Craig Heap reviews Sierra Nevada Porter, a solid, award-winning American Porter.
Sierra Nevada Porter
After Anchor Porter, this is where it all began in the United States, with Sierra Nevada bringing out their Porter in the 1980s. It was also a personal eye-opener for me some years back, when I picked up a few bottles from Oddbins (remember them?) and discovered the potential a porter could live up to.
It’s a dark, reddish brown in the glass, promising a lighter experience than the standard porter. This certainly comes across in the smell, which is gently sweet, with lightly roasted malt and toasted nuts. It has a medium body which swells in the mouth to reach all the taste buds.
In taste, the subtle, confident, no-nonsense profile of classic porters comes through. The first course is a rich, plum fruit taste, with a bitter, hoppy main followed by a dessert of toffee and malt. Just when you think you can’t fit in any more, sweet blackcurrant tempts you at the finish to start the menu all over again. It’s a very quaffable drink, and less treacly than its fellow American counterparts, masking it’s 5.6% ABV quite well.
This plethora of nuanced, balanced flavours is what porter is all about. The more you drink, the more it gives back. With some beers, one is enough, but I could quite happily knock back Sierra Nevada Porter all night. The body doesn’t slow you down and the taste keeps you coming back for more.