Last week, I held a craft beer tasting session with the other site managers, to give them the opportunity to sample our tremendous range of beers. A point of interest emerged from this session: people who thought they didn’t like dark beers, actually really like dark beers.

In my experience, people can be a bit hesitant of stouts and porters. Folk have this picture in their heads of senior citizens sitting in a working men’s club drinking Mild. In 2018, that mental image is unfounded. At the Portland, we have a varied range of dark beers to suit any taste.

Take Champion from Jocks and Peers. Brewed in Cambridge, this is a dark and roasted stout with a coffee aroma. No funny business. At 4.1%, it’s a beer you could stay on all night and not get bored of.

One of the bottled beers we have stocked for a long time is the Belhaven Scottish Oat Stout. This is one of Hayley’s favourites. At 7%, this stout is rich in flavour. It describes itself as “intense, yet approachable”. Coffee and chocolate notes compliment the thick texture. This beer often gets overlooked; I highly recommend you give this one a go.

“Everything is better when it’s brewed with chocolate” is the slogan of the beer simply titled “Chocolate Porter”, from Kees Brewery in the Netherlands. It’s hard to dispute that claim when you try this beer. When it arrived and I tried it for the first time, I expected it to be as thick as treacle. It isn’t. This porter is surprisingly drinkable. At 6.2%, it isn’t ridiculously strong, so it isn’t necessarily a night-ender. It’s got just the right viscosity; I would happily drink a couple of these in the middle of a session.

If you’re after something a little sweeter, I totally recommend the Dark Neapolitan, which is an ice cream porter from Northern Monk Brewery. “Tastes like strawberries dipped in chocolate”, quipped Hayley during our taster sesh. The clue is in the title with this beer. Much like the Chocolate Porter from Kees, it’s 6.2% and it isn’t too thick, however it is far richer than the above. One of my personal favourites.

Finally, we come to a beer called “You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This Stout is About You”. This is a collaborated effort between Alphabet Brewery and Kees Brewery, so you know it’s going to be a good’n. It’s a salted caramel imperial stout which, unlike the other beers in this blog, is rich and suitably thick. At 11%, what else would you expect? It’s the most expensive beer that we stock, but the price never puts customers off. Carly Simon would be proud.

I hope reading this has inspired you to come out and try more stouts and porters. The Portland staff’s product knowledge is excellent so if you would like a recommendation, please just ask. Cheers!

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