Pros: Rich and chocolaty yet smooth and drinkable.
Cons: Hard to find.
I suppose that it’s only fitting that on this, Thanksgiving weekend, I’m sipping a bottle of Mayflower Porter. I’ve been eating turkey and stuffing and carrots and turnips and mashed potatoes and pickles and olives and pumpkin pie and (you get the idea) since Thursday, and it’s all because of those wonderful pilgrims. You see, way back in 1620, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and began the saga that gave us Thanksgiving.
Now, I know conventional wisdom says they landed here to get to Foxboro early for good seats at a Patriots game, but I assure you, that’s just not true. In point of fact, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock because they ran out of beer. I kid you not, and lest you doubt me, you can just read your bottle of Mayflower Porter for this quote of Governor William Bradford (who just happens to be an ancestor of mine):
“We could not now take time for further search or consideration, our victuals being much spent, especially our beer.”
Of course, when the Pilgrims landed, Porter had not yet been invented. That would come about 100 years later, presumably while the Pilgrims were still waiting for the kickoff. Mayflower makes a Thanksgiving Ale that would probably be more apropos to the theme of this review, but when I was in Rhode Island in July the porter was available and the Thanksgiving Ale was not. So sue me.
My bottle of Mayflower Porter was packaged on February 17, 2011 and tastes as good now as it did when I popped my first ever back in July. The beer is made with caramel, Munich, peated (peat smoked?), brown, chocolate, and two row pale malts. It’s hopped with Glacier and (appropriately) Pilgrim hops. Alcohol content is a moderate 5.5% by volume, certainly something even a Puritan would approve of.
Mayflower Porter pours to a jet black color with a very thick and rocky head formation and a soft chocolaty malt nose. The beer is beautiful in appearance and enticing in aroma, and I just can’t help but take a sip. When I do, my palate is delighted by a smooth, creamy body that’s moderate in texture and flows nicely over the tongue. A sinfully dark chocolate flavor quickly emerges, amazingly like the chocolate pudding your mom used to make for you when you were a kid. You know the kind, cooked on the stove then chilled in the fridge until a skin formed on top. In the finish, the beer becomes quite roasty indeed and finishes with a roasty bitterness tinged with a hint of herbal grassy hops.
A hearty robust porter, one the Pilgims would really have enjoyed if they had porter in those days. Lucky for you, it’s available now.