Pardon me while I have a bit of a pity party. If you can’t stomach watching a grown man cry, I suggest moving on. Go read something else. I’m sure there’s a story out there about a kitten who gave her owner CPR. Just follow the clickbait title, “Amazing Kitten Performs Heimlich After Snack Goes Terribly Wrong.” This isn’t going to be a feel-good story like that, because we’re approaching prime mountain bike season, when the air is crisp and the leaves are crisper and the trails are ripe for shredding. But you see, dear reader, I can’t shred the trails because I have a broken elbow and my doctor thinks mountain biking in my condition would be—how did she put it—“stupid.”
So, while new records are being broken on Strava, and Instagram is flooded with sick mountain bike footage, I’m stuck in my house with the world’s worst case of FOMO. All I can do during prime mountain bike season is play ping pong and drink beer.
Thank God I love playing ping pong and drinking beer, otherwise I’d be in the midst of a full blown depression right now. And while fall is definitely prime mountain bike season, it’s also prime beer drinking season. (Yes, winter, spring and summer are also prime beer drinking seasons, but work with me here.) With all this extra time on my hands from all the of the biking that I’m not doing, I’ve had the chance to rediscover a couple of my old school favorite fall beers—Green Man Porter and Highland Brewing Oatmeal Porter.
While I rarely wake up in the morning craving a porter, I make the exception during fall. There’s something Pavlovian that happens when I see people wearing flannel shirts and puffy vests; I instantly crave a dark, roasty beer, and both of these options fit the bill.
Green Man doesn’t get the hype that some of the other Asheville breweries enjoy, but the brewery knows how to execute a porter. This beer is rich and roasted with notes of coffee and chocolate. It has some hard edges and lands on the bitter side of things thanks to the coffee and chocolate character.
Highland’s take on the porter is a bit creamier, because of the use of flaked oats, with a silky but thin mouthfeel. It’s malt forward but doesn’t have the roasted coffee notes you find in Green Man’s version. Instead, there’s a bit of citrus hoppiness lingering on the back end of the sip.
After hours of extensive research and testing, I can state with confidence that both of these porters are excellent beers for fall. They pair well with flannel shirts and raking leaves. Also with chocolate chip cookies and despair.