)
Obolon Porter 3 Pulses
From Kiev, Ukraine, the cherry cola-colored Obolon smells of brownies, caramel and alcohol spice. Citrus hops balance out the sweet coco and dark fruit flavors. Lighter than Alderis and more heavily carbonated, Obolon isn’t the best but it’s still worth a try. ($2.99/20oz at CNG)
Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter 4 Pulses
Dedicated to Hunter S. Thompson and boasting the art of Ralph Steadman, Flying Dog’s high octane (9.2% ABV), Baltic-styled porter pours like motor oil. For the nose Gonzo has lots of malts, chocolate and roasted barley aromas. Dark and sweet with rich chocolate flavors and lightly bitter hops sensation for balance, Gonzo feels plump and velvety in the mouth. ($2.49/12oz. at CNG)
Highland Brewing Co. Oatmeal Porter
For a crisp, clean flavor the brewers add a dose of oatmeal to their porter. Black in color with amber edges, Highland’s porter smells of grains and milk chocolate. One taste is enough to notice the oatmeal. The sweetness of chocolate and caramel are balanced with a hint of hop zing. ($9.99/6 pack at Beer Depot)
BBC Dark Star Porter 3 Pulses
Just north of us, in Kentucky, Bluegrass Brewing Company crafts a dark brown porter that smells of roasted barley and chocolates. Very mild on the hops with lots of chocolate and some cola flavors, this soft brew lacks assertiveness and the “punch-you-in-the-mouth’ flavor, but it’s still worth a shot. ($8.49/6 pack at Beer Depot)