Home Beer We should all swipe right on porters

We should all swipe right on porters

Reliable, versatile and complex, porters shouldn't be overlooked.

Photo by Jess Suworoff for DRAFT

Photo by Jess Suworoff for DRAFT

Each first Friday of the month, beer bloggers and writers can choose to participate in The Session, a chance for all of us to weigh in on a specific topic (I’ve previously written on the topic of beer and health). This month, the subject is simply ‘porter.’

Wait … porter? Admittedly, I first thought this was a boring choice. Articles and books have already been written about the style’s working-class British roots, its relation (or not) to stout, etc. “Kind of a snooze, maybe I’ll sit this one out,” I thought.

But I mulled it over further, sipping Double Mountain‘s returning Carrie Ladd Steamship Porter, a sort of hybrid Baltic/robust porter fermented with Czech lager yeast at ale temperatures. Porters are actually some of my go-to beers, roasty and balanced, easy-drinking and food-friendly, without all the bravado and intensity of stouts. They’re some of the beers you’re most likely to find in my home fridge during cooler months. I appreciate their very necessary place in the beer landscape. So I stand (type?) before you a contrite drinker, owning up to my mistake in undervaluing this workhorse style’s merits.

As penance, I offer up this ode to porters, who I’m now totally crushing on:

Porter, if you were on a dating app, I’d swipe right. I’ll admit, I didn’t notice you first at the bar; your older brother, Stout, steals the limelight (Was that him singing karaoke to “Bittersweet Symphony” at the pub?). But I did see you! You’re the cute British one, right? With the Russian cousin?

My friend says you’re here on a visa, working to support yourself; I think that’s really noble. I saw you noshing on a plate of fish ‘n’ chips near closing time—those are my favorite. I feel like you’d be just as happy with a burger as with a really expensive steak. That’s my kind of person.

You did seem kind of dark and brooding; maybe that’s just me interpreting your thoughtful nature? I could tell you were having a good time at the pub, but you seemed like a substantial person who’d linger over a pint or three and get philosophical. (That’s OK; I have thoughts about Derrida, too!) Oh, and do you smoke? It’s no big deal if you do … I thought maybe a caught a whisper of it on you, but maybe that was just your friend.

I think it’s cool how versatile you seem, like you’re equally at home with that pack of rugby dudes as you are with those law-school grads. I guess what I’m saying is that you seem complex, with a lot of facets to your personality. My friend says you’re reliable, which is a big plus. Your brother, Stout, for example? Everyone knows he’s brash and bold but kind of flaky, if you know what I’m saying. He’s a hard person to invite out all the time; sometimes I just don’t need that intense a personality, you know?

Anyway, Porter, I think you’re alright. Want to grab dinner some time soon? I’ve been meaning to cook burgers and they need a good pint to hang with.



Kate Bernot is DRAFT’s beer editor. Reach her at kate.bernot[at]draftmag.com.

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