This week, for a change of pace—and to have a little fun—we decided to try something a little different.
The Battle of the Porters.
Recently, two local breweries, Lighthouse and Hoyne, released porters. We thought we’d have some fun and review them Super Punch-out style. Before we get started, let’s recap what constitutes a porter.
Originally, a porter was a darker version of the brown ale created in London England around the 18th century. A porter is characterized by medium to heavy hop additions and chocolate malts which give it the darker colour and a sweeter taste. Now, having said that, you might ask: how is a porter different then a stout? Among beer enthusiasts, this is a heated topic with many interesting ideas—one of which is that the stout started as a stronger version of a porter. However, with brewers experimenting now-a-days, there doesn’t seem to be a real difference between the two styles anymore.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s meet the challengers:
In the left corner, wearing the sleek brown and coco nibs label, is Dark Chocolate Porter from Lighthouse Brewing in Victoria B.C. Weighing in at 5.5% alcohol by volume, this porter has been available since March 16th, 2012.
Lighthouse Brewing Dark Chocolate Porter is a dark, robust porter flavoured with cocoa nibs sourced from “beyond fair trade” farms in Ghana, West Africa. The raw nibs go through a fermentation process and are then carefully roasted to create a rich and intense chocolate flavour.
And in the right corner, with the funky stars and northern lights label, is Dark Matter from Hoyne Brewing in Victoria B.C. Weighing in at 5.3% Alcohol by volume, this porter has been available since March 20th, 2012.
Dark Matter: Deep, Deceptively Dark, Delicious! Is it a Stout? Is it a Brown? Is it a Porter? Dark Matter is elusive, soft on the tongue with hints of subtle roasted chocolate. Sometimes you need to go somewhere dark in order to see.
We can’t wait to see how this fight goes down!
*DING DING DING* FIGHT!
Fiddler: Dark Chocolate Porter comes out swinging with strong aroma of chocolate malt and coco nibs.
V1rgil: Dark Matter counters with a caramel-chocolate scent and a jab of molasses.
Fiddler: Both contestants appear equally matched in carbonation and head retention but Dark Chocolate may have an advantage with a thicker body and darker black colour than the Dark Matter’s lighter body and brownish colour.
V1rgil: You’re right Fiddler, for something called Dark Matter, it’s looking pretty light here as our two contestants go to their corners.
V1rgil: As round 2 gets underway, Dark Chocolate Porter starts swinging for the fences on strong chocolate flavour.
Fiddler: Dark Matter takes a few hits, but manages to bounce back with a block of its own light chocolate flavours and throws a couple of toasted caramel malt jabs back.
V1rgil: Dark Chocolate Porter is no nonsense straight up chocolate, and although its missing medium and creamy malts in the body, it compensates with some good coffee manoeuvres.
Fiddler: Dark Matter does seem to be faltering as the match warms up, but Dark Chocolate Porter doesn’t let up and keeps coming.
V1rgil: Dark Chocolate Porter comes out of the corner determined to stay true to form, but Dark Matter seems to be wilting and watery.
Fiddler: As the match ends Dark matter seems a little confused and having an identity crisis. Is it a Stout? Is it a Brown? Is it a Porter?
Fiddler: Over all, the match seemed a little one-sided for DCP. It came out strong at the beginning of every round swinging wildly, but DM still had a couple of good points.
V1rgil: Agreed. Dark Matter is no slouch, but seems to be lacking direction. In the end, Dark Matter seems to be a casual, dark, session beer going against a trained, dark chocolate porter powerhouse. It seems to me that DCP is working towards a fight against the local BC chocolate porter champ, Longboat, from Phillips Brewing (also Victoria, BC).
Fiddler: Let’s check the score cards and tally up the numbers.
|Lighthouse Dark Chocolate Porter||vs.||Hoyne Dark Matter|
|+1 for aroma||+1 for label art and description|
|+1 for chocolate flavour||+1 for first limited release|
|+1 for colour||+1 for less calories|
|+1 for alcohol by volume / dollar||+1 for name|
|+1 for availability|