Surprise! Some of our favorite spring-to-summer beers aren’t kolsches, blondes or weizens; they’re dark, lusty porters. Sip these roasty wonders while they’re still here.
Named for the old brick alley beneath Pike Brewing that winds upward to Pike Place Market, Post Alley Porter is practically sessionable at 6.0% ABV, but you’d never guess it the way its spicy, roasty bitterness and alcoholic bite strong-arm your tongue.
Widmer Bros. latest release looks like cola in the glass, but on the tongue, Oatmeal Porter is velvet-soft. Brewed with the Widmers’ custom-roasted “Bro Oats,” the beer’s creamy, smooth body effortlessly fuses caramel and toffee with hints of vanilla and alcohol. And while most oatmeal beers only showcase the adjunct’s fullness, this brew delightfully displays some oatmeal flavor, too.
Heretic’s 7.0%-ABV Shallow Grave is a year-round offering, but just try to find a more perfect beer for sharing around a crackling fire. On the nose, it’s woodsy and a tad smoky; roast (and a neat Peanut M&M note!) melts into a soft, cohesive swallow that slips right down your throat. Pass the marshmallows!
Smoky, leathery and just a twinge tangy, the 6.4%-ABV Ranger Creek Mesquite Smoked Porter is barbecue sauce in a glass: Mesquite-smoked malts give the beer serious porklike flavor, and a barely-there fennel note keeps each well-constructed sip weightless.
Left Hand’s palate-rocking, 8.8%-ABV smoked imperial porter is back after a four-year hiatus. Smoke Jumper is brewed to honor the National Smokejumper Association (which supports firefighters who parachute into the wildfire sites), but you’ve gotta wonder if it wasn’t also meant to satisfy cigar aficionados. Each sip is like a breath of bacon and campfire smoke—you actually need to exhale after swallowing.
PLUS: As long as the sun’s blazing, swap the standard burly beer blend for Mississippi Mud Black & Tan: The porter/pilsner combo is a crisper, more summer-worthy iteration of the classic stout/pale pint. It’s smartly packaged in a big 1-quart jug for passing around a picnic.