By Justin Kennedy
Perhaps no beer is more suited for a long black night than a robust, warming porter. Closely related to the stout — differences between the two are subject to debate — the porter is one of the oldest codified beer styles, dating back to 19th-century London, where dock workers (“river porters”) popularized it as their post-shift beer of choice. Traditional versions are dark reddish-brown to black in color with chocolate flavors and briny, caramel-like aromas. But like anything when it comes to beer, the style has evolved over the centuries.
Newer American porters are roasty, bitter, and often noticeably hoppy — a sharp departure from the more subtle English ones. Meanwhile, Baltic and imperial porters, popular in Scandinavia, Russia, and Eastern Europe, traditionally use cold-fermented lager yeasts, leaving the beer smooth and clean but also inky and amplified with warming alcohol. From the Baltic Seas to the Great Lakes, here are 15 of our favorite porters from around the world.