Originally brought to popularity by 18th century London workers transportation eager to imbibe after a hard day’s work, Porter was the first hybrid beer. The combination of an old stale ale, a freshly-brewed brown ale, and a weak ale resulted in the classic Porter recipe, commonly referred to as “Entire Butt”. I have yet to figure out exactly why it was given that nickname, so let’s chalk it up to English eccentricity for now since the brew itself tastes nothing like butt, much less an entire one.
Porters reached their prime peak of popularity during the Industrial Revolution and have since unfortunately stagnated in the UK to a certain extent; fortunately for those of us on the other side of the Atlantic, the American home-brewing revolution has revamped the recipe. In addition to the traditional combination of black, chocolate, and crystal malts, American brewers have added a slew of innovations such as increasing the amount of hops (then again, Americans do that with damn near any beer they can get their hands on) and incorporating smoked malts to augment the smoky character common in many Porters; in fact, some brewers actually add chocolate or coffee to bring that flavor out even further.
As for the brewery itself, Yuengling is widely-renowned as the oldest still-active brewery in America. Since 1829, they’ve been pumping out quality beer that blurs the line between mass-production and micro-brew. Their Traditional Lager is my stand-by beer anytime I go to a party or bar and want to drink something good without breaking the bank, so I’m interested to see how they do with another style.
Pottsville, Pennslyvania (United States)
Style- American Porter
Poured from a 12oz brown bottle with a twist-off cap and no freshness date.
Appearance- 3.5 out of 5. The only colors this beer has are the creamy tan one-finger head and the deep brown around the edges; aside from that, the rest is pitch-black even when held up to the light. Typical porter in appearance, but some more head would have been nice (a phrase uttered by all men at one point or another). At least it sticks around for a while.
Smell- 3 out of 5. The scents in this beer are somewhat subdued. Coffee, charcoal, and caramel stand out with an undertone of dark malt. It smells like a Stout with shyness issues.
Taste- 4 out of 5. As with the smell, there’s nothing significantly strong about this brew; luckily, the tastes are still savory despite their subtlety. That scent of coffee becomes the main taste with nutty notes as well. A taste that’s more like roasted cocoa beans than actual chocolate mingles alongside a little burnt wood. Hardly any hops appear in the beer aside from a little bitterness. The aftertaste is probably the best part of this beer– all of the flavors come together and a leave a semi-sweet, semi-smoky residue. The flavors get stronger as it warms, so warm it up a little to fully enjoy it (or cool it down if you don’t want to taste it, but if that’s the case, why in the hell are you drinking it in the first place?)
Mouthfeel- 3.5 out of 5. Medium-bodied, like creamy coffee with a dry finish. The fact that I’ve mentioned coffee in three out of five sections should tell you something.
Drinkability- 4 out of 5. It may not be strong, but it’s good. Unlike some porters, you could probably drink a whole six pack of this stuff. If you’ve never tried a Porter before, start here. This is definitely an Autumn and Winter kind of beer.
Overall, a B.
Bonus! For anyone interested, a brew by the name of Entire Butt is still being produced by the UK’s Salopian Brewing Company. More to come on that when I obtain a bottle.