Well today is a gloomy, rainy and dark day outside. So I have decided to fast forward a little as far as seasonal beers go and feature Founders Porter from Grand Rapids, Michigan as my beer of the week. Porters are typically full bodied, top fermenting beers which originated in London in 1722. The average ABV ranges from 4-7%, the beer is dark brown in colour with a creamy head. Porters tend to have a full mouth feel with notes of chocolate and roasted undertones. The style of beer is considered to be the first industrial beer because of the era it was born in, its popularity amongst workers and its manufactured quality. Originally bartenders would mix the beer from three different taps, when the style grew in popularity brewers began perfecting the blend and selling it in a single keg. Porters and stouts are often confused by even the most seasoned beer drinkers. Mainly porters can contain more hop/bitterness than stouts and can be a bit lighter. I will paraphrase a fellow beer blogger, Becoming The Brewer, who wrote about the difference between porters and stouts in a very succinct way and that is history. Porter was the father and stout was the son who grew in popularity and eventually dethroned the father. American porters tend to have more hop/bitterness and can be stronger in alcohol than their English counter parts. Porters are seeing a resurgence in popularity in recent years, especially in the fall and winter months. They pair well with rich, chocolate desserts and with sweet, caramelized ribs or gamey meats.
Founders Porter, Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI
Boasting that the brew is dark, rich and sexy on the label had me hooked when I saw it at the LCBO (although it is currently unavailable due to the season) as well as the vintage painting of a demure woman. This beer was number 4 on Ratebeer.com for best porters as voted by over 1600 people when this post was posted and has gotten numerous other nods on similar beer ranking sites. Here are the stats and my notes on the brew:
Colour: Black/brown, completely opaque with a creamy, light brown frothy top at first pour that dissipates after a minute or so.
Smell: Chocolate, coffee, smoke, charcoal, caramel and pepper.
Taste: Heavy, yet velvety mouth feel, coffee grinds, dark chocolate, rum chocolates, creme brûlée and nutty flavours with a heavy and lingering finish of coffee and caramel.
Food pairings: I would agree that this porter would pair well with ribs (braised or grilled) but I think that the best food pairing if you were going to host a dinner and feature this wonderful brew would be a rich, dense, chocolate dessert. It would be a lovely closer to a beer dinner.
I really enjoyed this delicious, hearty porter! If you have tried it let me know your thoughts by commenting or by voting below. Cheers!