Bartenders Share The One Porter They’ll Be Drinking This Fall

Any trip to a craft brewery usually means buying a flight of seasonal beers. There might be a Saison, likely an IPA or two (there are always a few IPAs), perhaps a lager or pils, maybe an end-of-the-season pumpkin ale, a stout, and maybe even a porter.

We’re focusing on that latter style today. And while stouts and porters used to be pretty much the same thing, modern incarnations do vary. It mostly comes down to how deeply malted the barley is for the mash — with stout malts often getting a harder/hotter roast during that process. From there, things can vary as significantly as any beer style with yeasts, hops, water, and even aging all coming into play. It may sound like a lot of detail but, in the end, it’s more fun to just try a few and go with the flow until you find the one that you really like.

To find the best examples, we’ve once again turned to the bar professionals. We asked a handful of well-known bartenders to tell us the one porter they’ll be drinking this fall and winter. Keep scrolling to see all of their picks so you know what to stock up on in the coming months.

Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald

Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
Great Lakes

Christian Beretta, bartender at South Seas Island Resort in Captiva, Florida

ABV: 6%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

A new favorite is the Great Lakes Brewing Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. Its beauty is in its simplicity. Named for the ship that met a tragic ending, this ale is a benchmark for the style and is never out of fashion. It is roast forward in profile with pleasing coffee and chocolate undertones and a slight chalky ash finish.

Lefthand Death Before Disco

Left Hand Death Before Disco
Left Hand

Lewis Caputa, lead bartender of Rosina inside The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas

ABV: 6%

Average Price: $11 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Lefthand Death Before Disco is my go-to. I love a porter that brings nutty and coffee flavors and this porter brings both. It’s a perfect beer to drink while the leaves are falling in your backyard while firing up the BBQ.

Russian River Shadow of a Doubt Porter

Russian River Porter
Russian River

Christopher Rodriguez, lead bartender at Lucy Bar in Yountville, California

ABV: 9.86%

Average Price: $7 for a 16.9-ounce bottle

Why This Beer?

My favorite porter is the Russian River Shadow of a Doubt Porter. I may be biased since it is a local porter, but its smoothness with notes of chocolate and spice is perfect for fall. It’s not always easy to find. But, if you can find it, buy it.

Breckenridge Nitro Vanilla Porter

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

Austin Sheffield, bartender at 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grille in Beaver Creek, Colorado

ABV: 5.4%

Average Price: $10 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

Breckenridge Brewery Nitro Vanilla Porter is a local brew made just right down the road from our hotel. I encourage guests to sip on this brew while taking in the beautiful mountain scenery while sitting at our outdoor, wood-burning fire pits onsite. Not to mention it compliments pretty well with the smores everyone is usually roasting by the firepits.

Funky Buddha Last Snow Porter

Funky Buddha Last Snow
Funky Buddha

Lauren Navarro, head bartender at Apothecary 330-A Cocktail Bar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

ABV: 6.3%

Average Price: $14 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

My favorite porter to drink in the fall and winter would be Funky Buddha’s Last Snow. It has great elements of chocolate and coffee without being too overbearing. It’s a well-balanced porter.

Founders Porter

Founders Porter

Brendan Pineda, manager and buyer at Plumpjack Wine & Spirits in San Francisco

ABV: 6.5%

Average Price: $11 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

I’d have to go with Founders Porter. It’s robust, chocolaty, and silky all at the same time. There’s a reason it’s one of the best-selling porters on the market. It’s classic, rich, and always there for you any time of year.

Evil Genius Purple Monkey Dishwasher Porter

Evil Genius Purple Monkey
Evil Genius

Ed Watt, bartender at Sabroso + Sorbo at The Notary Hotel in Philadelphia

ABV: 6.7%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

My pick is Purple Monkey Dishwasher from one of our local breweries in Philadelphia, Evil Genius Beer Company. It’s a chocolate and peanut butter porter that tastes so good during the cooler months here in Philly.

Hill Farmstead Everett Porter

Hill Farmstead Everett
Hill Farmstead

Chevy Farrell, beverage director for No Man’s Land in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

ABV: 7.5%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

If you haven’t heard about this brewery, you’re missing out. Nestled in Vermont cheese country, this passionate bunch is putting out magical brews. This porter is dark and toasty with a touch of effervescence while maintaining a creamy mouth feel. It offers dark malty notes including chocolate and medium roast coffee. What is there to say about this beer aside from, “If you know, you know.”

Maui Coconut Hiwa Porter

Maui Porter
Maui Brewing

Christian Taibi, head mixologist at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club in Honolulu, Hawaii

ABV: 6%

Average Price: $11 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Maui Brewing Co. has a wonderfully interesting porter called Coconut Hiwa, which has all the tradition of a dark ale with an interesting hint of roasted coconut and mocha. It’s a perfect marriage of flavors for the fall and winter months.

Spiteful God-Damn Pigeon Porter

Spiteful GD Pigeon

Alex Barbatsis, head bartender at The Whistler in Chicago

ABV: 8.2%

Average Price: $12 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

God-Damn Pigeon Porter from Spiteful Brewing is a seasonal Chicago favorite and for good reason. Its malty, rich flavor is buoyed by the not overly heavy body of the beer that makes it ideal for drinking on a chilly night or with a chocolatey dessert.

Deschutes Black Butte Porter

Deschutes Black Butte

Roger Eyles, general manager, and sommelier at Mister Mao in New Orleans

ABV: 5.2%

Average Price: $11 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon is my pick. It is crisp, toasty, and dark without being overly heavy on the palate, and it is fairly inexpensive.

Gnarly Barley Korova Peanut Butter Porter

Gnarly Barley Peanut Butter Porter
Gnarly Barley

Jess Collins, beverage director at Toups Meatery in New Orleans

ABV: 6.2%

Average Price: $11 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

I’ve been digging the Korova Milk Porter by Gnarley Barley as of late. It’s a Baltic oatmeal milk porter that has tasty roasted coffee and chocolate flavors. It drinks super easy for a dark brew and pairs well with comfort food. Have a pint with a burger or a meat board and you’re good to go.

Ribstone Creek Old Man Winter Porter

Ribstone Old Man Winter

Mallory O’Meara, author of GIRLY DRINKS: A World History of Women and Alcohol

ABV: 6.5%

Average Price: $15 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Even though winter is in the name, I love Old Man Winter Porter the very moment the temperature drops below 65 degrees. This porter is wicked roasty on the nose and the tongue. It’s got strong cocoa notes without being too sweet or intense. It’s just lovely.

Saugatuck Peanut Butter Porter

Saugatuck Peanut Butter Porter

Emily Franchy, bartender at Uffda Hospitality in Louisville, Kentucky

ABV: 5.7%

Average Price: $11 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Saugatuck Brewing’s Peanut Butter Porter is the perfect mix of slightly sweet and nutty without being too rich. I could drink multiple glasses all fall and winter long, and I do!

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