Historically, there is really no difference between a stout and a porter, but in modern style guidelines, a stout is differentiated by the addition of roasted barley.
Both are dark, heavy, wintry drinks.
The term ‘stout’ evolved from the use of the other meaning of the word – ‘strong’. In the eighteenth century, the strongest beer a brewery made was known as their ‘stoutest’. Porter is named after the porters at London’s commercial markets, who popularised the dark beer in the eighteenth century.
These names have always been used somewhat interchangeably. It hardly matters.
So, tonight, a stout and a porter, whatever that means – Ridgeway’s Foreign Export Stout and The Yorkshire Dales Brewing Co.’s Garsdale Smokebox porter.
One was good, the other…not so good.
The Foreign Export Stout was very rich, with a distinct chocolate flavour and a licorice aftertaste. It was sweet and a little cloying, not bitter enough.
Garsdale Smokebox was altogether more successful. Bitter and deeply flavoured, with none of the sweetness of the stout. A cleaner and more satisfying pint.
I also had a pint of Acorn Brewery’s wonderful Northdown Blonde this week. Northdown Blonde is a pale ale, so much so that I was accused of drinking lager, and is very refreshing, bitter and complex.
Excellent on a warm spring evening.