The title to this post is an attempt to channel MC Hammer. I guess is doesn’t work by just replacing the word “hammer” with any other word. Hammer time was a wonderful time where baggy pants and sideways dancing were all we needed to rock out. Hammer time was good. Unfortunately the days of hammer time have passed. I’d like to think they can be replaced by Porter time.
Porter’s are in they’re most simplest form I like to think of a porter as a dark beer that is a notch or two back from a stout. However that is a gross generalisation. Hang on I’m going to grab a porter out of the fridge so i can better continue this post in a more informed manner.
There that’s better, just cracked a Viven Porter. OK now what is a porter? There is a whole history thing that points the origin of porter to mixing the dregs of barrels of beer and giving the resultant beer to guys who carried bags, porters. This is a nice historical reference however i doubt that the beers we now call porters bare any resemblance to those mixed barrel porters. Ray Daniels gives an excellent overview of the history of porters in his book “Designing Great Beers“. This is an excellent book by the way, and as Ray actually knows his stuff read his book for a more in depth answer than mine. I think it is basically a rich black/brown chocolatey roasty beer. It wont have the blackness or roasty bitterness that stouts often have, perhaps it could be described as stout that has been turned down a bit? say from 11 down to 7.
Anyway I like porters, and that goes for the one I’m drinking right now, Viven porter. I’ve tried their IPA previously and quite enjoyed that. Same goes for this beer, a black chocolaty beer with a real roasty sweetness to it. It kind of tastes like stout with coffee ice cream in it (I know this because I’ve had it, coffee ice cream float, excellent). It has a background off roasty bitterness but I’m not getting much, if any hop character. This is a smooth beer. If you are looking for a good beer to get your centre for what a porter is I think this is a good start. Perhaps do a side by side with a bottle of Coopers Best Extra Stout to experience the slim difference that is Stout V Porter. If you want to get some of the Viven beers go to Slow Beer, that’s where I got these from.
Well its not hammer time, but for me right now, until the end of this glass at least I am having porter time. Stop. Oh and I think I’ll brew a porter this weekend.
PS – if you do decide to hammer it up and have a porter let the bloody thing warm up before you drink it otherwise you might as well tip it out and have a lemonade instead. These dark beers need a little warmth to let them wake up and come alive. Let it have at least 10- 15 minutes out of the fridge before you drink it