Friday, January 20, 2012

Beer of the Week (Vol. CXXXI)

Another edition of Beer of the Week sponsored as always by the other worldly folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can help you explore the ever expanding universe of wine, whiskey, and beer.

This week, we turn our attention from the seasonal beers of winter to another style that’s well suited to the colder conditions. Porter:

Porter is a dark style of beer originating in London in the 18th Century. The name came about as a result of its popularity with street and river porters.

The history and development of stout and porter are intertwined. The name "stout" for a dark beer is believed to have come about because a strong porter may be called "Extra Porter" or "Double Porter" or "Stout Porter". The term "Stout Porter" would later be shortened to just "Stout". For example, Guinness Extra Stout was originally called "Extra Superior Porter" and was only given the name Extra Stout in 1840.

Despite their shared lineage, porters don’t seem to be as popular as stouts among craft brewers which is a shame because there’s nothing better than a good porter to provide comfort on a chilly night. Our beer this week is another offering from Flat Earth Brewing in Saint Paul. Flat Earth Cygnus X-1 Porter:

Named after a black hole and a song, this is a porter like no other. We took an old English porter recipe, added some rye malt, and our porter was born. This brew floods your palate with hints of chocolate, biscuit and all-around roasty goodness with just a touch of smoke that finishes dry but is not overpowering. Perfect with roasts or fowl. Enjoy by the fire, and it will certainly warm you on any cold evening in the Great White North.

A black hole, a song, and the Great White North? Not too difficult to connect the dots on that one.

22oz brown bomber bottle that goes for a very reasonable $3.99. Black label with namesake black hole on top and Flat Earth’s trademark man in a barrel on bottom and universe in background.

STYLE: Porter


COLOR (0-2): Dark black. 2

AROMA (0-2): Roasted malt with a whiff of chocolate. 2

HEAD (0-2): Tan without much volume fades quickly. 1

TASTE (0-5): Mostly malty and biscuity with some flavors of coffee and chocolate. A slight touch of sour and bitter at the finish. It has a thin mouthfeel and a heavier body. Probably one that you’ll want to sip rather than slam. 3

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Rich flavors that linger. 2

OVERALL (0-6): Flat Earth’s Cygnus X-1 Porter is a good example of the porter style. The flavors are decent, but a bit underwhelming and I prefer more robustness in a porter. The flavors do come out more as it warms so you’ll want to be sure not to drink it straight from the fridge. Overall for a porter, I’d say it’s acceptable if unexciting. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 14