- Geary's London Porter: This New England beer pours a deep mahogany under a fine mocha head fed by a moderately active carbonation. The water is soft and even chalky over which the beer builds layers of chocolate, biscuit, coffee, twiggy hops, graininess, licorice and plummy notes in tight tangy strata. This is a very quaffable ale due to the chocolate cake effect enforced by the creamy hop, moderate body and light 4.2% touch. Really appealing even if 6% of BAers are not content. The brewery speaks about the beer here.
- Tom Paine Original Old Porter: This one pours a lace leaving dark mocha head over mahogany ale. The first thing I think of is rummy, a good note of black rum. Maybe a little less complex - or perhaps just less tight - than the Geary's but with a notch more tang. It is opening up nicely over a bit of time. Chocolate and Christmas cake, cream sherry, dry fig and date. As well as good grainy rich biscuitiness. Again, moreish with the soft watery body. From Harvey and Son of Lewes, England. All the BAers love this one.
- Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter: Justin and Andy in the comments are not going to like this but I just do not share their dislike. This porter pours a quickly dissipating tan head over chestnut ale. A lighter take on porter by a notch with nut, cocoa and light smoke. This is really a rich brown ale or just a well-balanced smoked ale. No sour tang at all, too light in body and not enough complexity for my mind to be a porter. But no off flavours. I an quite certain I have far far worse beers. The brewer is not that helpful with background information and, as I noted, 5% of BAers are unhappy. You know, rename this something like a smoked brown and I think all would be happy - which is kind of sad if you think about it.
- Manchester Star: from J.W. Lees of Manchester since 1828 - or so the marketing says. This is the business. A tan head over mahogany ale. Pumpernickle, sour cherry, rough grain, milk chocolate and a hint of mild smoke all with cream yeast. Reminds me of East India Sherry. The body is big but no sense of the 7.3% at all with the soft water. A big sweater of a beer. Really lovely. 100% of BAers love it. Find it. Love it. Baste lamb in it. Poach salmon with it.
- Old Slug Porter: From the very excellent RCH Brewery, a slightly lighter take on porter but not as light as the Stovepipe above. Mocha head over red mahogany ale. Still rich yet hard to find a tang of any kind. Very presentable, however. Perhaps a shadow of smoke within the notes of dry chocolate - well more like choruses of chocolate. Also a slight juiciness as an upper layer over top that gives the effect of cloy cutting citrus peel without any particular fruit flavour. Cream yeast. and soft water. The body is boosted a bit by the texture of fine silty sediment, a dusting of cocoa. I do not taste the fruit noted at the BA where 2% have lost all sense of reason.
- Road Dog Scottish Porter: from Flying Dog in Colorado. This beer is a bit of a disappointment as well as, like the Otter Creek above, it is really a smoked brown. Chestnut ale under an off-white head that quickly resolves to rim and lace. Crystal malt sweetness and a note of smoke with a light but reassuring hop firmness. Chocolate and maybe a bit of lime in the hop, not unlike a note you get in Ithaca Brown but a lot more reserved. Some graininess in the texture. But no tang, no dried fruit and quite a fresh watery finish amking it a bit moreish which at 6.1% is a bit of a testament. Not a bad beer at all but hard to find the thing that says "porter" and not "brown." 8% of BAers do the thing that Lions liked but Christians did not.
- D. Carnegie & Co. Stark-Porter: Swedish. I have Swedes in the family. I have got a beer for a father-in-law of a brother-in-law based on an a conversation that went like "beer?" - "huh?" - "you know, ale?" - "err...ya-hoe! oool! ya - oool". Along with the dating of 2004, this is called starköl on the label and whatever that is, I like it. Mahogany ale with a massive mousse of a mocha head. All malt, a sort of oily dark malt. Grainy with masses of dried fruit, fig and date. Beer to drink with smoked herring with a framing hop that slides right up along beside your tongue and holds the whole thing up. A hint of the apple butter and even smoke that reminds of McEwan's Scotch and maybe a bit of the burnt raisin I noted in St. Peter's Winter Ale but without the licorice of Finland's Sinebrychoff. I like a lot. 97% of advocatonians approve.
Seven More Porters
Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.
Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."
Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."