Ok guys. I know that drinking a “Winter Porter” in the middle of summer seems odd. But after following the release of Citizen’s Porter in winter, I tried my best to get hold of it while it was still in season. Luck didn’t favour me until I found it in Welkom (again!) in November. Close enough right?
Beer: Pacifist Winter Porter
Country: Cape Town, South Africa
Rating: 4 / 5
Citizen have been around since 2012 and I haven’t reviewed any of their beers yet. I’ve tried most of the range but this one really piqued my interest. Firstly, you don’t see many porters around in SA (seemingly because stouts are the more popular style to brew) but also because I’d never really enjoyed any of Citizens beers. It’s one of the breweries that I tend to overlook (sorry…) but also one of the breweries that I keep promising myself to sit down and try again.
Ok, let’s get to it. The Pacifist (cool name).
On the pour it’s darker than dark with a thin, beige head that is quite persistent. But what does happen straight away is the smack of coffee , chocolate and vanilla on the nose. It’s really stout like in aroma, but with a little more a liqueur strength. Needless to say, it’s beautiful.
It actually got me thinking about the difference between Porters and Stouts. Now, I have always believed that Stouts are heavier, fuller bodied versions of Porter. History backs that up, in the sense that Stouts were originally called Stout Porters. They were the “stouter” porters. Richer, creamier, heavier. Porters, on the other hand were slightly lighter bodied and more sessionable.
The only main difference many brewers still agree on is the kind of malt that should be used to brew each type of beer. Porters use malted barley and stouts are primarily made from unmalted roasted barley, which is where the coffee flavour most people associate with stout comes from. But even these rules seem to be somewhat blurry according to brewers.
Back to the beer. If we use the idea that a Porter should be lighter bodied than a stout, then the Pacifist hits the nail on the head. I find a common problem in SA stouts is the lack of body (not flavour though…) but it should be expected from a Porter. It is by no means a thin beer, it’s just that it doesn’t fill you like a good stout does. The flavours and aroma match 100%. It’s all coffee and chocolate with hints of vanilla. It’s desserty without being a cake. It also has just the right bitterness which lingers on and makes you want more.
I really enjoyed this, and if this sort of beer is coming out of the Citizen stable, I’ll be keen to revisit their regulars as well as try their new ones.