First off - what is a Porter? In fact Porter is the father of Stout. Porter originated as the first engineered beer. It was a mixture of old ale, either sour or stale, new Brown or Pale ale, and a mild ale. It's name is supposedly derived from its popularity with transportation workers in Central London. Porter requires a longer aging process. Baltic Porters are somewhat stronger in much the same way as IPA's are and for the same reason - to survive extended sea voyages. In 1820, Sir Arthur Guinness rechristened his XX Porter - calling it Guinness Extra Stout Porter. Soon, however, Stout became a style unto its own (and one we will explore in March). Thanks to Beer Advocate for the above info, by the way.
Porters are dark, hearty beers, with a roasted malty taste, often with notes of chocolate or coffee. The formula varies from brewery to brewery and some have a more pronounced hop presence than others.
THE CONTENDERS (LISTED ALPHABETICALLY)
Harpoon's Baltic Porter - Located in Boston, MA and Windsor, VT From Harpoon's Leviathan series of strong ales (9.5%!), this is a beer with notes of dark fruit and bittersweet chocolate blending into a spicy finish. 38 IBU's.
Mayflower Porter - From Plymouth, MA - Embracing the tradition of "three threads" (combining of three distinct ales) this brew is smooth and full-bodied, with distinct notes of roasted coffee beans and chocolate. Using Pilgrim and Glacier hops, Mayflower Porter weighs in at 5.5% ABV and a respectable 33 IBU's.
Mayflower beers currently are distributed around the Plymouth and South Shore areas, but are hoping to begin expanding.
Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter - Middlebury, VT Ruby black in color, rich palate and roasted hoppy aroma. Traditional Porter. 5.4% ABV
Rock Art Double Smoked Porter - Morrisville, VT At a solid 8% ABV, this beer is not fooling around. Sweet caramel malts, roasted malts, a big mouth feel and smoked grain.
Rogue's Mocha Porter - From Newport, OR - This beer is ruddy brown in color, with a bittersweet balance of malt and hops. All with a nice cream finish. With an impressive
54 IBU and a 5.3% ABV.
Southern Tier Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Porter - From Lakewood, NY - Richly complex with overtones of chocolate and espresso beans with the subtle flavor of hops. 5.2% ABV
Stone Brewery Smoked Porter - San Diego, CA - Dark, smooth and complex with rich chocolate and coffee flavors balanced by a subtle smokiness.
There you have it. May the best beer win!