A while back we took a look at some great stouts. Today, we are going to look at porters. Which begs the question: what’s the difference between a stout and a porter?

foundersporterThe honest answer is whatever the brewer decides. There are many stouts that could easily be called a porter – and vice versa.

But the Pursuitist is willing to make a stab at what is a porter – and give you some great options to try for yourself.

A stout uses roasted barley and/or black patent malt, making it a bit darker. A stout is a bit milder and smoother and creamier than a porter. Porters often have a significant coffee or chocolate taste to them (although there are stouts that incorporate those flavors as well). The porter often is more heavily roasted than a stout. Porters are usually smokier and have a more pronounced hoppy flavor.

That said, here’s some wonderful porters that you can enjoy:

anchorAnchor Porter by Anchor Steam Brewing Company
A dark porter with a very thick foamy head. Anchor Porter has a strong hoppy flavor to go with a swirl of coffee, chocolate and toffee. It’s a unique and challenging combination.

Edmund Fitzgerald Porter by Great Lakes Brewing Company
Edmund Fitzgerald Porter is brewed in compliance with the Bavarian Purity Laws. It uses only barley, hops, yeast, and water. It is creamy for a porter, and not too heavy or bitter. There’s more chocolate than coffee in the aroma and taste. And there’s a slight sweetness to the whole affair (in fact, the label calls the beer a ‘complex porter with bittersweet taste’). We couldn’t agree more. A remarkably smooth, well-rounded and tasty beer to drink.

Black_Butter_Porter2Black Butte Porter by Deschutes Brewery
Black Butte has a heavy roasted smell. It’s hoppy with chocolate and fruit on the taste – even a little sweet. The chocolate taste roars up on the finish. Deschutes continues to make some of the finest craft beers in the United States.

Founders Porter
One of the most hoppy of the porters. Founders’ Porter is dry, with hints of chocolate, caramel and nuts. The heavy hoppiness and bitterness really emerges on the finish, along with the chocolate flavor.