Support For A Worthy Cause

Brewery and Country of Origin: Cambridge Brewing Company of 1 Kendall Square, #100, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA

Date Reviewed: 2-22-13

Today, most beer you would enjoy is filtered, sometimes pasteurised, carbonated/nitrogenated, and fermented once. And if you're at a bar, it will most certainly come from a keg. These aren't necessarily bad things, as long as the beer's quality is kept to standards. Though today, a growing population of beer enthusiasts are upset with the way things are going in the brewing industry. As the second half of the 20th century brought the world of beer multinationals, consolidation, and macrobreweries, the practice of brewing was transformed from small batch, time consuming, and expensive methods to mass production, heavy distribution, and cost effective models. From a business standpoint, it all made sense. Brew more, cost less, make money. But beer drinkers didn't see any glory in it. And until the advent of real commercial craft brewing, global quality of beer was on the decline. This degradation of brewing inspired the formation of the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), currently the largest single issue consumer group in The UK. The group and its members promote a growing diversity in the craft and small scale brewing industry, increasing overall appreciation for traditional and less popular beer styles (such as Stouts, ciders, and Mild beers), protecting and improving consumers' rights, and of course, promoting high quality beers which offer value for the money. The group also aims to make the pub a more centric location for community life, as well as lowering taxes for the industry as a whole. As of 2013, the group, which was founded by four beer lovers in 1971, has grown to over 147,000 members and continues to witness rapid growth. Its headquarters are in the city of St. Albans, in Hertfordshire, England. Standard membership is £23 a year and is open to anyone over the age of 21. Normally, we're not terribly interested in organizations like these because like most humans, we get tired of politics, but we couldn't help but notice the good work that CAMRA is doing for the beer drinkers' world. That said, the United States needs a group like this. Perhaps we'll start it one day. Who knows. Either way, this porter is a dry hopped variation of the Cambridge Brewing Company's mainstay porter, an annual offering. This cask version is only available on a rotational basis, but boy, if you find yourself in Cambridge with the option of trying it, do yourself a favor.
Date Sampled: 2-03-13 At: Cambridge Brewing Company, 1 Kendall Square, #100, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA
Beer Style: American Porter
Alcohol by Volume: 6.00%
Serving Type: Brewery Cask Keg, 20 oz Tumbler Glass
Rating: 4.27


This beer pours somewhat smoothly with a thick, dense foam head with a creamy texture. The foam head is a full inch tall with a very good retention. This Porter has a noticeable amount of floating sediment, which produces a hazy and opaque appearance with a brown color. The beer has a moderate level of lacing on the glass.


There is a strong coffee and dark chocolate malt aroma with some floral dry hoppy bitterness and a good amount of nuttiness. There is some espresso smell, as well as some earthy tones and a subtle amount of nuttiness. No alcohol or fruitiness is present in the aroma.


This is a medium full bodied brew with a good amount of weight and a medium high viscosity. This beer has a smooth feel overall with a slightly below average level of carbonation, and a slightly creamy texture. The finish is mostly dry with some lingering. There is also a very small warming effect after the close.


Unsurprisingly, this porter has a strong, bold, and rich coffee and roasted dark chocolate dominated flavor, characterized mostly by the use of dark malt, as well as being dry hopped with Hallertau hop flowers. These give off secondary notes of floral and bitter tones which make this a very well balanced beer. This beer has a solid, bitter aftertaste with an average linger.

Our Take

So what makes a cask beer different from a standard brew? Well it goes through secondary fermentation, a process which further matures and develops a beer after primary fermentation takes place. More importantly, this second tier occurs in the serving vessel, being either a bottle or a cask. That leaves unfiltered particles of yeast, wort, and other goodness which are normally filtered out to bring out a beer's clarity. Ths increases flavor and nutrients (yeast and brewing grains are actually pretty high in nutrients). In fact, a typical beer contains all 13 essential vitamins and minerals needed to sustain life. Quite a feat, for a beverage associated with town drunks, frat houses, and NASCAR. And this porter stands out because it follows the rules of a traditional cask served real brew. This is a winter seasonal, cellar temp, cask served, unfiltered, traditional porter which includes only fresh, natural ingredients, and isn't propelled with nitrogen or CO2. Yep, definitely a mouthfull, especially when you try it (that's what she said). Still, some of us Americans may be a bit uneasy about the "warm" temperature, or the extra flavor you get with solid materials left inside, but once you take that first daring sip, you'll understand, there's more to beer than Bud Light Platinum. Real beer is out there. And you're only denying yourself for not trying it.