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Friday, July 01, 2011

Open Thread Friday: Your Best Porters

Note: post updated with my thanks.

One of the most difficult tasks in writing a comprehensive beer book is locating appropriate examples of style. The problem isn't that there aren't any good ones, it's that there are way, way too many. Worse, a lot of them are being made in places like Michigan and New York (not to mention Copenhagen and London)--that is, far beyond the gaze of my weak eyes. Sometime in the middle of one of this week's nights, I woke up with an idea: why not crowdsource it? So your task, should you be so generous as to help me out, is to list a half dozen or so of your favorite examples of the week's style. I will use them to narrow down my search.

The book is structured around styles, and it ends with a list of beers that are good examples. I obviously want very good beers, but that can't be the sole criteria. The beers need to be relatively available to people who read the book, and at least some of the beers have to be available across the country. Finally, they should be regular, established beers that will still be in production when the book comes out. Except in the case of obscure styles, I'm trying to avoid brewpubs or very tiny breweries that don't distribute out of their home state. International examples are welcome and necessary, but they need to be imported to the US.

I have no idea if people will participate, so this may be a one-time thing. I hope not. I'm working on porters right now, so let's start there. So far, the examples I think are serious contenders include these:
  1. Anchor Porter
  2. Deschutes Black Butte Porter
  3. Fuller's London Porter, and
  4. (coincidentally) Geary's London Porter
What am I missing?


Update. Wow! This is an astounding response. I see it's absolutely critical that I track down Founders, Meantime, Porterhouse Plain, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald (which was already on the "must find" list), Bell's, and O'dell's. There are a number of others on the list I have noted down--I'll keep my eyes peeled for those, too. Special kudos/thanks to Flagon of Ale, who is exactly right about the Yuengling. It deserves notice somewhere.

37 comments:

Cracker said...

My absolute favorite session Porter is Founder's. Perfect to me.

Andy Crouch said...

From experience, your best bet is to use BA & RB and figure out how to filter the geek speak out. It's not easy but is much more helpful than soliciting fav's from the crowd. More empirical as well.

My $.02...

Best,

Andy

Jason said...

Love Anchor and Black Butte. Also love Kona's Pipeline Porter and Laurelwood's Treehugger Porter.

The Beer Nut said...

Meantime London Porter would deffo be on my list. Do you guys get that? Also Porterhouse Plain Porter -- gold medal in the Brewing Industry International Awards 1998 and 2011, imported to the US, and chuffing tasty to boot.

fermnation said...

Definitely Black Butte and Fullers. Also agree with Meantime and would add Sam Smith's Taddy Porter. If you want to include Baltic Porters, Okocim or Sinebrychoff. It just so happens these are all BJCP listed commercial examples.

Anonymous said...

Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter

Hill Farmstead Everett Porter.

Problem with such limitations in onlý wanting distributed ones is that you aren't truly getting the best then and let's say its only distirubted in one state or at a brewpub I would use that reference if I ever found myself in those states and wanted something new.

Joe said...

Bourbonic plague. Forgrt just porters. Best beer i have ever had.

Ben said...

Gotta go with ølfabrikken porter from Denmark.

Paul! said...

Meantime should be on the list, as it is the only real "London style" porter we get in these parts.

The Beer Nut said...

I think it should be on the list because it tastes nice.

Harth said...

Bell's Porter. I have found no replacement.

Ben said...

Had a discussion about it recently on another beer site. Founders Porter is one many agreed was excellent and highly available. Summit Great Northern Porter is on the list too. Tyranena Chief Blackhawk and Barley John's Old 8 Porter.

Craig said...

Hambleton's Nightmare. I just love that stuff.

Craig said...

Oh, and the little know Chatham Porter, Chatham Brewing Co., out of Chatham NY

Jeff Alworth said...

Folks, this is fantastic! My shopping list grows...

(Andy, the ratings sites are useful in some cases, but I trust readers here more. Also, it's impossible to tell how available beers are on BA without going through three or four dozen by hand. I find they tend to over-rate some beers and under-rate others. This gives me another data point. Or points.)

It's especially nice to have at least one international advice-offerer, too.

DA Beers said...

I was going to add Samuel Smiths Taddy, but I see Fermnation beat me to it.

For nontraditional how about Alaskan Smoked Porter?

timdogg said...

My favorite porter ever is St. Peter's.
http://www.stpetersbrewery.co.uk/store/product.asp?s=Ya2j9n236807&strParents=69&CAT_ID=76&P_ID=150

Jack R. said...

Firestone Walker Robust Porter; 45 IBUs; 5.9% ABV; Elegant dark ale; robust toffee, caramel, bittersweet chocolate flavors; smooth, complex.

Jack R. said...

Box Steam Brewery's Funnel Blower [Vanilla] Porter is a multiple award winner [Wiltshire, UK].

kristin said...

St. Bridget's Porter by Great Divide.

Anonymous said...

Definitely Edmund Fitz, and I agree with Cracker, Founders is my absolute favorite.

Foggy Noggin Brewing said...

Foggy Noggin Brewing's (Bothell, WA) Christmas Duck (Porter) has to be in the top list of Porter's. This beer is an English traditional style and Foggy Noggin is making authentic English Ales.

Matt said...

Gotta go with Firestone Walker Walker's Reserve Porter or my all-time favorite - Sam Smith Taddy Porter.

Anonymous said...

Three Creek's Five Pine Chocolate Porter is Awesome!!

Anonymous said...

BlackJack Porter - Left Handed Brewery

Flagon of Ale said...

I love this idea. I think you have a good list there. Geary's is one of the best American porters out there for my money. Edmund Fitzgerald is good while being completely different too.

Yuengling Porter is almost certainly worth mentioning as I think it is (or at least has ties to being) the oldest existing Porter in America.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy Black Butte Porter. Maui Coconut Porter is nice too. Not a reg porter but tasty none the less

Jon said...

Renaissance Elemental Porter is excellent, though it does not meet the criteria of being widely available. (It's from NZ)

Anonymous said...

+1 on Olfabrikken, Edmund Fitz, Bell's, Anchor, Fuller's, Firestone, and Summit Great Northern.

Odell Cutthroat Porter makes the cut in my book too for a traditional robust porter. If we start including spiced, caffeinated, or imperial, the list grows quickly.

Jeff D. from The Big said...

Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald

512 Pecan Porter

And for something widely available in Pendleton, OR...Prodigal Son Bruce/Lee

Anonymous said...

Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald

brewvana said...

Great Lakes' Edmund Fitzgerald, Odell's Cutthroat, Duck-Rabbit Porter, Black Butte and Fuller's London

Jim F said...

Porter is one of my favorite styles of beer. My current fave is the one made by Everybody's Brewing. Damn near perfect.

Kevin said...

Jeff,

If you're looking to spend even more money, you should probably add Zywiec (Poland), Baltika #6 (Russia), Black Boss (Poland), Harviestoun's Old Engine Oil (Scotland) and Nøgne Ø (Norway) to your shopping list.

While maybe not THE BEST porters in the world, they are all unique brews and great snap shots of how 'Porter' is currently interpreted around the world.

Cheers!
Kevin
Beer and Coding

Anonymous said...

Black Butte is definitely one of my favorites, and it is widely available. My favorite porter overall is the (512) Pecan Porter from Austin, Texas.

Jack R. said...

Odell - Cutthroat Porter

In his 01 July 2011 post blog post, The BeerNut judges Odell's Cutthroat Porter 'up there with the best of American porters I've met'.
http://thebeernut.blogspot.com/2011/07/looking-for-redemption.html

Anonymous said...

Founders Porter and Bell's Porter are both superb. I'm enjoying a Founders right now.

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