American Porter

Founders Porter

Beer No. 56 – Founders Porter

Too often in a fit of “oh shit the baby’s going to wake up, poop everywhere and need to be changed, fed and played with” I don’t let the beer mellow, to come down a few degrees. I started this review in haste before deciding to take my own advice. Glad I did.

STYLE: American Porter

ABV: 6.5%

LOOK: Unremarkable, the midpoint between oily and soda. An appalling lack of lacing. What head?

NOSE: We’re off to a rather good start. Over a foot away, I can smell the chocolate and red fruits as it pours. Better as it warms. Smoother too. We’ve gone from metallic to mid-range coffee.

MOUTH: It settles into coffee and lightly burnt malts. Not the extraordinary failure I thought it was at first. Medium body, dirty, barn doors, green pear. It has to be sessionable, but not because the ABV is relatively low. It simply lacks something robust, be it flavor or texture.

Beeradvocate Rating: 95

ratebeer Rating: 100

Hayward Abbey Rating: 82


Rogue Mocha Porter

Beer No. 43 – Rogue Mocha Porter

I don’t want to let it goad me, but I did just eat a Drumstick, courtesy of the eight pack picked up by my full-term and still-glowing wife this weekend. It shouldn’t affect this review, but, you know, there it is.

I’ve been telling a few confidants about this blog, which inevitably leads them to ask what my favorite beer is. Tough question, and I tend to answer more broadly, in styles – Belgians, DIPAs, Imperial Stouts. This decent brew, while none of the above, once again proves that there are qualities – and balance – in a softer, often-overlooked category.

STYLE: American Porter

ABV: 5.3%

LOOK: It takes a minute or so for the two-finger head to settle down. Dotted carbonation buttresses a puffy topper where the bubbles pop slowly, methodically. The color, purpley black.

NOSE: Hershey Bars, caramel, cream cheese, and red berries. Sweet smoke, seductive.

MOUTH: Iced coffee, mineral water, grill plates, garden dirt. All of which I mean in the best possible way. The lightly bitter wee bite is a nice counterpoint to the smokey sweet aroma. Balance is the key, with hops you can actually taste. An unusual but welcome addition to Porterland.

Beeradvocate Rating: 87

ratebeer Rating: 96

Hayward Abbey Rating: 88

Anchor Porter

Beer No. 38 – Anchor Porter

Smack in the middle of good, I would definitely drink it again. Quite light and sessionable, though a bit like a room missing a few accent pieces.

STYLE: American Porter

ABV: 5.6%

LOOK: Typically black with an atypical reddish hue. A lightly carbonated, condom-sized foam oyster settles in the middle, khaki on the outer edge and darker khaki in the middle. Yes, it’s thin – about right for the style.

NOSE: Reminds me of a less complex Belgian Quad. Dark fruit, primarily raisin and currants. Also honey and vanilla, though they aren’t manning the ship.

MOUTH: Follows the nose. Dark fruit with a puppy-like bite. It slips quietly, almost effortlessly, down my throat. That little nip lingers on the front of my tongue, a touch of coffee and charcoal that comes, I think, from the roasted malts. I can see myself drinking a few these in early December – gearing up for the holidays and the fuller, more complex brews that come with the season.

Beeradvocate Rating: 92

Hayward Abbey Rating: 84

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

Beer No. 8 – Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

STYLE: American Porter

ABV: 4.7%

LOOK: I was justifiably worried when the short head dissolved to nothing within seconds. Runny, really, though the color is nice. Roasted coffee on top and lighter down the glass.

NOSE: Coffee, vanilla, malty, dark cherries.

MOUTH: Cloying vanilla, faint grapes and cherries, dry but subtle tobacco finish. There seems to be a hokey trend among larger “craft” breweries of adding flavors instead of developing them, and that’s a problem if you ask me. “Brewed with real vanilla beans” is supposed to be a selling point. Maybe it is in some circles. But to me this watery mouthful tastes like a flat vanilla soda begging for some body.

Beeradvocate Rating: 80

Hayward Abbey Rating: 75