Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Founders Porter

If you watch House Hunters on HGTV, you’ve surely noticed that almost every couple on that program is big on “entertaining”. They want a big back yard so they can entertain. They want a large dining room so they can entertain. They want living space on the roof so they can entertain. Invariably, at the end of the show, you see footage of the happy couple in their new home. And what are they doing? Entertaining! You just freaking moved to Colorado from Silver Spring, Maryland. How did you make all those friends so quickly?! Do you walk around the neighborhood randomly inviting strangers into your home?

My wife and I are in complete agreement that entertaining is a bad idea. We don’t entertain. We don’t want to entertain. We have not had a meaningful conversation with any of our neighbors in two-and-a-half years of home ownership. I would, if given the opportunity to appear on House Hunters, desire home features that would discourage visitors. Tar pit driveway? Check. Mechanical pit bull in the window? Check. Bad ‘70s carpeting? Check. Instead of being the super social aspiring entertainer type house hunter, I’d be that vaguely creepy middle-aged guy who just wants a bar in the basement. Not for entertaining, exactly, although guests would be occasionally accepted should they provide lengthy advance notice and obtain the mutual approval of Mr. and Mrs. Fitzledge. For the most part, I’d enjoy my drink as I do now: in the company of my beautiful wife, after dinner, while munching on some dark chocolate or perhaps a slice of Dubliner cheese, as we partake in wonderfully bad TV. Except I’d be sitting on a bar stool instead of a recliner. If I had to pick one beer I’d have on tap year-round, it would probably be the Founders Porter.

Founders Porter is so “high end” that it seems like I ought to reserve it for enlightening programming like Shakespearean film adaptations or documentaries about political prisoners. Nah! It’s one of my go-to beers. Of the 56 beers I downed in the month of January, the Founders Porter was my most frequent choice at eight bottles. As such it gets consumed while we watch the likes of American Idol, My Strange Addiction, Storage Wars, Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Teen Mom 2, Pawn Stars, and Cheaters. No matter: it’s such a phenomenal beer that one can drink it any time, any place, while watching any old thing on the TV. It’s the gold standard of American porters, and my only complaint is that Founders has concocted a porter so good that it makes all others pale in comparison. Once I run out (which will be quite soon at the rate I’m going), the harsh reality is that it’s going to be a few months before I again get near the state of Michigan. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it – this stuff is way too good to just sit there unopened in the cellar! Like any good porter it combines a burnt nutty flavor with coffee, dark chocolate, and caramel malts. But compared to just about any other porter I’ve had, the Founders version is more richly-flavored and improbably silkier. All those malts aren’t just there for the hell of it – you can taste them in a big way. If coffee and dark chocolate go great together generally, imagine how deliciously they meld in a velvet smooth adult beverage! Mmmmmm! Powerful notes of licorice, a tinge of caramel sweetness, and a healthy dose of hops round out the flavor in sublime, miraculous ways. This beer is truly a multidimensional treat for the senses. It pours a beautiful black with a mountainous tan head, and it smells like Starbucks in a glass. At $10 to $11 a six-pack, it’s pricey but not outrageously expensive for a first-rate American micro. Hell, if you live by the “you get what you pay for” mantra, Founders Porter is a veritable bargain at $1.83 a bottle. You pay twice that much for a crappy Blue Moon at a chain restaurant! Of course if you like entertaining and are buying for a large contingent of guests, you’ll have to buy something cheaper. Sucks to be you.

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