Reading: Top 5 Local Porter’s To Hoard This Winter Season
Top 5 Local Porter’s To Hoard This Winter Season
When it’s time to pull out the wooly socks and heavy flannels, it’s time to pull out the Porter. Great for enjoying around the fire, after dinner or while watching the game on a chilly Sunday afternoon. Most often, I am asked what the difference is between a Porter and a Stout. Or if there are any. They both originated in the UK in the 18th century and are dark beers, but the Porter is the style that was initially developed. It is often milder and with less alcohol content; the Stout can be described as its amped-up cousin. Also, it appears that most brewers create Porters that are more traditional in style, while with Stouts it seems, the rulebook is thrown to the wind. In reality though, for many even in the industry the names now are somewhat interchangeable. Perhaps, the most well know Porter is from Fullers in London and easily available in the LCBO. Check it first and then compare with 5 great Ontario variations below. I think you will find that Porters in our region can hold their own with any from the home country.
Based out of Hamilton, Clifford Brewing was started last year by once home brewer Brad Clifford. Clifford started his professional career brewing at Toronto’s trendy craft beer and video game lover spot, Get Well, and also with the legendary Duggan family. The brewery has thus far released only a few beers to the public and they have been grand slams. This Porter is traditional and it has all right elements of chocolate and coffee, earthy undertones of rich roasted malts, with a balanced bitterness. It is easy too, to see why it has recently won many medals at the Canadian and Ontario Brewing Awards.
Also hailing from Hamilton, Collective Arts new brewery is an incredible spot to visit when you are in the Hammer. If I had to choose my favourite Porter at the moment, it might be this beauty. So damn drinkable. A little more fuller bodied than Clifford’s version and more chocolaty with hints of molasses. Yet, it is still silky smooth, and extremely creamy. Just writing this makes me wish I had one buried in the back of my fridge right now. The artwork on the beer cans are amazing as usual and always a conversation starter at any gathering you bring this too.
Bellwoods is best recognized for making some of Toronto’s most impressive limited release beers and for their very trendy brewpub on Ossington. They like to call this the “comfort food” of their beer selection and you can see why as this brew packs a dark chocolate punch. This is known as a Baltic Porter as it is slightly sweeter, and has a much higher ABV than the rest of this list. Highly influenced by the style of Russian Imperial Stouts. ‘Lost River” is also a previous Canadian Brewing Awards winner and this is only available seasonally at their bottle shop. Make sure you check their website regularly.
Bandit Brewery opened in Roncesvalles this summer to much popularity, as much a hit for its beautiful space as it is for their beer. One of the selections that immediately got the attention of discerning beer lovers was this Smoked Porter. So much so, that supplies were gone very fast. Happy to say it is back in stock and their latest batch is even better. Not as robust as some of the Porters on this list, it is less chocolaty but peatier with smokiness leaning towards campfire. I love this beer with late in the season BBQ. Also, Torontonian’s just love their bandit raccoon logo. We have a soft spot for those pesky scavengers.
At first glance at the can, you may be led to believe that this is a novelty beer with its maple leaf artwork declaring “Made with Canadian Maple Syrup”. Nickel Brook beers are usually on point, and that is still the case here. Not as sweet as one would expect. In fact, I admired the maple syrup subtlety as it allowed one to enjoy the complexity of the six malts employed in making this Porter. It has a fantastic dark ruby colour in the glass, which was in contrast to the straight black of the other porters enjoyed above. All in all, this is an exemplary, unique Canadian interpretation of this classic British style.