Two Shallos Roundtables in a row? We kind of forgot we had done this one until I went digging through my notebook, hence the "Lost Roundtable" title.
As for the beer? We've done this before. Back in April of 2009 we sat down with every dark Founder's beer available and asked if they were up to expectations. Close to nine months later is a good time to re-review. Back then I gave Founder's Porter a 3.75 mug score and declined to add my thoughts. This time around I'll say the Founder's Porter has the cocoa powder nose, chocolaty front, and smooth and balanced flavors that make great porters great. In fact, apart from Broad Ripple Brewpub's porter, I can't think of one I'd rather have than Founder's. Watch what I do with that score now: 4.75 mugs
Look at the label of a bottle of Founders Porter and you'll find the following tagline: "Dark, Rich & Sexy." I don't know what Founders is thinking by calling the beer "sexy," but the dark and rich part I definitely get. In fact, between Founders Porter and the Broad Ripple Brewpub's Monon Porter (our Beer of the Year for 2009), the porter is fast becoming my favorite beer style. And as both of these beers show, when the style is done right, it's hard to beat.
So let's focus on Founders Porter, especially when it is served on draft. What you'll find is a beer that's nearly pitch black in color with the faintest remnant of a tan head. And the nose--well, the nose is simply amazing. If you've ever had a whiff of the dark chocolate truffles from Indy's fine chocolate shop, The Best Chocolate in Town, you'll know what I'm talking about. The flavor pretty much follows suit, conveying notes of the richest, darkest chocolate you've ever had, bolstered by a full, chewy mouthfeel. This is a definite bonus for a dark chocolate freak like me (I go through a bar of Endangered Species Extreme Dark Chocolate--another fine Indianapolis chocolatier--just about every week), and it's probably why I love Founders Porter.
Speaking of The Best Chocolate in Town and Endangered Species--Hey KOTBR, when are we going to get around to doing that chocolate and beer pairing roundtable? 4.80 Mugs.
My consumption of Founders Porter inspired me to bust out my Ouija board to contact a portly founder. Specifically, Benjamin Franklin. Here is what he had to say:
"Remember not only to drink the right beer in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave undrunk the wrong beer at the tempting moment."I believe he means at heaven’s bar, only the best beers are served, not unlike Shallo’s. And Founders Porter is a heavenly choice. You would be wise to stay away from certain beers, even if they are the only ones available.
"Be slow in choosing a beer, slower in drinking."Here he is saying that there are a lot of beers to choose from, so be sure to take your time. Which is why it took us a while before we selected Founders Porter for our roundtable beer. Ben is also suggesting that you take your time with beers like the porter, whose ABV is higher than some and whose flavors are best enjoyed without a Rocky Mountain chill.
"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable beer drinker, since it enables one to find or make a reason for every time one has a mind to drink."I may be wrong, but I believe he is speaking to the sessionability of this beer, that Ben could easily drink this beer day in and day out.
"Wish not so much to live long as to drink well."Ben obviously is stating that life is to short to waste on beers that don’t have the roasty, chocolaty malts in flavor and aroma, and the full, creamy mouthfeel that is found in Founders Porter.
"I am in the prime of senility."Um, I can only assume that he thinks I have lost my mind for pretending to talk to Ben Franklin about Founders Porter. But it was better than my Grand Rapids-themed “The Death of an Amway Salesman” write up that I was originally working on. 4.25 Mugs.
Most people know I am a big fan of Founders beers. I am not sure whether it was because of the cold evening, being in the company of good friends, or that the beer was on draft, but Founders Porter was drinking brilliantly the night we had it. The nose was brimming with wonderful dark chocolate scents and roasted grain. I find that many porters just don't have the heft in both the nose and flavor, but this one does. The flavor profile is rich and decadent with base flavors of roasted grain that lean towards chocolate and a bit of caramel. I let the beer warm a bit more and there was even a little touch of coffee in there as well. The mouthfeel is my favorite aspect of the beer. This beer is full-bodied and finishes silky smooth and coats the tongue really well. This is the type of beer I've come to expect from Founders. It is Founders doing Founders only the way they can. I've said it before, but I don't think anyone does dark beer better than Founders. 4.65 Mugs.
Founder's Porter (Draft, December 2009)
Mike: 4.75 Mugs | Jim: 4.8 Mugs | Jason: 4.25 Mugs | Matt: 4.65 Mugs | Chris: 4.3 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 4.55 Mugs