In a glass, darkly.

New to the rich, dark and mysterious world of porter? Ben McCormick recommends three dark tipples from indie brewers to wet your whistle...

Almanac Sour Beer Porter, 6%

Smelling more like a Belgian lambic-style beer than a porter, this effervescent Californian ale is lightyears away from the original recipes and those unfamiliar with sour-tasting beers might think it off. While only having colour in common with its namesake, Almanac’s offering is very tangy and could cut through a thirst like cheese through a goose.

Brew by Numbers 03/01 Original Porter, 6.1%

A six-grain porter of considerable complexity, this is loosely based on original recipes – as the Bramling Cross hops hint – but is embellished by the addition of Columbus hops too. A deep, dark, rich, brooding beer, Brew by Numbers Original Porter is both smooth and sharp, with just the right levels of carbonation to keep it refreshing and moreish.

Kernel Brewery Export India Porter, 5.8%

Probably the country's finest porter brewer at the moment, Kernel has taken a 200-year-old beer and updated it with an American twist. This exceptional beer combines a roasted coffee aroma with a thick thud of molasses and lastly a gently cascading Columbus-hop bitterness that trickles effortlessly towards the back of your throat.

Read about the dark history of porter in Ernest Journal iPad issue 3, available to download now.


Ben McCormick seeks out the extraordinary in his three main fields of interest: beer, cycling and music. He regularly pens articles for Caught by the River and Ransomnote as well as two blogs.