In a series of cold weather beers, Porters are an underrated category. Usually taking a back seat to its close relative, the stout, Porters are just as dark, but instead of being brewed with unmalted roasted barley, Porters are brewed with malted barley. They are lighter bodied and tend to be more subtle with their chocolate and coffee flavors compare to the big, bold flavor punch from the stout. It’s not always true, but more so than not, it is (don’t argue with me just to argue, I’ll just say you’re right and then talk behind your back). Here is a list of 10 worth checking out, if Porters are your thing.
Edmund Fitzgerald- Great Lakes Brewing
If you live in the Midwest, and you are fan of Porters, you are quite familiar with Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Edmund Fitzgerald. Robust and complex, with a bittersweet chocolate-coffee note aroma and flavor. This is the standard bearer of the traditional Porter. 6.0% ABV, and 12 World Championships under its belt for good reason. This beer is definitely not a shipwreck.
Founder’s Porter- Founder’s Brewing
The funny thing about Founder’s Porter is that they made it by request of their most loyal fans, but it wasn’t an important style to them at the time of its creation. Founder’s is excellent at making Imperial Stouts like Kentucky Breakfast Stout and Canadian Breakfast stout so a Porter should be right up their alley. It seems so crazy to me that Founder’s made it so passively, because as far as craft porters go, this is one of the best. Pours silky black with strong notes of chocolate and caramel and a it definitely doesn’t shy away from hops. 6.5% ABV and enjoyable to the last sip.
Black Butte- Deschutes Brewing
Deschutes was one of the Holy Grail breweries sought after in Michigan at the beginning of the craft beer movement. it took them years to come, and as a bar owner, I thought they may have missed their window of success, but then I am reminded that cream often rises to the top. Black Butte Porter has more than earned its bold reputation with notes of chocolate and coffee with a soft and creamy mouthfeel. 5.5% ABV. This will always be a classic in the Porter category.
No Rules- Perrin Brewing
In an era when Imperial Stouts were all the rage, Perrin Brewing No Rules had to be a bit different by being an Imperial Porter. In honor of the “Big Lebowski”, and I have no idea why (unpopular opinion, The Big Lebowski is very overrated), No Rules is described as having the flavor of a mounds candy bar, that’s been dipped over and over again in rich chocolate and soaked in bourbon. Flavors of coconut, cinnamon, toffee, vanilla, and coffee are all present and at one time, this beer was named “Top Beer in the World”. At 15% ABV, it’s best to share it, or drink it over a long period of time. Its complexity and flavors change as its temperature changes. It’s a sipper, if ever there was one.
Coconut Hiwa- Maui Brewing
I have been to Hawaii twice over the last 5 years, and if I could describe paradise on earth, Hawaii would be a pretty close description. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of those trips, but even so, there is no denying why Coconut Hiwa Porter is so good. If you are going to add coconut to a beer, Porter is a perfect style, and who can argue about its greatness when the brewery is located in Hawaii, and coconuts are pretty fresh there. It’s just science! Aromas and flavors of fresh coconut and coffee with a sweet and subtly spicy finish. 6.0% ABV and it might be the best fruit flavored Porter in the world.
Smoked Porter- Alaskan Brewing
“Rauchbier” is German for “smoke flavored beers” which were virtually unknown in the United States until Alaskan Brewing Company Smoked Porter was developed in 1988. Working with smoke in beer is very difficult because if too much is used, it tastes like a cigarette that was extinguished in a glass of water. Alaskan has perfected it though, subtly giving you a smoky essence without overbearing. Dark and robust and produced in limited vintages each November. 6.5% ABV and pairs great with so many different foods from dessert, seafood, and bleu cheese. Versatile, indeed.
Maple Bacon Coffee Porter- Funky Buddha Brewing
During the expansion of craft beer, more and more breweries began to experiment with stretching the limits of what you could do with beer. Taking chances is risky (I once had a chips and salsa beer. It was spot on, but if you think about drinking tortilla chips and salsa, it’s pretty disgusting), but when it pays off, magic can happen. Funky Buddha Brewing Maple Bacon Coffee Porter is one of those magical instances. Flavors are exactly what you would expect; smoky bacon, sweet maple syrup, and bold coffee. 6.4% ABV and it’s a complete diner style breakfast in a glass.
Everett- Hill Farmstead Brewing
I can’t get this Porter in Michigan. I am lucky enough that people who come to Shakespeare’s Pub on a regular basis bring me things they have discovered upon their travels. Hill Farmstead Brewing Company’s Everett Porter is one of those things. Unfiltered, naturally carbonated with a complex backbone of chocolate, coffee, and malty sweetness. 7.2% ABV and definitely the “Craft beer snobs” Porter. If I never have it again, I will take this time to remember its greatness if only in my memory.
Catharsis- Tree House Brewing
Tree House Brewing once did a collaboration with Short’s Brewing and spent some time at Shakespeare’s hanging out. I was lucky enough to have tried some of their beers at that time, and Catharsis Porter was one of them. Flavors and aromas of cocoa powder, fudge, caramel, and dark chocolate with a hearty body. Robust, yet pleasant rather than overly bold. 7.4% ABV, if you find yourself on the East Coast, look for it!
Awake- Night Shift Brewing
Maybe it’s an East Coast thing, but Massachusetts definitely a hot spot for great Porters. Night Shift Brewing Company’s Awake is no exception to that rule. Made with house roasted coffee beans, aromas of toffee and cacao leading into rich flavors of coffee and baker’s chocolate finishing with a hint of sweetness. 6.7% ABV and a perfect marriage of coffee and beer.
Any other Porters you think should be on this list? Please feel free to comment. I am always looking for something new and amazing to try! Please take a moment to check out my affiliates linked below! They have some cool stuff too! Thanks for reading!The BroBasket – Awesome Alcohol Gift Baskets https://boozedust.com/products/variety-pack