Dining & Drink

The King Of Porters

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Samuel Smith earns
first true 6-cap rating

Wamp’s Wisdom

(PHOTO: J.T. WAMPLER) Samuel Smith's Old Brewery in Tadcaster brought back the style of porter in 1979 after more than 50 years.

Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery in Tadcaster, England, brought back the style of porter in 1979 after more than 50 years in obscurity. Porter was the first commercially produced beer, made to satisfy the thirsty workingmen of the industrial revolution.
The Old Brewery was established in 1758 and is one of the few remaining independent breweries in England. The Yorkshire Square system of fermentation is also unique to the brewery. The fermentation is done in square stone vessels using water from a well sunk more than 200 years ago. With all that history and tradition, it stands to reason that they have figured out what they’re doing and Taddy Porter is a prime example.
It pours very dark with a full body and creamy head. It is bursting with flavor and leaves a creamy, smooth aftertaste that gets better with each sip. There is maybe a trace of raisin sweetness.
Of all the porters I’ve tried, this is by far my favorite. I compare all other porters to Taddy and find them all lacking.
Pair with a hearty steak or dessert.

Rating: 6 caps (Oh yeah!)

Rico’s Reaction

There was a time when I didn’t know a Taddy Porter from a Patty Hoarder or a Phatty Shorter or even a Squagglattic Wnortir from the Delta Quadrant of the Magellenic Clouds.
And, there was a time when I had no idea Samuel Smith was a brewery or what delights that brewery offered. I first ran into Sam Smith at the restaurant run by Bryce Curry in the Fayetteville old post office building, which was, oddly enough, called the Old Post Office. The restaurant had some Samuel Smith choices on the menu and I went with their Oatmeal Stout beer.
Yeah, I know, that’s not the beer being reviewed.
I had just graduated from drinking Michelob Dark to the delight that is Guinness stout. So even if Taddy Porter had been on the menu, I wouldn’t have really known what it was and probably wouldn’t have picked it. I saw “stout” and I saw the word “oatmeal” and went “Gotta try that.”
Luckily, the Oatmeal Stout is exceptional and lead to me trying other Samuel Smith variants — the Nut Brown Ale, the Taddy Porter, etc. The first so-called porter I ever drank was something calling itself a honey porter — ugh — which I’ve very happy to say the Taddy Porter bears no resemblance to.
Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter is probably the best chocolate bar you’ll never eat. With just a hint of sweet from the roasted malts, Taddy Porter is a delicious, smooth treat that never disappoints from the first drink to the last quaff.
Yes, SS beers are a bit pricier than some others you can pick up off the shelf. A single 12-ounce bottle can run about half the price of a typical domestic six-pack. In this case, the “you-get-what-you-pay-for” adage is very, very true.

Rating: 5 caps (With a heaping helping of jealousy that the Taddy Porter wasn’t an O-fficial 6 cap brew for me.)

One Comment

Charlie McClure June 25, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Sam Smith’s is definitely an excellent brewery, every beer I’ve had from them has just been exceptional, the Nut Brown Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Imperial Stout, all top of their class. Their fruity beers are good too, raspberry and cherry I believe, not quite as good as the traditional brews but better than a fruity lambic, for example.

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