Review: Slumbrew Porter Square Porter

In Beer Reviews by Karl

Slumbrew says:

“Rich black porter with a unique blend of chocolate, coffee, roasted and nutty flavors. We brewed this beer with cocoa powder and will be conditioning the fermented beer with cacao nibs from our friends at Taza Chocolate here in Somerville.”

Slumbrew Porter Square PorterSlumbrew Porter Square Porter
Porter, 6.5% ABV

I love new beer. It’s all shiny and fresh with that fancy new-beer smell. And for whatever reason, when I saw that Slumbrew from the Somerville Brewing Company was now available in Chicago, I figured hey – how about some brand new (to us) beer? And so it came to pass that I swung by Binny’s and grabbed m’self some Porter Square Porter.

At first glance, this porter pours thick and sticky with a mocha head and leaves some nice lacing. Brewed with cocoa powder and roasted cacao nibs, this brew isn’t overwhelmingly sweet or even terribly chocolatey. It’s back there, but right upfront there were some welcome coffee, cola, caramel and even some Dr. Pepper flavors, and finishes with a bitter espresso tail. Restraint in overchocolating this beer is appreciated; it’s easy to sweeten the hell out of a porter to make it palatable, but this one is pleasantly complex, letting the cacao form the backbone that supports the rest of the flavor.

Of all the porters I’ve had, Founders’ Porter still ranks right up at the top, so it should come as high praise when I say that the Slumbrew porter reminded me first and foremost of the Founders offering. It’s a little sweeter and lacks some of that sharper bitterness that really makes the Founders version “pop,” but the Porter Square definitely stands on its own.

Temperature is a real factor, though – too cold and obviously the flavors are restrained, but let it get to room temp and the flavors back off again and even the body changed, thinning out and getting very sticky on the finish. Savor but don’t hoard this bomber; enjoy it in a reasonable amount of time or share it around. The bottle claims it’s great for aging; based on my cellar experience I’d say throw it back for a year at most; I have a hunch the flavors fall off significantly after that.

At a quite reasonable $7.49 retail (Binny’s price, anyways) this is a good one to have around this season.

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Karl

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Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Draft Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, comes out in late 2017, and if you’re buying, he’s likely having a porter or a pale ale.

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