Quick US History Note: if you dont’ know who this beer is named after or why that person is important to our history, GET THEE TO A GOOGLE SEARCH. There’s no excuse for ignorance.*
Name: Thomas Paine Porter
Origin: Free State Brewery, Lawrence, KS
ABV: not given as per usual Free State fashion – OG of 1056, so not all that strong
I drank this: on tap at the brewery
This porter is one of my new favorites. LOVE.
It started off disappointing, honestly – there was absolutely no smell that I could pick up on, and I was worried that this didn’t bode well for the rest of the beer. But it’s pretty – very dark with a bit of a head. So I went for it.
And I was rewarded. This porter has an amazingly creamy mouthfeel – it’s almost the same sensation as drinking heavy cream. The taste is a strong hit of coffee and cream with some very dark roasted malts. I didn’t really notice the hops at all, but that’s fine with me in this beer – it was all dark gorgeous malty coffee goodness. The aftertaste is all coffee and malt.
So pretty much all Free State beers have a particular taste to them, a sort of “Free State” calling card that overlaps in everything they brew. Sam Adams is the same way – it’s pretty much always immediately clear with a Sam Adams beer that you’re drinking something from them, like everything they brew is a set of variations on a theme of Boston Lager. I don’t actually have a problem with this sort of thing – if brewers have a particular signature taste they’re happy with and want to use, then go for it.
The thing I found interesting with the Thomas Paine Porter, and the reason that my little discussion above has any relevance to this particular review, is that I absolutely and totally didn’t get the signature Free State flavor in this beer. Not sure what the deal was there. I don’t mind, though, and I don’t want them to touch the recipe on this beer. It’s pretty much a flawless porter in my book, and I’m hoping it’s on tap again the next time I make it out there.
*If you know exactly who Thomas Paine is and have memories of suffering through reading Common Sense two or three times between high school and college, hop on board and have one of the eponymous beer to ease the sorrow of remembered boredom.