As excuses for a pub crawl go, it was a cracker. The Somerset brewery, Moor, took seven casks of their porter, Amoor, to London last week and handed them to seven different pubs.
Each cask had been infused with a different ingredient, so the Exmouth Arms, in Clerkenwell (for example), were offering a cherry-laced beer, while the Euston Tap's had been blended with spiced rum.
But porter (for which, also read stout: there is no meaningful difference) can be delicious without the extra help – as fans of Amoor, a bitter-chocolate delight, will attest. Beers like this are particularly popular in early winter, as the drizzle sets in and the idea of it ever being summer again seems a wildly romantic notion.
Drinkers have plenty of choice. There's everything from session classics like Fuller's London Porter, £2.09, Sainsbury's, to more adventurous treats, such as Thornbridge's St Petersburg, £3.60, realalestore.com, a spicy, peaty 7.4 per-cent sipper, or Gadds' wild-yeast infected Imperial Russian Stout, £12.99, where a touch of sourness complements a fascinating brew.
And then there are the historical interpretations, like the recently revived Courage Imperial Russian Stout, £6.59, Amazon – now brewed by Wells and Young's in Bedford – and one of my favourites, The Kernel's 1890 Export Stout, £2.99, beermerchants.com, an impressively complex ale in whose murky depths you might find dried fruit and coffee.
Brews to choose
Chocolate lover: Moor Amoor
Brewer Justin Hawke is best known for pale ales but this porter demonstrates he is far from a one-trick pony. One for those who like chocolate. £3.89, Beers of Europe
Empire building: Thornbridge Saint Petersburg
Imperial Russian stout is a style that has carried craft-beer around the world. Full of robust, roasted character. £3.60, realalestore.com
Linger liquor: Gadds Imperial Russian Stout, aged with Brett Lambicus
This inky, vinous drop is one to savour rather than glug. £12.99, in a pair with Wild Turkey-aged IRS, beer merchants