Bomber of the Month: April
Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter
By: André DiMattia
Beer Advocate: 92
Rate Beer: 98
Samuel Smith’s has grown to become the most respected and fundamentally important English brewery found on American shelves. Drinking through their wide portfolio is as close to a history lesson that one can get without picking up a book and taking notes. Their beers represent a firm dedication for the classic styles of old British origin. Today’s world of American beer is ever changing with new concoctions constantly being developed, some being trivial in conception and overly harsh in execution. While so much is built for new progress, drinking the beers of Samuel Smith’s is a refreshing moment to find comfort in the acceptance of something so familiar. These beers are the definitions that once helped build the sturdy foundations of American brewing.
Samuel Smith celebrates 34 years of American importation in 2012. Decades ago, when breweries were at their most redundant and complacent, these English beers helped turn some heads and change the perception of what beer is and can be. The one that still stands on it’s own, is the Taddy Porter. Faintly earthy, tangy on the tongue and unmistakable with the punch of flavors, Taddy Porter is one of the world’s most dynamic beverages.
On to the Tasting Notes:
Blossoming out of the bottle with a smooth cascade into the glass, the beer climbs high and stands with a mocha colored head. Reddish brown in color, the appearance is almost comparable to dark tea. Lighter than many modern porters, Taddy holds it’s ground with a classic sort image of finesse and refinement. There is something so very inviting as a proper pint of English Beer.
Mildly sweet aromas of licorice and stone fruit arise from the glass. The earthly edge gives a captivating level of complexity to take in while the hint of baked grains allow for the exact style of beer to be known. As the liquid rises in temperature more herbal notes and walnut tones are expressed. Impressive rather than distracting, these aromas speak to the beer’s origin from which it came.
Smooth on the palate and complex with flavors of toast, cocoa nibs, ginger, root beer and plumbs. Heady flavors of smoke and birch unravel and give the enticing sweetness of fruit a balanced foundation. Tartness builds and finishes the beer, giving a long end to such a satisfying sip. Such a direct and stunning flavor allows the Taddy Porter to be consumed in large volumes without boredom settling in. This is a beer that gives a great light as to why England has such a sociable pub culture.
One of the world’s most versatile beverages for food pairing, Taddy Porter’s range of options can be found in Sunday Brunch all the way through till post dinner chocolate. Roasted flavors, in a beer like this, mimic the charred and caramelized concentration of grilled foods. Simple enough for a casual cookout with burgers and brats but also refined enough as to find it’s way to the dinner table over a plate of seared scallops (The beer historian and brewmaster at Brooklyn brewery; Garret Oliver turned many with this now legendary pairing). Brown sugar based coffee cakes and waffles for brunch start the day right with a chilled glass of Taddy Porter alongside. Chocolate and raspberry based desserts are the most obvious for an after dinner application.
It’s quite a good time to be drinking in America. To have the option of trying “next big thing” of the newly emerging oddball amalgamation of some micros and then taking the route of Samuel Smith’s, it always ends in a lesson of understanding the fundamentals. Much has changed in 34 years, thankfully, drinking a pint of Taddy Porter today is as much a revelation as it was many years ago.