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Weekly Beer Review: Edmund Fitzgerald Porter


Edmund Fitzgerald Porter

Great Lakes Brewing Co.


Grade: A-


The Beginning:

Ah, the Edmund Fitzgerald. One of the legends of the Great Lakes, The Fitzgerald was the largest of the Great Lakes ships when she launched and to this day is the largest ship to sink there. A sun-soaked day at Sleeping Bear Dunes, or fishing off the shore on Lake Erie can lull us into complacency, but the inland seas that surround Michigan can be traitorous beasts. Especially when, as the song says, the Witch of November comes stealing. As the year grows dark and moody, raise a glass with me to the men who ply the stormy waters.


The Brewer’s Pitch:

This porter was created as a direct tribute to the Edmund Fitzgerald and her crew- robust, hearty, and complex like the most dedicated sailor, and bittersweet like the memories of the legendary freighter. The beer is rich with deeply roasted barley, with hints of dark chocolate and coffee to add the bittersweet notes. It’s available year-round, although it is best suited to a dim and stormy November, and it pairs well with oysters, chocolate, and heartfelt ballads.


The Beer:

This one pours deep brown, nearly black, with an extremely tall dense pale-tan head. The nose is creamy and sweet with the full-bodied earthiness of barley and hints of smoke and bitter coffee. The beer is just what the aroma promises- it’s full and heavy, velvety smooth, and carries just a bit of a bite at the back end. The first thing that rolls over your tongue is a gentle bitter wave of coffee and of smoky roast malt. Sweetness suffuses it gradually, never becoming dominant but balancing against the more bitter notes. It closes rich and tingling from a final bite of hops.


The Breakdown:

This beer is delicious- dark, cool, and brooding. I can’t imagine drinking it on a bright sunny day, but looking out at a howling storm? Perfection. The flavors are well balanced overall, although as a porter it’s not quite as sweet or rich as an equivalent stout would be. It’s got a bite that is a real tease to the palate. Although, I’m dinging it a little because the aftertaste builds up a bit and gets slightly too strong in the second half of the bottle.


The Bottom Line:

What else could I put here?

No, you can’t use shacking to justify being “technically homeless.”


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