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  1. #1
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    Inquiring minds want to know about porters and stouts

    Lately, my beer tastes have taken a turn for the dark; similar to when I turned legal age and started buying beer in the first place. Having sampled brews from across the country, I've noticed a few differences, and was curious if anyone else has noticed these, and if anyone can shed light on why these happen?

    Comparing porters and stouts from the Midwest (that is, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio) to the region a little farther east (Niagara, Ontario; Pennsylvania; New York; Maryland; Virginia; and I'll throw Tennessee in here just for discussion's sake), the Midwest beers have always seemed a little heavier and filling...whereas, the Eastern beers feel less "filling" and more satisfying; that is, the body of the beer feels lighter, but there's still a good satisfaction upon finishing one. Or, in terms of flavor, nearly every Eastern porter and stout that I've drank has tasted a little bit crisper than Midwestern porters and stouts.

    One of the breweries in Ontario that I stopped at mentioned something about the lake air infiltrating the beer, giving it a crisper taste, but then again, some of my favorite Michigan and Wisconsin porters/stouts are a lot closer to a Great Lake than that brewery was.

    Anyone know what I'm talking about, and what's going on in general?
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  2. #2
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    You're off a bit with your internal beer clock. Here in Wisconsin we turn to the Oktoberfest type beers in the fall, and transition to the darker beers over the winter. Right now it's spring and time for lighter, maybe even more hoppy beer with the warm weather. I would not be seen in public quaffing a porter right now although I'm not an IPA fan.

    I have had beers all over the country, but I think the east coast has it's share of dark beers that remind me of Wisconsin, I guess it just depends on where you are and what you try. I'm headed to Virginia this week for work, I'll see how their beers fits in to the grand scheme of things and report back.
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  3. #3
    Ricardo Cabeza
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    yeah, porters in hot weather..... ahhh nope.

    I'll take a pilsner style for the summer.

    or an IPA, those are good all year
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy69 View Post
    yeah, porters in hot weather..... ahhh nope.

    I'll take a pilsner style for the summer.

    or an IPA, those are good all year
    It's been weirdly cool in the mitten state this whole year...it just barely broke 70 today here; it's been cold and clammy all spring. Same goes for PA and MD last week... cold and clammy


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_fuji View Post
    It's been weirdly cool in the mitten state this whole year...
    Yeah, what's this talk about summer? It rained all day and was in the high 40s Saturday. I got snowed on for a few minutes during my MTB ride yesterday. The locally brewed porter I enjoyed back in town was fantastic.

    Conversely, even in the middle of winter, lighter beers like pilsners can be just what the doc ordered after a long, sunny, albeit cold, day on the ski slopes.

    I've never paid attention to regional similarities/differences in beer. I do however notice that porters are harder to find in MT than they were in the northeast but more and more of them are popping up.

  6. #6
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    Water aside, most beer styles should be similar when brewed to typical beer standards.

    It has been very mild in my area as well. Normally, I'd be drinking lighter colored beers. One particular good dark beer to try if available is the dark mild. Nice and roasty session beer that you could drink all day. Some of my local breweries offer these from time to time. Not many stores keep a dark mild in stock in my area and it tends to be overpriced for such a low ABV beer.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-t View Post

    I've never paid attention to regional similarities/differences in beer. I do however notice that porters are harder to find in MT than they were in the northeast but more and more of them are popping up.
    That surprises me. I'd think hearty places like Montana would favor hearty brews like stouts, maybe Scotch ales and/or Belgians as well.


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOky View Post
    I'm headed to Virginia this week for work, I'll see how their beers fits in to the grand scheme of things and report back.
    What part of VA? I live in Central VA (Charlottesville area) and we have route 151 (goes south), off 250w that is know locally as the Brew Ridge Trail. We have 3 breweries; Devils Backbone, Wild Wolf and Blue Mountain Brewery, Bold Rock Cidery and Silver Back Distillery (vodka, gin).

    The libations are tasty and the drive is beautiful.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_fuji View Post
    That surprises me. I'd think hearty places like Montana would favor hearty brews like stouts, maybe Scotch ales and/or Belgians as well.


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    Actually, most of the local breweries do a Scotch Ale and a Stout or two. It's just the Porters that seem harder to find and those happen to be my favorite.

    IPAs are a dime a dozen. In the words of one local brewer (while discussing what beers my friend should keep on tap when his taproom opens this summer) "IPAs are for hacks. Anyone can overhop a high ABV beer to mask its flavor and pass it off to some tourist".

  10. #10
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    Another odd trend:

    Taking it back to a few local Michigan breweries, this year's batch of stouts and porters have a strong, notable dry flavor to 'em. Our summer was on the cool and rainy side. I need to go to one of the local brewpubs during a slow time and chat it up with the cute blond brewers.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_fuji View Post
    Another odd trend:

    Taking it back to a few local Michigan breweries, this year's batch of stouts and porters have a strong, notable dry flavor to 'em. Our summer was on the cool and rainy side. I need to go to one of the local brewpubs during a slow time and chat it up with the cute blond brewers.
    Which ones? I enjoy Founders but not so much on Jolly Pumpkin/Bell's...that's about all I can get from MI out in NorCal. Founders CBS was pretty overhyped.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckice View Post
    Which ones? I enjoy Founders but not so much on Jolly Pumpkin/Bell's...that's about all I can get from MI out in NorCal. Founders CBS was pretty overhyped.
    A couple of local breweries that don't have distribution at all
    https://ourbrewingcompany.com/
    ^^Theyv'e got a "Dry County Stout," named after the fact that we were actually a dry county up until the 1970's or so. Last year's batch was nicely balanced but this year's is a little harsh.

    Big Lake Brewing | DIVE IN.
    ^^Their porter is really good and hearty, but has a touch of a harsh dry taste on the back end as well.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_fuji View Post
    A couple of local breweries that don't have distribution at all
    https://ourbrewingcompany.com/
    ^^Theyv'e got a "Dry County Stout," named after the fact that we were actually a dry county up until the 1970's or so. Last year's batch was nicely balanced but this year's is a little harsh.

    Big Lake Brewing | DIVE IN.
    ^^Their porter is really good and hearty, but has a touch of a harsh dry taste on the back end as well.
    :cheers:

  14. #14
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    Never trust a beer you can see through ...
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chain View Post
    Never trust a beer you can see through ...

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  16. #16
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    https://lancasterbrewing.com/milk-stout

    Having one right now while recovering from first round of shoveling.

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