This week I’m sticking to my cold weather theme and trying another hearty, winter beer. It’s just too cold out there to try anything else, but the spring seasonals are popping up everywhere and reminding me of better weather. Maybe someday it will be warm again, until then I’m trying Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Edmund Fitzgerald.
Great Lakes is not too far a drive down the I-90 in Cleveland. If you get the chance it’s a great day trip to check out the brewery and brewpub. Delicious food and even better beer!
The Edmund Fitzgerald, or as it’s affectionately known as “Fitzy”, is an American style porter. Porters originate in London and get their name from the street workers that enjoyed them so much (porter’s were workers who carried goods for a living). London brewers developed these beers from brown malts often used in the 18th century.
Porters became popular because they were brewed a little differently than most beers. They were the first beers to be aged at the brewery. Most beers were made to be sold directly after fermentation, leaving any aging to the customer or distributor. Porters were heavy, malt forward beers but hops and aging were added to separate them from the rest. Today, porters are aged in all kinds of containers, each adding a little different flavor to set them apart.
“Fitzy” is definitely no joke. The color is a very dark brown almost black. However, if you hold it up to the light the amber red really comes through. The head was a dark brown cream and was extremely thick. It was very different than a Belgian style or American Pilsner. Very picturesque!
The aroma was very malty. There was a hint of coffee and a little bit of chocolate. On the first sip, I was definitely surprised. I was expecting the malt to be overpowering but I was completely wrong. There was a very heavy hop, bitterness. It was a nice change from what I was used to and as I tasted the malt blended nicely with the hoppiness and balanced beautifully. The finish was all coffee. I absolutely had the same aftertaste as a cup of breakfast blend. This was certainly a porter, but with a really cool twist.
I have to stop here and provide full disclosure. I tried this beer cold – as most Americans would. However, after doing some research, Porters are traditionally served warm. Good thing I had five more to try after my first. The difference in warm versus cold was apparent. The malt really came through in the warm beer. The finish was even more pronounced and that amazing coffee taste really came through.
All in all this was a perfect beer for the frigid cold out there. It was a little heavier; I would suggest sipping it in front of a fire. If only I could find a fire. It could definitely stand on its own but I think it would pair nicely with some red meat. A nice steak goes with anything, as our butcher Dave would say!
I really enjoyed this beer and the story behind it. Check out the Great Lakes website if you’d like. Great info there about their entire family of beers, and no Gordon Lightfoot playing in the background either. Stop by the store and pick up a six pack, or try it in one of our Mix Six packs.
Thanks for reading!