So what the heck's a porter? Darned if I know. Yeah, that's right. Darned!
English porters traditionally were a mix of 3 varieties: old skool bitter/sour ales, new ale (brown or pale), and a wiener ale (weak/mild ale). They are dark brown or black. This mixing of styles was quite revolutionary back in the day. That's about it for education right now. When roasted malts are added, it becomes a stronger stout style. I think.
The only other noteworthy thing to say about porters is that they were also known as Entire Butts. For real! Hence humorous beer names. This is sassy 18th century England we're talking about. Thanks for the education!
I poured both in order to "compare and contrast." Appearance: Sam Adam's Holiday Porter was a dark brown with amber highlights, off white head, 1/2 finger thick, quick dissipation. Atlantic Brewing Company's Coal Porter was dark brown, a little darker than the Sam Adams'. It had a tan head, 1 finger thick, good lasting power, and nice lacing.
Smell: Coal Porter had a fruit, grapey, "fermented" smell, overall mild. Holiday Porter smelled sweet, bananas, ginger/nutmeg, cocoa.
Tastes: Coal Porter first tasted sour, but then got some coffee flavor. It was smooth with a slightly bitter aftertaste. The Holiday Porter was much sweeter than the Coal Porter. It definitely made me think of bananas and chocolate, but not overly sweet and ending on a bitter taste.
Overall - both were enjoyable and easy to drink. The Coal Porter was the savory entree, while the Holiday Porter was the delectable dessert.
I've always enjoyed a beverage or two. But beer is something I have never really understood. Oh, I have drunk it. And I have enjoyed it. But to understand it...that is something else all together. See my "intro" entry from 10/17/08 for details.
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