Brew Review

Beer Review – Yards General Washington’s Tavern Porter


While I’m not much of a historian, after doing a bit of drunk history research about our Founding Fathers (oddly enough, I was completely sober while I did this), I’m thinking they were my kind of guys. Here are a few of the things that I found out…

  • Thomas Jefferson –  According to an article on, he drank quite a bit of Madeira while writing the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia’s Indian Queen Tavern. In addition to Madeira, Jefferson was also a fan of beer and wine. His estate in Monticello had a fully functioning brewery and winery on site.
  • John Adams – According to two sources (Fox News and the NY Post), our 2nd POTUS, who lived to the ripe of old age of 91, started most days with a pour of hard apple cider. He was also a fan of Madeira, which would serve as a nightcap on most evenings.
  • Benjamin Franklin – On January 6, 1737, he published The Drinker’s Dictionary, a list of over 200 synonyms for the word “drunk”, in The Pennsylvania Gazette…

Take a large Siffer [Sifter] full of Bran Hops to your Taste. Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall[ons] into a cooler put in 3 Gall[ons] Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot or rather draw the Melasses (sic) into the cooler & St[r]ain the Beer on it while boiling Hot. let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of Yea[s]t if the Weather is very Cold cover it over with a Blank[et] & let it Work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask — leave the bung open till it is almost don[e] Working — Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed.

In honor of our Founding Fathers and their exquisite taste in beer, Yards Brewing Company launched their Ales of the Revolution series way back in 1999 with the release of their Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale and General Washington’s Tavern Porter (the subject of today’s post). The third beer in this series, Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce (based on a Benjamin Franklin recipe), was released in 2005.

Before we get to my review of the General Washington’s Tavern Porter, here’s what Yards Brewing Company has to say about it:

Detailed in a letter from the General to his officers during the war, Washington’s recipe employed molasses to aid fermentation and give rich caramel notes to this robust, roasty ale. The recipe reflected his admiration for Philadelphia-style porters, especially those brewed by Robert Hare (whose original brewery stood just blocks from where ours is now). Our Tavern Porter, inspired by Washington’s, is dark, smooth and complex with just a hint of dried fruit in the finish.

And here’s what I thought of it…

  • Appearance: Pours loud and fizzy with lots of fast rising bubbles. Half an inch of tan, fluffy foam that dissipates slowly, leaving some light lacing behind. As far as color, it’s a deep, walnut brown that gives off some auburn highlights when you hold it up to the light.
  • Aroma: Fresh brewed medium roast coffee of the Oregon Diner variety dominates the nose. Also getting a touch of bittersweet chocolate.
  • Taste: Soft carbonation and a medium mouthfeel, i.e. not too thick and not too thin. Lots of coffee flavors coming through with a bit of a bitter bite at mid-palate. Mellows at the finish with a little bit of sweetness coming through at the very end.
  • ABV: 7%

The Verdict

A little over three years ago, Limpd and I had a bit of a Porter-Palooza where we did a side-by-side-by-side-by-side tasting of four highly rated and readily available Porters. While drinking this Porter by one of our hometown breweries, I couldn’t help but think back to that post. George Washington’s Tavern Porter reminds me most of the Anchor Porter thanks to the Oregon Diner coffee vibe that dominates the nose and palate. I really enjoyed this beer and found it to be an easy drinking, well crafted Porter that I would definitely recommend. Our hometown brewer done good with this one!

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