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Charles River Porter - Cambridge Brewing Company

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Charles River Porter
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very good

116 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 116
Reviews: 71
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 2
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Cambridge Brewing Company visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-22-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 116 | Reviews: 71 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
Photo of BeerAdvocate


4.3/5  rDev +7.8%

Presentation: On tap.

Appearance: Opaque with a tan, whispy, lace.

Smell: Citrus in the nose, well hopped. Earthiness, slightly roasted.

Taste: Light bodied malt profile, roasted to burnt barley flavours. Somewhere in between a grapefruit bitter flavour enters the taste realm. Finished grain dry with some ending grapefruit and sweet/sour flavours.

Notes: WOW! What a Robust Porter! We could drink this all night long. They have no need to change anything with this porter ever. Done just right!

09-22-2000 00:00:01 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of Jason


4.3/5  rDev +7.8%

On tap and served in an American Pint tumbler. Big fat roasted malt character on the palate but not with overly burnt flavour, more of a soft roasted char flavour. Maltiness is thick in the middle with a splash of sweetness, almost bready. Dry finish with a refreshingly mild acrid twang. This is one of the better porters brewed in the US and one that I always go back to.

06-13-2002 05:42:23 | More by Jason
More User Reviews:
Photo of bpfrush


4/5  rDev +0.3%

11-14-2011 16:39:20 | More by bpfrush
Photo of juicebox


4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

06-25-2013 01:29:07 | More by juicebox
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev -5.3%

Enjoyed on tap at the brewpub. Solid porter with expresso coffee and above average mouthfeel. Bitterness without being mouth puckering. Very dark brown colour with tons of lace following through. Carbonation was right there. Chocolate stouty aroma, some licorice in the taste. Drying finish.

07-16-2009 00:25:49 | More by Sammy
Photo of tempest


4/5  rDev +0.3%

I had a glass at the CBC. This is a mighty fine porter. I usually bemoan when porters are too thick, but the body is spot on here - a satisfying, but not too-filling body. The flavor started with a deep, black roast, but quickly sweetened a touch with toffee and caramel bread crust notes. Overall, a classic American porter.

08-25-2010 03:16:34 | More by tempest
Photo of snowmaggedon


4/5  rDev +0.3%

10-08-2013 01:41:51 | More by snowmaggedon
Photo of bewareOFpenguin


4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

When the barkeep brought it, my wife thought it was a stout. Very dark, with a great robust, toasted taste. I personnally like the addition of the hops. It added to the overall taste. When I go back to CBC, this beer will be on my mind.

11-22-2002 11:02:18 | More by bewareOFpenguin
Photo of Kegatron


3.8/5  rDev -4.8%

On tap at the brewpub.

Pours a dark brown with some ruby highlights and a finger width of light tan head that settles donw into a nice creamy retention that left some pretty big lacing. The aroma is notes of caramel and chocolate sweetness that is balanced by roasted malts and coffee.

The taste is filled with pleasant notes of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate. There is just the tiniest amount of residual sweetness in the finish but for the most part, the majority of the character is dry and roasty. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation and a creamy feel.

This a good Porter from Cambridge and definitely fits the "dark beer" role in their lineup of staple beers. I usually like a touch more sweetness and maybe a little less roast in that style but it just wasn't to be in this guy. It's still definitley worth your time though.

02-26-2008 17:20:17 | More by Kegatron
Photo of 3leggeddub


4/5  rDev +0.3%

11-23-2011 03:39:11 | More by 3leggeddub
Photo of Kmlund


3.75/5  rDev -6%

07-07-2014 18:59:38 | More by Kmlund
Photo of mydeadguy


3.93/5  rDev -1.5%

Deep inky black with little caramel colored head, that trails down the glass. Nose is full of roasted malt character, hints of chocolate and smoke.
Taste is roasted malty goodness, with a nice hop balance in the finish, and hints of sweet fruit. As it warms the alcohol is slightly represented in the taste and nose. Mouthfeel is creamy, smooth and full bodied with little carbonation.
I would have another of these in a second.. great local beer..

10-02-2003 02:18:51 | More by mydeadguy
Photo of Franchise


4.2/5  rDev +5.3%

Poured a jet black but probably more really dark brown in better light. It left a thick tan head frothy and nice, it was served a little too cold for a cask but that didn't detract from the offering. The nose is chocolate, roasted nuts, coffee, and a caramel sweetness. The taste starts bitter espresso upfront that is then followed with a smooth milky syrupy coating of toffee sweetness on the throat that finishes bitter on the palate for a nicely balanced porter. Another great offering from the CBC.

07-04-2006 22:31:34 | More by Franchise
Photo of BeerSox


4.47/5  rDev +12%

On-tap into pint glass at Johnny D's in Davis Square - Somerville, MA.

Almost pitch black, but some ruby and amber highlights show up toward the bottom of the glass. A one finger tan head slowly settles to a pillowy cap. Couldn't get much aroma, but from what I could get there was plenty of roasted malts and a little bit of dark coffee. The flavor was fantastic, with burnt malts, a little cocoa and some more of the dark coffee. Maybe a little caramel in there as well. Hop bitterness was on the low end, not really noticeable. Full bodied.

I had to order another round of this one while at the restaurant. I was tempted to order a third. Very drinkable, almost sessionable, and very recommended.

05-19-2009 03:41:35 | More by BeerSox
Photo of spark3148857


4/5  rDev +0.3%

05-28-2013 02:02:33 | More by spark3148857
Photo of WhitmansNiece


4.75/5  rDev +19%

11-23-2013 18:51:45 | More by WhitmansNiece
Photo of u2carew


4.35/5  rDev +9%

A) Pours with a finger thick head, tan and creamy. Lacing is thin and sticky. Body is opaque.
S) Smoky. Chocolate. Hints of coffee. Prominent caramel.
T) Smoky caramel malts. Notes of dark chocolate. Just a slight hop bite in the finish.
M) Crisp. Fizzy. Dry. Full body.
D) A delicious porter. Robust flavors with great aroma. Pour me another!

03-20-2010 23:42:19 | More by u2carew
Photo of PEBKAC

New York

3.98/5  rDev -0.3%

Growler purchased at the CBC Beerunch & subsequently cradled through numerous potholes & stares from salivating passengers on my way back to NYC. This is what $11 can get ya. Read all about it.

Glug, glug, glug, it pours pretty savagely, but I manage not to spill it. As a result, a strong head develops. It is pretty resistant to any poking or prodding, much like the foam insulation poking through my shoddy apartment wall. Major lacing; the glass is pretty much enameled at this point. If only it was this easy to frost my windows during Christmas.

Smells of robust, unground coffee beans & yummy Cadbury Fruit and Nut bars flow over the edge of the pint. The chocolate isn't anything special, but the sugary sweet raisins & I would guess almonds(by default), really work well together.

On the taste, there is a race between the roast & the bitter resin on opposite sides of your mouth. The chocolate comes through, but at the same moment, so does that persistant jab of bitterness. It does eventually overpower, & linger for quite a while. Clapping your tongue & the roof of your mouth together brings back some of the coffee notes, but the bitterness, while weak, still marches on. Depending on how you like it, this can be viewed as a good or bad thing. A calming grope(depending on how much you like to be groped) of vanilla tries its best to smooth the experience out.

The carbonation does it job, & moves all the flavors around. Mouthfeel was overall average, if not on the thinner side. While that didn't give a great score to itself, it made the drinkability quite more favorable.

I'm glad I had the chance to partake.
Great breakfast by the way. :)

06-20-2007 23:28:39 | More by PEBKAC
Photo of SixpointJMH

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +8.5%

probably my favourite of the cbc brews. it's basic but it's damn tasty. this one purs a dark brown to near black colour with a nice but moderate tan head. the smell and flavour were of chocolate, caramel and malt, with a hint of coffee thrown into the mix. it tries to inch its way toward being a stout at times but remains consistently a porter, which is nice because it ends up being a bolder (but basic, as i've said) porter. the roasted malt and chocolate balance in the flavour is really very very nice and there's a ouch of eathy sweetness here and there as well. mouthfeel is spot on as this is a medium to full bodied brew. i could easily drink this one often.

10-25-2004 02:59:09 | More by SixpointJMH
Photo of StevieW


4.3/5  rDev +7.8%

Murky deep dark brown color. Head was beige, smooth, foamy, and ample. Very rich inviting sweet smells, hints of chocolate and roasted coffee. Taste was a combination of sublte chocolate malt, and slighty bitter coffee flavors. Crisp dry hopped finish. Creamy,medium bodied, smooth, easy to drink Porter. I could see drinking this all winter long if I lived up there. My favorite beer from my recent trip to CBC.

09-07-2002 14:42:13 | More by StevieW
Photo of HattedClassic


4.23/5  rDev +6%

The beer pours a nice tan and creamy head that dissipates quickly. Leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. The head still leaves a ring around the inside of the glass. The beer itself is a dark chocolate with slight hints of dark chocolate and a bit shiny. The beer smell has strong hints of dark chocolate and roasted malts with a slight hop note and a tiny hint of vanilla. Also, smoky notes through out the beer. The beer taste is similar to the smell. The stronger notes are those of roasted malts, coco, and dark chocolate with stronger hop notes in the bitter aftertaste as well as smoke. In addition to the hops, the aftertaste has a strong dark chocolate presence. The vanilla note is still there but not as prominent. The feel is thick bodied with biting carbonation. Overall, a pretty good beer and worth getting again.

07-05-2013 22:01:06 | More by HattedClassic
Photo of kevgod


4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

01-07-2012 18:00:44 | More by kevgod
Photo of liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

05-02-2013 21:27:46 | More by liamt07
Photo of IcemanCometh


4/5  rDev +0.3%

06-16-2013 01:01:19 | More by IcemanCometh
Photo of donkeyrunner


4.08/5  rDev +2.3%

@ Atwoods, Somerville MA

Opaque black with a 1 finger tan head. Stellar retention left big, fat lace rings like my glass was wearing a foamy striped rugby shirt.

Smells like sweet, smokey bacon. I think it's the rich, sweet roastiness of dark, dark coffee combined with a mild sour that gives off the bacon impression. Whatever it is I like it. Cocoa powder and almond nuttiness gives an Almond Joy impression. So, in summary Almond Joy + applewood smoked bacon = Cambridge Porter.

Roast malt and mild (lactic?) sour tang. Lots of dry char and coal roast flavors. If this was a different brewery it could have a name like "Ol' Smokestack," or something similar. Singed dark chocolate.

04-03-2010 14:24:47 | More by donkeyrunner
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Charles River Porter from Cambridge Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 116 ratings.