Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Porter - Port City Brewing

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

128 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 128
Hads: 430
Avg: 4.04
pDev: 18.81%
Wants: 21
Gots: 81 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Port City Brewing
Virginia, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Porter | 7.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: AndrewNations on 02-12-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Porter Alström Bros
Reviews: 128 | Hads: 430
Photo of boralyl
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours an inch of creamy tan head into my oversized tulip. It's got nice retention and leaves some decent lacing as it settles. The beer is a medium-dark brown.

S - Brown sugar, chocolate, and sweet malts make up the aroma.

M - Medium in body, light-medium carbonation. The beer has a nice silky smooth feel with a creamy finish.

T - The beer begins with sweet malts which intertwine with milk chocolate. It's followed up by some roasted notes and more malt sweetness into the finish. There is a very light bitterness with the finish.

This is a great porter. The body is perfect and it's got great flavor and appearance. This beer impressed me, coming from a brewery I hadn't heard of before.

 699 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a mug.

A: Pours a very dark, almost black color. The head is a mocha shade, a little under 3 fingers, with average retention and lacing.

S: Has the usual roast, coffee, and chocolate, but this one seems to have an additional earthy/mineral note. Nice smell.

T: About the worst I can say is that it's really not that different than a lot of other porters I've had. Still, this one's executed impressively. It does feature a vaguely salty character to it (similar to soy sauce) that meshes well with the roasty base. Otherwise, the usual roast, coffee, and chocolate are the main basis of the flavors here. It's nature is easygoing rather than explosive.

M: Not the heaviest porter in the world, which is good. Drinks and finishes like a porter should, which means its medium bodied with a dry, bittersweet, slightly vegetal finish and lowish carbonation.

O: I enjoyed this. It measures up nicely to some of the better porters I've had (even if it doesn't quite outdo them), and it's well worth a purchase. Pair it with pulled pork/chicken BBQ.

 1,059 characters

Photo of WMEugene
4.39/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown/almost black color with a thin, fluffy tan head that dissipates to almost nothing and minimal lacing.

S - Dark roasted malts; coffee, chocolate, rich earthy notes.

T - A nice blend of coffee and chocolate malts; a very rich and rewarding taste. Nothing complex, but very enjoyable.

M - Slightly heavier than medium bodied, pretty smooth and drinkable. A little creamy.

O - Port City's Porter is an extremely well-done and solid brew. It's a fantastic example of the porter style and Port City's best year-round beer.

 543 characters

Photo of Beejay
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Very dark black in the glass, the head is light and fluffy and a nice tan color.

S: Deep chocolate aroma. Like cocoa powder, with a hint of floury bread dough. Perhaps a hint of black licorice, or some roasted grain.

T: Yum, pretty good. Malty and roasty, with some nice coffee and chocolate notes.

M: Medium thick in body, the carbonation is fine in size and lends a bit to the creamy mouthfeel.

O: Overall a pretty nice brew. It's hitting the spot for a dark beer, although may be a touch on the cloying side.

 522 characters

Photo of Reagan1984
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Thorpe429 for providing this in a recent trade.

Nice looking pint. Thin finger+ head, but with a lot of staying power and structure. Really dark color for a standard porter. No light getting through anywhere. A touch of tan lace left behind.

Aroma is of chocolate with a hint of anise or licorice. Thick in your nostril.

Oohh, nice little Porter. Dark chocolate, deep chewy dark malt flavor and a touch of molasses and black licorice. The aftertaste is a little charcoal like, but rounded.

Smooth and thick bodied with just a touch of carbonation to bring some brightness to the taste.

I really like this beer.

 625 characters

Photo of TechTriumph
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes on 03/04/12:
Bottling code on the bottom of the bottle: 2061 B2 1835; Poured in a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A - One inch of light tan creamy head with pretty good retention; Almost black with very little light managing to come through; Some partial rings of lacing left behind

S - Smell is a bit faint overall, but pleasant; Notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, floral aromas, tobacco, and just a bit of coffee and anise

T - There's quite a bit more roasted coffee in the flavor, accompanied by a small wave of bitterness and a bit of underlying sugary sweetness; Lots of earthy/woody flavors come after the coffee with just a bit of chocolate and anise lurking behind

M - Low to medium carbonation; Just under full bodied; Very rich and creamy mouthfeel that isn't too thick and leaves the mouth fairly dry

O - I thought this was a pretty solid porter, with its strengths being its flavor and creamy mouthfeel. The aroma seemed to be a bit weak, but that certainly doesn't take away from the superb drinkability and tasty flavor profile. After getting to try all of Port City's year-round offerings, this one is my favorite for sure.

 1,151 characters

Photo of dbmernin83
4.73/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Union St.
A perfect black with a dark khaki head that just hangs out. Lacing normally found in awesome west coast IPAs
Dark coffee, chocolate on the nose. Potent.
Huge dark chocolate and coffee evenly. A touch of hop to balance and perfect carbonation. Medium full to full bodied.
This is what I want in a porter. I thought I'd had some awesome porters, but this sets a new bar. A must try.

 403 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Dyan for this one. Can't say I've heard of this brewery before.

Appearance: Black as pitch with a lasting brown head that leaves some lacing behind as it descends.

Smell: Pretty strong hard water character here, quite mineral. I'd guess English yeast, too. It's got a fruity, toasted bread quality that reminds me of fruitcake, along with molasses-like sweetness. Takes a while to open up, but it's pretty decent once it does.

Taste & mouthfeel: Very mineral again, with a nicely balanced malt character that's an even mix of toasted, bready flavors and rich roastiness. It's a sweeter porter, but fitting of the strength. There's some plum and date fruitiness in here too. The finish is solid, displaying some pleasant roasted bitterness along with more semi-metallic mineral flavor, and faint acidity from the dark malts.

Overall: Pretty solid stuff. The water profile is a bit too metallic for my liking, but otherwise it's a good beer.

 953 characters

Photo of 4thelvofbeer
3.82/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice Porter! Port City has some really nice beers, and their Porter is a great example. Even better because the brewery is in Alexandria, and that's where I live right now, so it is easy to find in bottles and on tap! I had this beer on tap a few times at Hank's Oyster Bar in Old Town and bottles a few times as well.

Enjoying a bottle 18 Feb 12. Tasting notes:
A: Nice dark brown and carbonation
S: Malty chocolates...
T: A really smooth easy drinking Porter
M: Again, smooth and silky
O: A really nice Porter with a great flavor

The tap beer is really similar and extra smooth.

 582 characters

Photo of DaveBlack
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing from notes 2/6/2012

A: Dark brown, almost black, with a finger's width of brown head. After receding to a thin layer on top of the beer the head lasts forever, and leaves a good deal of lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Darkly roasted malts, coffee and molasses. Not a whole lot of complexity to the smell, and I wish there was more.

T: Lots of caramel and burnt sugar, and coffee. The dark roasted malts from the aroma bring a lot of malt bitterness. After the initial flavor from the malts the beer just sort of fades away. I wish there were more hops to combat the maltiness, because without them the beer seems disappointing.

M: Heavy body with moderate carbonation.

O: This beer seems to be straddling the line between a stout and a porter. The heavy malts are in the realm of stouts, but the hops and body are a lighter; more like a porter. I wish it would go one way or the other, because it is just slightly out of balance.

 950 characters

Photo of Guden
3.82/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Fully opaque black with a nice two finger light tan head.

S- Not very strong but whats there is awesome: roasted malts giving off chocolate, coffee, smoke and to smaller amounts raisins and figs.

T- Not quite as complex or interesting as the nose. Solid roasted malt profile that hits the back of the tongue with a little bit of roasty bitterness. Tasty but nothing amazing.

M- Medium body and medium carb lets this one hit the tongue in the right places and go down nicely.

D- This is a good beer all around but something keeps it from being great that I can't quite put my finger on. Still a solid choice of local porter.

 630 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Looks like a stout, with a midnight brown colored liquid and a massive head; plenty of stickage and lacing

Smell: Vaguely roasty and fruity, with a bit of a smoky character

Taste: Roasty and toasty, up front, with a growing chocolate character; by mid-palate, there is a subtle hop character that adds a distinctive balance; coffee elements appear after the swallow and lead to a lengthy finish that incorporates all sides of the flavor profile

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: What a really nice porter and easily the best of the beers that Port City brews

Thanks, bobertkuekn, for the opportunity

 648 characters

Photo of Loveyourbeer
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at Fireflies in Del Ray.
A: poured very dark, minimal head, decent lacing
S: strong, "meaty", some chocolate in there.
T: I enjoyed this thoroughly, both by itself and with a meal. Lots of flavors going on here but it really works. Some bitterness at the end. Didn't really taste the alcohol here.
M: very smooth but also substantial
O: this is the best of the Port City beers. I will be drinking this again and again.

 427 characters

Photo of LaCoursiere
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to gwillyb for this bottle. No bottled on or best-by date.

A - Poured into a tulip glass. Almost black with a light tan 1/2-finger head. The head dissipates quickly and there is little lacing.

S - Great roasted malt aroma with nice bready malt notes shining through the primary roasted and toasted background. You can really smell the barley in this. Not much aroma from the hops, perhaps a bit of earthiness.

T - Notes of coffee in the roasted malts with mild herbal hop bitterness in the finish. There is little sweetness, but what i there has a molasses hint.

M - Light for a porter with good smoothness and light carbonation. A little bit of alcohol warmth.

O/D - I would recommend seeking some of this out. It is a really nice interpretation of the style, with great malt and hop balance and smoothness. The carbonation is nice and light which makes the flavors shine.

 886 characters

Photo of Jesstyr
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed this on tap at the Chesapeake Room in DC.

Port City is a great up and coming local brewery, and the Porter is clearly their best offering. Pours chestnut and black - pure Porter, almost stout-like. Head is light brown, and hovers at two fingers. Nose was extremely malty, I get a lot of chocolate here, with some clear coffee notes as well.

Taste is pure porter, strong maltyness, coffee, chocolate - a great beer with a good piece of meat in my mind. I love the fullness of this beer - its smooth, and a great drink.

 527 characters

Photo of Chaney
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Since Port City is local, I almost always like to wait to get their entries on tap before reviewing them. I had this at the Hard Times Cafe in Woodbridge.

A: Poured as black as night, with the thickness being most gooily evident as it sloshed back and forth inside the glass. The head was about a couple of shades lighter than the liquid below it.

S: This was understated, yet effective. It was sort of a roasted pork sirloin and high grade coffee combo rolled into one.

T: On the taste, I got a good bit of a fruit component that when combined with the milk chocolatey goodness, I could have sworn that I just ate a bowl of "Fruity Pebbles" with chocolate milk and a cup of coffee.

M: Pretty thick, but not quite into "Dark Lord" territory, and there was lots of splotchy lacing, a slight bitterness left of the palate afterwards, but with an overall smooth finish.

O: This one is available all over town and never fails to disappoint!

 942 characters

Photo of avalon07
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick, muddy consistency. There was a small amount of creamy, tan-colored head that quickly dissipated. Not much lacing.

S: A nice, typically porter-like aroma of malt, coffee, and chocolate.

T: Tasted of coffee, chocolate, grain, malt, and mild hops in the finish. This is a good, well-rounded flavor. It won't knock your socks off, but it is nice.

M: A fair amount of carbonation with a super dry, crisp finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is a solidly made, easy to drink porter. Doesn't deviate from the style, but it is well done.

 599 characters

Photo of vandemonian
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Port City Porter was an unexpected and pleasant surprise. They are a pretty new brewery so I wasn't expecting much. It was delicious with characteristics of coffee and chocolate. The only disappointment was the aroma.

A: Black colour and great 2 cm head that lasts. 5

S: Sour and grainy. Hint of coffee. 3

T: Coffee and chocolate flavour. Yum. 4.5

M: Creamy. 4.5

O: 4

 373 characters

Photo of lokiikol
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle.

Color: opaque, deep brown.

Head: medium, light brown, light-medium lacing.

Aroma: light roasted coffee and cacao, slightly briny.

Mouthfeel: medium body, light carbonation with slightly creamy consistency.

Taste: bitter, roasted flavors up front with an earthy undertone, giving way to a medium toasty body that dissipates rather quickly on the palate. Aftertaste does not linger heavily, but faint tastes of coffee and chocolate are noticeable.

Overall: a solid porter that tastes better than its aroma might indicate. Not overly roasted and surprisingly subtle with some of its primary flavors. The Port City porter manages to avoid some of the over-roasted flavors that accompany others. A good, if lighter, representation of the style, with nothing too fancy or distinctive.

 799 characters

Photo of therica
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at McGinty's in Silver Spring MD. It became my standard go-to as we watched an entire baseball playoff game.

A= creamy medium-brown, nice slightly tan head, nice lacing and pooling.

S= very decent and pleasant, coffee and hints of chocolate and roasted malts and some hops florals.

T= very balanced, not overpowering or overbalanced in any of the ingredients. Coffee and light chocolate hints, nice but not overdone hops, a slight woody smoky flavor and slightly creamy at times.

M= nice lingering for a few minutes but not offsetting or annoying.

O= overall this is a very decent porter as done, although I tend to prefer Porter's that are more in the dark-fruity style, yet this one still really grabbed me in its own right.

 742 characters

Photo of fountainofyouth
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured from a six-pack into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Two-finger khaki head. Basically black.

Smell: Malty, with some softer and darker elements -- coffee beans and cocoa. A little bit of hops. Normal intensity.

Taste: Nice and robust, with lots of roasty coffee. There's a unique yeasty taste as well, like eating a burnt dinner roll. I happen to like it. A hint of grassy hops on the finish, and the alcohol is hidden well despite the highish ABV.

Mouthfeel: Heavier than some stouts, a pretty thick feel. Dry on the finish, light and soft carbonation. Not bad.

Overall: I really like that it has a distinctive taste, which isn't always the case with American porters. Will probably turn some people off but do well for others. Try it once and see.

 774 characters

Photo of droomyster
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As one who lives just outside of Alexandria, it has taken me too long to finally taste this beer but the wait was worth it. This is high quality stuff.

Pours and impenetrable black with a rich and almost creamy tan head with excellent retention. Aromas are sweet and dark: an initial blast of India ink followed by chocolatey notes that range from ultra dark to milky sweet, with roasted coffee beans playing a fainter but noticeable roll. Taste is sweet and chocolatey from beginning to end, but sweeter up front before entering a roastier middle. The interplay of cocoa and coffee is intriguing and enjoyable down to the last sip. Body is full but smooth, without corners or snags requiring negotiation as it swishes around and goes down the hatch. The high abv and super rich, ink-like aromas make this a slow sipper. Extremely enjoyable.

 842 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep dark brown where no light passes. Excellent beige head that leaves extensive spotty lace.

Sweet berry smell in he background of the milk chocolate

Relatively thin to this otherwise sweet porter with an alcohol kick. Again, lots of mIlk chocolate.

 254 characters

Photo of SFLpunk
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Thorpe429 for this one! 12oz brown glass pry-top bottle.

Pours a pretty viscous brown/black with thick creamy dark tan head that stands up stiffly. Nose smells like cocoa nibs and chocolate, a little earthiness too. Not really coffee though, more chocolate.

Palate is medium bodied and rich, but then that classic porter acidity note comes in to lighten things up. Chocolate continues on the palate with milk chocolate and hot cocoa powder, and maybe the suggestion of that gas-station coffee that's made from extract. Finish is long and lush.

A damn fine porter!

 576 characters

Photo of dhartogs
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at brewery, though I've had it elsewhere.

Really nice dark color, with creamy head that lingers for a little bit.

The chocolate and roasted malts really shine on the nose, I could sniff this all day.

Nice mouthfeel, not too heavy, not too light, makes this a highly drinkable porter.

Taste, wow, really nice taste the malts really come through but not overly powerful. I really like Porters and this was one of the best I've had. I was a little skepticle at first as it was a new brewery and local, but I an pleasantly surprised at how well each of their beers are made, all of them are good examples of the styles they are going for. Well done, I'll be back, many times.

 691 characters

Porter from Port City Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 128 ratings.