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Style Guide: Porters

Porters represent a small portion of the overall brewing market but are beloved by those who enjoy dark, roasty beers that are great for cold winter nights, and that drink like a meal. They were the first industrial-scale brewed beers and were wildly popular across Europe for their flavor and alcohol content for many years.

Northstar Liquor Superstore is one of the best beer stores in all of Northern Colorado, offering over 1,600 different SKUs of craft, domestic, and imported beers. In addition to having a great selection of your favorite craft beer, we also have an expert staff who can assist you in finding your new favorite brew. We also offer local delivery services. Stop by and pick up a porter today.

Origin Story

The story goes that one of the most popular beers in England during the 18th Century was called “three threads.” “Three threads” was a combination of a young beer, an aged beer, and a strong beer mixed together. Beers that were later brewed specifically to imitate this style and flavor became known as porters, which supposedly get their name from their popularity with street and river porters.

This beer was brewed at the peak of the industrial revolution and was the first mass-produced beer, all but driving other types of beer right out of the market until lighter tastes prevailed almost 100 years later.

Brown Porters

Brown porters are very dark beers that hint at caramel and chocolate in their taste profile. They tend to be maltier as opposed to hoppy, and only the most distinguished palates can pick out the hops that were used in their brewing. They are light to medium-bodied beers that clock in at 4.5%-6% ABV and no more than 30 IBUs.

  • Icon Blue – Saint Arnold Brewing Co.; Houston, TX
  • London Brown – Portsmouth Brewery; Portsmouth, NH
  • Brown Porter – Hair of The Frog; Grand Rapids, MI

Robust Porters

Robust porters share many of the same characteristics but tend to taste more bitter or even slightly burnt. They have much more body and pack a heavier punch at anywhere from 5%-7% ABV and as much as 40 IBUs.

  • Puppy’s Breath – Cigar City Brewing; Tampa, FL
  • Homework Series #6 – Ballast Point; San Diego, CA
  • Schlafly Robust Porter – Saint Louis Brewery; St. Louis, MI

American Style Imperial Porters

This style of Porter is jet black, deeply chocolate malt flavored, and can reach alcohol content levels of as much as 12% by volume. Although they are more bitter than their lighter bodied cousins, they still rarely exceed 50 IBUs.

  • Gonzo – Flying Dog Brewery; Frederick, MD
  • Nefarious Ten Pin – SKA; Durango, CO
  • Imperial Porter – Thomas Hooker Brewing Co.; Bloomfield, CT

Smoked Porters

Smoked porters can be of any variety, but have smoked, not just baked malt grains, giving them a flavor quality that some people describe as a campfire, rubber, or bacon.

  • Smoked Porter – Alaskan Brewing Co.; Juneau, AK
  • Class of ‘88 – Deschutes Brewery; Bend, OR
  • Chipotle Smoked Porter – Pipeworks Brewing Co.; Chicago, IL

Baltic Porters

Unlike the other porters on this list — which are ales —  the Baltic Porter is a lager. Fermented at a lower temperature, this style of craft beer produces a smoother style porter that typically ranges between 7.5%-9.5% ABV and no more than 40 IBUs.

  • Fade To Black, Vol. 2 – Left Hand Brewing Co.; Longmont, CO
  • Winter Brew – Old Dominion Brewing Co.; Dover, DE
  • Saboteur – Gigantic Brewing Co.; Portland OR

Get Your Favorite Porter And More At Northstar Liquor Superstore

If you love porters or want to determine if this beer of the working man is right for you, then swing by our Johnstown beer store today. Our knowledgeable staff can help point you in the right direction.