Beer Shoot-Out – California Porters

California Porter Shoot-OutSeeing that I had three Porters in my beer fridge, that was reason enough to do a side-by-side comparison. It could even be captioned as a Northern California beer shoot-out, since the three beers are brewed in Chico, Blue Lakes and San Francisco. Three of us sat down to pick a winner.

Anchor Porter (Anchor Brewing Co., San Francisco, CA)

I have an admitted bias toward Anchor Brewing Co. Anchor Steam was my first introduction to craft beer. The first time I had an Anchor Steam, I was both elated and angry; elated because I had found how good a beer can be, and angry because I realized I had been drinking swill for so many years.

But despite my love of Anchor Brewing beers, this Porter falls short. If I had not had the other two beers for an immediate comparison, it might not have fared so badly, but it really wasn’t even close. The Anchor Porter has a bad aftertaste not present in the other two, leading all three of us to rate it a distant third. Sorry Anchor, my old friend, I can only give you an 80 on The Morris Scale for this one.

Steelhead Porter (Mad River Brewing Co., Blue Lake, CA)

There was a split between the three of us as to the remaining two beers. Two of us ranked the Steelhead Porter the best. To me, it was the most flavorful by far, with a really nice malt taste and creamy mouthfeel. This will be a go-to Porter for me from now on, with a score of 95.

Sierra Nevada Porter (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA)

My beer Goddess ranked this number one, but I suspect that was specifically because it did not have as much complexity as the Steelhead. No question the Sierra Nevada Porter was a good beer, but it lacked that malt taste I found so appealing in the Steelhead, and had a thinner mouthfeel. I’ll give it an 89.

So in this Northern California Porter shoot-out, the Steelhead Porter is a clear winner.

Leave a Reply