Thwaites Tavern porter

30 Apr

Name: Tavern Porter
Brewery: Thwaites
Type: Porter
Alcohol Volume: 4.7
From: Morrisons, Leicester
Price: £1.99
Drink: Cool, but not cold.
In short: A refreshing beer that sacrifices little of the dark flavourings of a porter.

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It’s been a while since my last post, but it turns out doing two essays in quick session is something that can be broadly defined as ‘all consuming’. But I’ve got a few moments to do a review, so here I am.

Last week I promised to review an alternative to Guinness. This comes with a caveat; as alluded to in the last Beer Primer, Guinness on draught or in a can is the way it is because of a particular manner of storage. I am, however, reviewing bottle conditioned beer so the consistency will be quite different to Guinness.

Well, actually, it comes with two caveats. Guinness is a stout, and this isn’t a stout. You might think it’s just a little bit odd trying to find an alternative to Guinness by looking at a different type of beer. It is, but it goes mean I get to deliver a history lesson. It’ll be fun. And brief.

You see, before ale and lager ruled the roost in London pubs, porter, an evolution of brown beer, was king. It was one of the first types of beer able to be conditioned at the brewery and so drunk immediately. These strong beers (generally about 6.0% ABV) gave birth to a small family of beers of different strengths, including single, double and triple stout porters. For a number of reasons, however, the style waned and the stout porters became the prevailing dark beer in the country.

Now, however, the style is back with a vengeance and very easy to get hold of in any large supermarket; Morrisons alone had three porters and a couple of old-style stouts, so there are plenty out there to try.

The beer at hand, then. Thwaites are a Lancashire brewery responsible for a very large family of beers, of a number of different styles and are generally worth checking out. Their Tavern Porter is no exception to this.

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In the glass it looks pretty much as you’d expect a porter to – a shade of dark somewhere beyond black, with a head the colouring of brown sugar. On first taste, however, it’s surprisingly refreshing; it has a cool thinness to it that belies the dark tones of the beer and a hint of sweetness behind the initial coffee toned bitterness. The taste lasts pleasantly, too, without becoming cloying, leaving a kind of smoky liquorice coating in your mouth.

Nor does the refreshing bitter-sweet taste lose its charm as the drink goes on – it remains a refreshing and thoroughly drinkable porter. It doesn’t match Guinness, or any stout for that matter, in terms of thickness, but the flavour are perhaps more enticing and perfectly balanced, making the Tavern Porter an incredibly moreish proposition.

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