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Porters are a delicious style of dark beer made from brown malt and, while there is no strict definition, they usually feature chocolate and coffee flavors, dark fruit, and roasted barely.
With the explosion of the American craft beer movement, porters have gotten more experimental and complex, leaving beer enthusiasts with tons of tasty options. This can be a double-edged sword, because with new craft breweries popping up seemingly every day, we have flooded the beer market, leaving many people wondering this winter: What are the best American porters?
Luckily, we've compiled a list of some of the best out there, so instead of searching for porters this winter, you can spend your time drinking them. Some of these beers are from big names in the industry, but many others may surprise you. Check out the best American porters to drink this winter right here.
Black Butte Porter by Deschutes Brewery
While not as widely available on the East Coast (yet), there is no doubt that Deschutes Black Butte Porter is the smoothest, most drinkable porter in the business. The taste profile is classic and refreshing, and you'll knock back the whole six-pack without even realizing it.
For those who think dark beers are heavy and hard to drink, I suggest a Black Butte Porter, and I bet it goes down quicker than wheat beer in the summer.
The flavor is raisin and dark fruit forward, with a touch of chocolate and roasted malt mouthfeel. The finish is crisp and clean, tempting you to reach for another. It's a staple in the field, and one of the best American porters to taste this winter.
Edmund Fitzgerald by Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Great Lakes Brewing, who have become the largest craft brewery in Ohio, make some of the best brews in any style, so it's no shock that their Edmund Fitzgerald is one of the best American porters out ther on the market. The beer has a roasted malt nose, some dark fruit and chocolate notes, followed by a clean hop finish.
This is definitely a porter you can drink a bunch of, as it's rather light for the style and profiles closer to most lagers. However, most lagers could never compete with Great Lakes's sweet nut taste.
Mocha Porter by Rogue Ales
Coffee is a major player in most Porters, and that's definitely the case with the Mocha Porter by Oregon brewery, Rogue Ales. It's a great example of a Pacific Northwest Porter, as well as one of the best American porters to try this winter. The trademark piney hops are mixed in expertly with the black roasted malt, giving the beer a nice biting finish.
It pours dark brown and foamy, and leaves behind quite a bit of lacing. The coffee flavor is prominent here along with a nose of chocolate, leaving you with a bittersweet and creamy finish.
Smoked Porter by Stone Brewing Co.
Stone has long been one of the most respected names in the craft beer game, and their Smoked Porter is one of the best American porters available. If you enjoy roasted bitterness and burnt oak mixed with a hint of chocolate, this smoked porter could be just what you're after.
Stone's Porter is definitely more on the extreme side, so if you don't like big in your face flavors than you might not be able to get through a few bottles of this. This beer is for the adventurous.
Porter by Anchor Brewing
A classic of the style, Anchor Brewing's Porter is one of the best American porters to try if you like a no fuss, clean tasting beer. Anchor is one of the oldest craft breweries in the country, and have always had a commitment to pumping out high-quality beer.
It smells like coffee beans and chocolate, and the taste is of dark fruit and caramel, with a touch of molasses in the finish. It's not nearly as smoky or roasted as other picks on this list, but is a more easy-drinking example of the style.
Robust Porter by Smuttynose Brewing
The Robust Porter is the most awarded beer in the outstanding New Hampshire brewery's arsenal. It's a great example of a simple and well-executed version of the style, definitely one of the best American porters around. It's very flavorful, with a roasted sweetness followed by a creamy and easy sipping finish.
This deceptively drinkable beer features an assertive hop profile, which really compliments the coffee and chocolate notes. At 6.2 percent alcohol by volume, it's among a sweet spot for beer lovers.
Porter by Founders Brewing Co.
Founders beers are noted for their bold flavors and rich, experimental stouts. Their classic porter is arguably the best thing they've ever done, and it's easily one of the best American porters by any metric. This is a big, robust porter, and you get whopping aromas of coffee, chocolate, and tasty graham cracker.
Shockingly, the bold flavors don't weigh you down and it's highly drinkable. It has great depths of flavor and is incredibly complex for the style, a total winner.
Porter by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Sierra Nevada's version of a porter is a dark and roasty classic. It pours ruddy brown and leaves plenty of foamy creaminess. Like most Sierra Nevada beers, it's hop-forward, and this one offers a lot of complexity with roasted notes of black coffee and cocoa.
You can never go wrong with any of their beers, and with this effort they've created one of the best American porters you should try this winter.
Victory at Sea by Ballast Point Brewing Co.
Victory at Sea is a bold Imperial Porter, clocking in at a whopping ten percent alcohol content. The robust offering is full of coffee and vanilla notes, and still remains sweet and drinkable for the style. It's clearly one of the best American porters as far as imperials go.
The subtle roasted notes and minimal acidity from the cold brewed coffee balances perfectly with the sugary caramel undertones of the malt, creating an unforgettable experience for your palate. It's available year-round, but the best time for one is on those long, cold nights.
4Beans by Six Point Brewery
Lastly, Six Point uses the finest coffee beans to produce their 4Beans Imperial offering, hands down one of the best American porters on the market. The notable flavors, always in their trademark cans, are dark malt, cocoa and coffee, rounded out by smooth and creamy vanilla.
The intense flavors help mask the 10 percent booze this porter packs, but don't be fooled, it's one of the stiffer drinks in the varietal. The coffee is prominent throughout, and the tongue tastes a bit like cherries, making this a great option for a dessert beer.