Porter – Anspach and Hobday Table Porter

This week I’m reviewing a great mash up of a Table Beer (like a Table wine – Low ABV) and a London Porter from Anspach and Hobday – a relatively new brewery in Bermondsey. I tried their beers at the Winter Brew Fest and thought they were amazing. It’s nice to see them better distributed in London now!

Let’s start with Anspach and Hobday‘s description of the brew:

Best described as like an Iced Coffee (no coffee beans used), this interesting beer is a nod to the Table Beers of old London when water was more dangerous than beer. A David of the beer world, The Table Porter (2.8%) packs lots of flavour for its ABV and it also pours over vanilla ice-cream to create a great flow.

I like the description of this one, it gives you a hint of what it’s going to be like and gives you a little history behind it. I’ve never tried it over Vanilla Ice-Cream, but that might be something I’ll have to try another time. A porter with Ben and Jerry’s?! Tempting seeing as this brew is only 84 Calories… so hey! It doesn’t matter about the Ben and Jerry’s, right?!

The key to the Low-ABV in this one is to reduce the amount of 2-Row and Pale Malt but keep the specialty Malts at the same level as a normal brew. I think the specialty Malts in this one are Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Black Patent and Caramel 120. As for the hops, I got a little Citrusy tone from this one when I opened the bottle, so I’d say a subtle addition of Amarillo or Cascade could do the trick nicely!

The beer says pour carefully on the side, and I swear I did! It pours Black with an impressive Tan coloured head! It takes a good while to go down, I’ve had this experience with Table Beer before and I think it’s because of the lower ABV not annihilating as many proteins and therefore getting an impressive head. On the nose some faint Citrus, Cocoa Chocolate and Coffee. Smells like a decent, heavy Porter! I think the taste of this one is the most impressive, bundles of Roasted Malts, Coffee, Caramel with that slightly fruity Citrus kick at the end blending into some Dark Fruits. It tastes exactly like a 7.4% Porter, but you can drink it all night! The body isn’t really affected too badly for a porter, either with Medium carbonation. It finishes slightly dry. I really recommend this brew, all year round! It’s a great change from a session IPA and it’s a very tasty brew indeed.

You can Buy The Table Porter Online in the UK at:

Craved

Beer Merchants

Eebria

EST. CALORIES: 84   ABV: 2.8%

Advertisements

Smoked Beer – Danish/American: Evil Twin Ashtray Heart

Evil Twin Ashtray Heart

This Friday’s beer is a Smoked Stout by Evil Twin, called Ashtray Heart. We’ve had a Smoked Porter before, and this one is confused. On the front it states Smoked Porter, further on the back it says Smoked Stout. Who knows? All I know is Evil Twin make some great beers.

Evil Twin is run by the famous Mikkeller’s brother Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø from New York. I still feel as though he tries to keep his Danish identity, which is why I’ve declared this as a Danish beer!

Let’s start with Evil Twin‘s Description of the brew:

Amazingly rich, seductively dark and smoking good. Yes a real heartbreaker. We recommend only the truly skillful, heavyweight beer champions to battle this awfully irresistible and potent smoked Stout. Careful this satisfactory product might give you a Placebo effect.

I enjoyed this description, it’s true. It is Seductively Dark… but more on that later! Bit sensationalist in the second section, but I suppose this isn’t a great introductory beer so it makes sense! I love the reference to the Placebo song, and that’s the first thing I thought of when this beer arrived.

It was really hard to find any hints at the recipe with this one, so I had to do a lot of tasting and research. Here’s what I think is used in the beer. As this is a Porter, Stout… lets say Dark beer we’ll start with the all important Malts. Peat Smoked, Black Malt, Pale Malt, Malted Wheat, Rye Malt, Roasted Barley and Carafa Type 2. As far as Hops go, I think Mt. Hood and Centennial have been used. As you can see, a lot of Malt goes into this one, and I think that’s why it leans toward the Stout side of things!

When you pour this beer, it’s very Dark and Black with an impressive Off White head which seems to carry on forever! In fact, pouring this one normally I couldn’t fit it in my Duvel Tulip. It dissipates slowly leaving a little bit of lacing which eventually disappears completely. It’s got great retention and eventually fades to a ring around the glass whilst you’re enjoying this. On the nose, tonnes of peat smoke aromas, a little bit of Rye, Chocolate, Caramel and Toffee with a touch of Alcohol. I love Smoked Beers, so this made we want to put it straight down the hatch! On the palate, lots of Smoke to begin with, Rich Dark Chocolate, Toffee, Burnt Sugar and a little bit of a Citrusy finish. What an amazing, complex flavour. The Carbonation is pretty high for the style, but it was to be expected with this style and actually brings out the complexity in this brew. It’s smooth and finishes Medium Dry. What a beer for Spring weather, although it’s seriously smokey the other flavours in there are ridiculously balanced.

You can buy Ashtray Heart in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

Out of stock currently, but this one is worth trying so keep checking!

EST. CALORIES: 267   ABV: 8.9%

Barrel Aged Porter – Danish: Mikkeller Texas Ranger Aged in Eagle Rare Barrels

Mikkeller Texas Ranger

This Wednesday’s beer is from the Legendary Mikkeller. It’s an iteration of Texas Ranger, a Porter with Chipotle peppers added. This particular version has been aged in Eagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey casks.

Let’s start with Mikkeller‘s Description of the brew:

Ale Brewed with Chipotle Chili & Aged in Eagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey Barrels.

Quite a modest description from Mikeller, but he’s known to be quite a mellow and quiet person. I feel it lets you make your own mind up on the beer, and gives you a guideline on what to expect. I don’t think I need to say much more!

The recipe for this one is quite a basic American Porter recipe, the malts being Maris Otter Pale, Smoked, Chocolate, Cara-crystal and Brown malts. The hops in this brew are Simcoe and Northern Brewer. What really gives this it’s flavour is a generous offering of Smoked Chipotle Peppers and the fact it’s aged in the famous Eagle Rare Bourbon Barrels for 6 months after fermentation.

When you pour this beer, it’s Black with a dark Tan coloured head. The head sticks around for quite a while with good retention throughout drinking, starting medium and ending with a small head. It leaves a lot of sticky lacing around the glass on the way down. On the Nose there’s lots of Roasted Malt akin to Coffee, Caramel, Chocolate and a slightly fruity Smokey smell coming from the Chilli Peppers. On the Palate, first there’s hints of Roasted Coffee but it quickly goes into a lovely, smooth Bourbon flavour which balances out the heat from the Chipotle peppers. In the background you get Caramel, Chocolate and some Fruity and Smokey tones from the peppers. The body is quite thin, but it works well with this style. It finishes dry and a little bitter with a touch of heat coming from the Chilli Peppers.

I bought this beer from Cotteridge Wines in the UK, recently voted the UK’s best Bottled Beer shop. Unfortunately it’s the only place I have seen it! Including having a search of the web. It may be worth giving them a shout on Twitter to see if they have some, as it’s a really great brew – even if you don’t like Chilli!

EST. CALORIES: 198   ABV: 6.6%

Smoked Beer – English: Beavertown Smog Rocket

Beavertown Smog Rocket

This week’s beer is a Local one, I think I’m very lucky being quite local to the Beavertown Brewery. Over the last years they have been making a storm in the beer world and have quickly turned into a World Class Brewery in my opinion. Today’s offering is their Smog Rocket, a Smoked Porter.

Let’s start with Beavertown‘s Description of the Beer:

Inspired by London’s Industrial Revolution when Smog filled the air and the Porter was the Beer of the People. An original Home Brew Recipe using 9 different Malts including a good chunk of smoked Rauchmaltz from Bamberg, Germany. Big flavour hits of Molasses, Raisins and Caramel are cut with the Resinous US Hop Chinook. Smokey aromas fly, reminiscent of the smoke stacks of Industrial London.

I like how they’ve used their Hometown, London as an inspiration for this brew. Porter really is a beer than runs deep into London’s history and the smokeyness inspired by Industrial London is a nice touch. There’s a few notes on the flavours, but nothing in depth which is something I like. I think it’s always important for people to make their own decisions on a beer tastes.

As this is a dark beer, let’s start with the 9 malts used. In this brew we have Best, Smoke (Smoked Rauchmaltz), Caramalt, Crystal, Munich, Brown, Chocolate and Black… The last Malt is what I call a Fermantable – Oats, but I they usually produce a great mouthfeel. The hops in this Beer are Magnum and Chinook – an interesting mix for a London Inspired Porter! A simple, but effective recipe from Beavertown, and not one to be sniffed at!

When you pour this beer, it’s Black with a Tan head that dissipates quite quickly, leaving dotty lacing and a cap on top of the beer that sticks around for the duration. On the nose, there’s lots of Peat Smoked Malt, Roasty nuances, Coffee, a touch of Pine and a little Oat. This smells like one of the best Smoked Porters I’ve had! When you taste this beer, you get a big initial kick of Peat Smoke, then it moves on to Coffee with a touch of Chocolate and Molasses, finishing with some Caramel and Pine resonates through the entire flavour courtesy of the Chinook hop. The mouthfeel is quite full bodied, thanks to the Oats and the beer finishes Medium-Dry. A great beer, and definitely another that can warm you up during the winter but also one you can chill out in the summer weather with.

You can purchase Smog Rocket in the UK online at:

Honest Brew

Beer Merchants

Beer Ritz

Eebria

All retailers are in stock, and generally you can buy Smog Rocket from anywhere that stocks a selection of Craft Beer that isn’t a supermarket.

EST. CALORIES: 162   ABV: 5.4%

Fruit Porter – Danish: Mikkeller I Bet Yuzu Glad I Said Orange

Orange Yuzu Glad I Said Porter

With all this rainy weather, I thought a nice Porter would be a good pick me up. This week’s beer is the legendary Mikkeller‘s I Bet Yuzu Glad I Said Orange. A Porter brewed with a fruit called Yuzu, a popular fruit in Japan and Korea. I’ve only ever posted up one other beer on here brewed by Pressure Drop with this fruit in, and it was a great beer!

Let’s start with Mikkeller‘s description of the beer:

A porter with Yuzu (Citrus fruit), wheat and lactose. Flavor is sweet of yuzu with notes of orange and coffee.

A short but sweet description of this brew. Sources say Mikkel can be quite a quiet man, and this description seems to be evidence towards this. Although it’s short, it’s to the point. As it’s so to the point, I can’t really say much more apart from it’s got the extra ingredients listed and some idea on how it should taste.

The Malts are usually very important in a Porter, but in this one less so. The Malts used are Pale Malt, Brown Malt, Caramel Malt and Chocolate Malt. There’s also Malted Wheat. The Hops in this one are Challenger, Fuggles and to up the Citrus a little I think Mikkeller have used Cascade. After this, the Yuzu is added, I would imagine mainly juice as Yuzu can be hard to work with. During fermentation the Lactose is added.

When you pour this beer, you get a typical Porter looking beer – Black with a big Tan coloured head. The head retention is absolutely great, owing to the Wheat in the brew. On the nose you get lots of Citrus/Orange notes, owing to the Yuzu and some Coffee and Chocolate undertones. There’s also a bit of sweet Lactose in the Aroma too. When you taste this beer, you get a big initial kick of Coffee, followed by some Lactose sweetness and ending with the Citrus and Orange notes in the beer. The mouthfeel is quite light for a Porter and is a little more acidic than some beers. It finishes quite sweet. Quite lightly carbonated also. At 6% I can see myself drinking quite a few of these beers in one day and really recommend it.

You can buy Orange Yuzu Glad I Said Porter in the UK at:

Mikkeller Webstore (In Stock, Coversion is around £3.45)

Beer Gonzo (In Stock at time of Writing)

EST. CALORIES: 180   ABV: 6%

Porter – American: Odell Cutthroat Porter

As the weather gets colder, beer gets darker! It’s always been the way. There’s nothing better than a nice dark Porter or Stout on these cold evenings. This Friday’s beer is Odell’s Cutthroat Porter. This beer is brewed in Fort Collins, Colorado and is meant to emulate an English London Style Porter, so you would expect it to be similar to the dark beer that was popular with Street and River Porters throughout the 1700’s and 1800’s. Porters were one of the first beers to be aged before selling them in the 1700’s.

Enough history for now – Let’s start with Odell’s description of the beer:

Not quite a stout but definitely no lightweight, Cutthroat Porter is smooth and robust. Inspired by the classic London porters, we use dark roasted malts to create a deep, rich color and flavor that hint at chocolate and coffee. We named it Cutthroat Porter as our tribute to the Colorado state fish – with its own rich heritage and unmistakable dark coloring. And while we’re big fans of small batches, here’s to the currently threatened Cutthroat population reaching mass quantities.

A nice little blurb regarding the beer, a small story and a hint at the style/flavour is always good. Also, I like how Odell are often connected with Colorado and naming this beer after the Cutthroat Trout is a nice gesture.

Usually with the London Porter style, the Malt takes the front seat, whilst the hops are still there in the background. After a little research, I think the malts used are 2-Row, Caramalt, Crystal, Brown, Munich, Chocolate Malt and Roasted Barley Malt. There is possibly a little bit of Smoked Malt hiding in the brew also, but I am not sure of this and going on flavour alone. I like the malt profile that has been used, as it’s a good mix of traditional Malts used in Porter and American Style Malts. Next the Hops, Fuggles, Kent Goldings and Northern Brewer. Again, two traditionally English Hops, and then some US grown Northern Brewer Hops which are similar to Kent Goldings. This makes a nice bitter, profile in the background with hints of honey allowing the all important Malt to shine through.

The beer pours black with a medium sized off-white head. The head retains well and leaves rings of lacing around the glass as you drink. This really is a nice looking beer. On the nose hints of Honey, Caramel, Toffee, Brown Sugar and some Coffee notes. This beer was one of the first Porters I ever had, and as soon as I smelt it I was absolutely hooked. When you taste this beer, the first thing you notice are the light Roasted Coffee notes. They aren’t as pronounced as a stout, but they are definitely still there! After this the flavour moves onto hints of Toffee, Caramelised Sugar, Molasses ending with a hint of Butterscotch at the end. Odell really have got the flavours and hops right in this brew, as it has that bitter hoppy finish a lot of Modern porters tend to ignore. Malty in flavour, but with the hop bitterness at the end. The beer is quite light bodied with medium carbonation. Although bitter, it finishes surprisingly sweet. There is also a light smokeyness which is a very nice touch and well received. It’s not like a Smoked Beer, but on the aftertaste there’s a nice hint there.

All in all a great example of an American Brewed London-Style Porter, and it frequents my fridge/cellar.

You can purchase Odell Cutthroat Porter in the UK at:

Beers of Europe (Low stock at time of writing)

Beer Ritz (IN Stock at time of writing)

Beer Gonzo (IN Stock at time of writing)

Honest Brew

Unfortunately there is no distribution for Odell in the UK, but if you’re a bar or a shop Beer Ritz does offer 24 bottles of this great Porter with regular shipments from the US.

EST. CALORIES: 150   ABV: 5%

Smoked Beer – American: Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers

As the weather is turning cold, but still crisp and people are heading towards darker beers, this week I’ve picked Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers. I think this beer is a great go-between between the summer sun and the Autumn months. This is a smoked porter, brewed with Chipotle Peppers. Smoked Porter is a fusion of the English Porter style and the German Rauchbier (Smoked Beer) style. Malt used in the mash is first roasted on an open flame, imparting some smokey flavours.

Let’s start with Stone Brewing‘s description of the beer:

In 2006, Chris Carroll, a longtime member of Team Stone, took that adage literally, proposing that we produce a one-off version of our venerable Stone Smoked Porter made spicy from the addition of chipotle peppers. We gave it a shot and found that those smoked jalapeños melded quite naturally with the smoldery peat-smoked malt that gives the beer its flavor and moniker, creating a deep, roasty quaff with a carefully restrained tingle of tasteful capsaicin heat in the finish. The marriage of ingredients was so nice that it has become an annual summertime staple, released each May in honor of Carroll’s initial idea that Stone Smoked Porter w/Chipotle Peppers serve as an artisanal alternative to the industrialized adjunct-laden cerveza billed as the perfect fluid accompaniment to the sunny season. Cheers to variety and a quality alternative to mediocrity.

A nice sarcastic style description from Stone as usual, with a little bit of a dig at Corona it seems. It’s to be expected of Stone, and this is one of the little things that separates them from the rest. Although drinking in Summer is suggested, I personally think this time of the year in the UK is perfect.

After trawling through the internet and doing some research (as well as taste research!) I think Stone went all out American for this brew, using Pale 2-row Malt, Peat-Smoked Malt (as we said earlier, but this malt was smoked with Peat like a Scotch Whiskey giving a distinctive flavour), as for the hops, although Stone have let the Chipotle Peppers and Malts sing in this one I think they’ve used Columbus and Mt. Hood. These hops give it a bitterness as well as that American hop aroma buried in there that we have all grown to love over the recent years.

When you pour this beer, you get the usual dark Porter colouring and a lovely tan head. The head has great retention… maybe there’s wheat in this beer but I’m not sure! You can’t smell this beer until you first put it to your mouth, you get a lovely amount of sweet malts, a little cigar smoke and a hit of spicy Chipotle peppers. With the taste, first you get a nice smokey kick from the peated malt, next the sweet portion of the chilli peppers, some fruity flavours brought on from the hops and the peppers and finally the heat. Initially it’s strange having a bit of Chilli heat in a beer, but once you get used to it it’s actually a great addition to this already great porter. The mouthfeel is silky, smooth and finishes sweet and spicy. Once you’ve got over the heat from the peppers, you’ll notice all the subtle flavours from them. I appreciate this beer probably isn’t for everyone, but it’s great on a cool, crisp afternoon to remind you of summer past.

You can buy Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers in the UK at:

Bottledog Kings Cross (The only place I’ve found it!)

If any of your friends are traveling to America, I seriously recommend you ask them to hunt this beer down for you.

Unfortunately, Stone do not distribute properly to the UK at the moment, but for anyone that would like to stock their beers I’d contact Beers Of Europe as they usually have a great selection.

EST. CALORIES: 177   ABV: 5.9%