We’re excited to announce something new here at Travel Marquette that we hope to make a monthly feature… the “Beer of the Month”!
Since Marquette County is home to more breweries than any other county in the U.P., we thought it’d be cool to run a “beer of the month” feature where we take a closer look at one particular local craft beer. Let us know what you think!
This month, we’re featuring the Porter from Ore Dock Brewing Company. And here to tell us all about it is Nick VanCourt, Co-owner and Brewmaster at Ore Dock.
Ore Dock Porter was developed in my Madison WI home-brewery. As I was working in Wisconsin as an assistant brewer, I was brewing like crazy at work as well as at home to develop recipes to brew in my own brewery someday. Several of the beers we produce here were developed then and have had minor tweaks only to dial them in for our particular setup.
I am not sure how many attempts exactly it took to make the porter what it is today. I will say that I tweaked it for a couple of years, trying this malt and that, switching hops, moving hop additions. It was dialed in for the last good year or so before I moved back up here for Ore Dock.
We started brewing it right away and knew it was a product we wanted to produce around the calendar. However, different breweries get different flavors and balances out of the same ingredients and processes, so we did have to tweak it some to bring the body, flavor and aroma around to what you taste today.
I must add that all beers are a work in progress, as well. We are constantly trying to dial in clarity, stability, consistency and vibrancy in all of our beers. Porter is no exception and I hope it is better than ever while getting better still.
I think the key to this beer, as with many beers, is the up front depth and complexity of flavor and aroma from all ingredients giving way to a clean drinkable, maybe even dry, finish. This recipe is comprised almost entirely of ingredients imported from England.
The UK Fuggles hops are key to the earthy presence mid-palate and contribute to the bittersweet chocolate late-palate. The combination of ten different malts are key to the depth of malt and roast character.
There are a few malts worth mentioning in particular. Munich malt, which is a dark and malty base malt, comprises roughly half of the base. A combination of two intensities of chocolate malted barley blends together to provide toasty, malty, chocolate and coffee depth. A blend of three UK crystal malts provide complexity and depth to the caramel and toffee flavors and contribute significantly to the softness and roundness of body as well as to the frothy foam.
Overall, the fact that ten distinct malts are used in this recipe is a result of those homebrewing tweaks and really contributes to the overall depth and complexity of the beer. We use a single infusion mash, as the Brits tend to, and pitch a good healthy and happy quantity of our house British ale yeast strain.