By Kat Magy
Just in case you haven’t yet, take a moment and pinch yourself so you remember that there is a wide world of beer outside of Our Great State.
Michael at The Four Firkins was so kind as to assist us in our release into the wild by having us range far and wide for a selection of Porters to help us properly adjust to the fall weather. Because we all know the changing of seasons has nothing to do with the changing of light and temperatures and everything to do with how dark your beer is.
It’s just science, people.
Samuel Smith Taddy Porter
From the horse’s mouth, “Brewed with well water (the original well at the Old Brewery, sunk in 1758, is still in use, with the hard well water being drawn from 85 feet underground), malted barley, roasted malt, yeast and hops. Fermented in ‘stone Yorkshire squares’. “
Kat: Upon first look, it’s dark brown with a reddish undertone. I’m finding that it has a nutty scent that has a really familiar feel. The first sip is bitter with a subtle hint of something that I would call fruity, sort of in the same way that you might find a fruity tone in a bit of really dark chocolate. This is the first time I’ve tasted a beer where I really understood the phrase “biscuity.” It really rolls across the palate.
Marcus: It’s very dark brown. The nose is not very strong but what is there smells really dark, with a pronounced roasted malty note. It doesn’t taste nearly as dark as it smells, which is always surprising to me. It’s definitely a brown porter with a medium body. There’s a somewhat nutty flavor, but it’s subtle. It has a clean finish in my opinion.
Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead but what Great Lakes gives up about the Edmund Fitzgerald is that it’s, “A complex, roasty porter with a bittersweet, chocolate-coffee taste and bold hop presence.”
Kat: This is a harder read – dark brown, maybe a hint of ruby red when held up to the light fixture. Yes, I really brought the beer that close to the light in order to be able to take a look at the color. Nose-wise, it has an extremely dry breadcrust smell that borders on sweet. Taste-wise, the most prominent flavor seems to be a burnt one that evolved into an extremely dry biscuit-coffee flavor. There is a bit more carbonation than expected. It really sneaks back into your nose and tingles on the tongue afterwards.
Marcus: This beer is a solid dark brown, for those members of the group who are not going to put their beer against a light fixture. It has a stronger malty smell which is complemented by a strong, but not overwhelming, dark roasted malt taste with just a hint of coffee. Clean finish.
Succinctly named, this porter, “Pours silky black with a creamy tan head. The nose is sweet with strong chocolate and caramel malt presence. No absence of hops gives Founders’ robust porter the full flavor you deserve and expect. Cozy like velvet. It’s a lover, not a fighter.”
Kat: This beer is black as night. Surprisingly, I’m not getting a ton off the nose – it’s light and a little bit roasty. Everything about this beer is bitter, but in as a complete inverse from hoppy beers. The flavor I’m tasting the most is a sharp espresso that finishes strong but smooth.
Marcus: Since we have to give this one a color, I’ll say that it’s the darkest of the beers, with a darker head than the other two beers we poured tonight. Like other porters, the initial scent of this beer yields roasted malt undertones but I feel like there’s a mild hop note that sneaks in, too. This beer is extremely flavor-forward with a hint of chocolate and an extremely bitter finish.
This round, you have to understand that the only way we’re showing up at your party is if you have a campfire and some Hudson’s Bay blankets on offer. And maybe a pot of chili on the stove. Because it can’t hurt to ask. Assuming you’ve met these standards, here’s what we’re bringing.
1. Samuel Smith Taddy Porter
2. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
3. Founders Porter
1. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
2. Founders Porter
3. Samuel Smith Taddy Porter