Charles River Porter | Cambridge Brewing Company

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Very Good
159 Ratings

Brewed by:
Cambridge Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-22-2000

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 159 |  Reviews: 76
Reviews by Zraly:
Photo of Zraly
4/5  rDev +1.3%

More User Reviews:
Photo of ManapuaMan
4.02/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Classic, roasty, smooth. A rendition of the porter that will have some folks dropping the flippant "meh" but it's a truly well crafted and tasty brew. Poured a rich, frothy black with a standard khaki head. Aroma and taste of roasted grains, light coffee, char, dark chocolate, bitter hops. Smooth, creamy and soft on the palate. Easy drinker that will continue to fly under the radar.

 385 characters

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

 508 characters

Photo of Jason
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

 373 characters

Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of juicebox
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of acurtis
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

 291 characters

Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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.

 325 characters

Photo of snowmaggedon
4/5  rDev +1.3%

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

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.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

 858 characters

Photo of Uncwest96
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into an English pint glass, the appearance was a dark brown close to black color with a stiff off white foamy cap of a head that dissipated at a mild pace. Not much lace, somewhat stringy running here and there.
The aroma had a nice blend of roasty chocolate malts, some dark fruity sweetness and then some caramel/toffee malts.
The flavor was mainly sweet and seemed to bring in the balance of the roastiness at a nice pace. Mild aftertaste of the caramel/toffee malts and dark fruit.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fairly decent sessionability about it. Carbonation felt fine. ABV felt on par. Mild finish of the smooth sweet malts, somewhat fruity with some chocolate.
Overall, I liked this for me but does Cambridge actually think this is an American styled porter? Seemed more of an English one.

 821 characters

Photo of richj1970
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of 3leggeddub
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of Kmlund
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of HonestWeightBeer
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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..

 450 characters

Photo of Franchise
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

 503 characters

Photo of BeerSox
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

 702 characters

Photo of spark3148857
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of WhitmansNiece
4.75/5  rDev +20.3%

Photo of u2carew
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

 343 characters

Photo of PEBKAC
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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. :)

 1,666 characters

Photo of MI_beerdrinker
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Charles River Porter from Cambridge Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 159 ratings