Like malt and hops, innovation is practically considered a raw material in craft beer. The industry has defined itself in part by its incessant drive to go bigger and badder (and lately, hazier).
While we’re all for that here at Foothills, there’s a distinct comfort in working with a beer style that’s been around almost 300 years. Porter has, to use the beer vernacular, aged well. Considered ‘dark beer zero’, it’s the forefather of all manner of dark, brewed incarnations. That creamy headed Guinness Stout enjoyed the world over? It’s original name was Extra Superior Porter.
Our relationship with the beer named for its popularity with London’s street and river baggage porters has been long and, as of this Friday, fruitful. People’s Porter was first introduced the year we opened (2005) as a winter seasonal, and has been a favorite since then. It also happens to be a terrific example of a Robust Porter – it has numerous awards to its name, including a gold medal from the ‘Oscars’ of beer, the World Beer Cup. (side note: our Baltic Porter has two Great American Beer Festival medals as well).
The beauty of porter goes beyond its rich ruby hue and multiple tantalizing flavors. Those flavors are complementary to myriad others, making variations of this beer as tasty as they are plentiful. “It’s like chocolate,” says our Brewmaster TL. “You know how when you get chocolate fondue they bring out all those fruits to go with it? That’s because all those flavors go great together.”
Fruit flavors are something we’ve not added to our porter – until now. Here’s a brief rundown of all the Porter variations we’ve had over the years, culminating with our latest offering – People’s Cherry Porter.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter: this was the first of our barrel aged beers. The rich chocolate and toffee notes of our porter blend well with the bourbon, oak and vanilla flavors picked up from barrel aging. We try and barrel age some porter whenever we can acquire fresh bourbon barrels.
Coffee Porter: Our co-owners Jamie and Sarah have always had a passion for coffee roasting. So it was natural fit to take some of their home-roasted beans and add them to a batch of People’s Porter. While this version of porter has only been available on draft and has yet to be bottled, that might change now that we have our own coffee place.
Moravian Porter: This variation was the result of our marketing director begging us to make a holiday beer. Brewmaster TL went to Old Salem to do some research and found an old Moravian cookie recipe. Parceling out the spices in the recipe in the same relative proportions to a batch of People’s Porter, the result was a tasty holiday ale that practically sold out overnight the first year we made it. We now partner with Dewey’s Bakery to make gift boxes every Christmas that contain a bottle of Moravian Porter, a bag of Dewey’s Moravian spice cookies, a bag of Footnote coffee, a limited edition pint glass, and a Moravian star Christmas ornament.
Pepper Porter: Next we decided to add a few organic hot peppers from Jamie’s organic farm to a batch of Porter. The result was a tasty melange of sweet and heat from the six different pepper varietals we used.
Cherry Porter: Our love for all things Porter continues with our newest version, which debuts on Friday November 9th at our pub, tasting room and Footnote – both on tap and in bottles. It’s been aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels, with several pounds of tart red cherries from the Pacific Northwest added to add both sweet and sour notes to the beer.
Hey, anything that’s been around three centuries is worth trying. Come give our new Cherry Porter a taste!