9 Best American and English Porters of 2021

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Porters are more than just "that other dark beer." But over the past decade or so, craft beer consumers have sprinted down a dark, windy, roasty path of the stout. From barrel-aged to fruited to breakfast variations, stouts have become the darling of modern American craft brewers. So much so that along the way we've forgotten that porters are kind of like the OG dark beer! Somehow we've forgotten about the humble porter. 

Originating in 18th century London, porters take their name from the London working class that first enjoyed them: boatmen, punters, and porters. Essentially, after a long day of backbreaking work loading and unloading docked ships, these porters would head to the local pub for some refreshment. 

The original porters were darker, richer versions of the English mild, brown ale. But in early English brewing culture, premium beers were equated with a higher ABV. For instance, a brewery would have brewed a lower-ABV pale ale alongside an "extreme" pale clocking in at 8% or 9% ABV. English brewers did the same with darker beers. Essentially higher-ABV more premium versions eventually became known as stout porters. Hence stouts are really just an evolution of porters. 

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(Photography courtesy of John A. Paradiso)

English brewers marketed "stout porter" as their best product. Eventually porter dropped from the name and stout stuck. If the difference is still confusing, our friends at Hop Culture wrote an entire piece on this discussion

Today, porters and stouts continue to battle each other with the latter often coming out on top. But the other dark beer should not be overlooked. From a modern American porter with a peanut butter twist to a straight-up classic English iteration from a North Yorkshire-based brewery, here are Untappd's 9 highest-rated American and English porters. **Please note we are only covering American and English versions in this list. Stay tuned for more to come on the best of coffee, Imperial, Baltic, or other versions of porters later down the line.**

1. Peanut Butter Busted Knuckle - Quaff ON! Brewing Company

2. Shake Chocolate Porter - Boulder Beer

3. (512) Pecan Porter - (512) Brewing Company

4. Plum Porter - Titanic Brewery

5. Plum Porter - St. Peter's Brewery Co.

6. Long Route Peanut Butter Porter - Empyrean Brewing Co.

7.  CPB - Lupulin Brewing Company

8. Hershey's Chocolate Porter - Yuengling Brewery

9. Bad Kitty - Brass Castle Brewery

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Porters usually aren't too crazy, so if you're looking for beers that are a little more unusual, check out some of the craziest beers Hop Culture and friends are trying each week. On each episode of The Craziest Beer I Had This Week, we drop a new crazy beer we've cracked. Watch last week's episode and don't forget to subscribe to Hop Culture's YouTube channel so you never miss a beat on the wild beer we're drinking next!    

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