Thursday, December 29, 2011

Founders: Porter – From USA to Norway, in a suitcase

Since their 1997 debut, Founders has grown to demonstrate their seriousness about brewing first-class beer, as seen in the brewery’s rising status on BeerAdvocate and Ratebeer. Indeed, I have yet to encounter a Founders beer that says anything otherwise. All told, their Grand Rapids brewery crafts about five year-round products and eight or so seasonal and specialty brews. And Founder’s Porter is, without a doubt, one of the best porters around and, in my view, their flagship product.

Founders Porter is one of the 15 beers that I legally brought back to Norway with me during a recent trip to the US. I had large volumes of this porter during my trip, so perhaps from being under the influence of jet lag, I decided to give my bottle to a close friend who’s a big Guinness Draught fan. After tasting this porter, he has not only become a Founders fan (and routinely asks me about what I might bring with me after the next return home from the US), but he has also begun to look beyond the rim of the Guinness can in search for new beer experiences (note to Founders, you will certainly have a generous market here in Norway).

Life outside the bottle begins with a modest and bubbly light brown head and a super dark brown color  – an unmistakable porter indeed. The lacing clings to the side of the glass as if it was fighting for its life, which in a sense I suppose it is. Powerful and faithful to the style, the porter’s aroma comes with a coffee focused nose, accompanied by discernable notes of chocolate, roasted malts, and caramel. The carbonation is low, with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. The taste is awesome: sweet and malty in the start and transitioning to a faintly bitter finish. There’s definitely something smoky to the flavor – smoked ham perhaps. And the 6.5 percent ABV speaks volumes about Founders’ seriousness with this porter.

So, if you have the chance to sample this, I’d definitely jump on it, but please don’t ask me to bring one back from the states. I have sampled few porters that have a level of complexity and flavor that rivals Founders Porter. 


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