Saturday, 9 June 2012

Viven Porter

Tree-branch-snapping winds, buckets of blinding rain, biting cold temperatures... Ah, summer in Brussels...

Just when we think we might have a chance to get out on the terrace sun-trap and sip something refreshing on a hot day -- like some Cuvée de Ranke for instance -- the weather returns with a vengeance to spoil our plans. Oh well, at least we had a few days of heat in May. That will have to last us until next year.

So it’s been back to the cold-climate beers once again. Yesterday’s delicious black IPA made us forget about the weather for a brief moment, and today’s beer, Viven Porter, promises to do much the same.

Viven Porter pours tremendously dark and rich. It’s so thick, you almost have to scrape the inside of the bottle with a thin putty knife to get it all out. Once in your glass, the aroma is overwhelmingly creosote: you find yourself suddenly sitting atop a stack of fresh railway sleepers.

The flavours are equally deep and serious. Notes of oakum and tar poke out of a gorgeously creamy mouthfeel, leading up to a thuddingly bitter bite of an aftertaste. Excellent. You almost hope the bad weather will continue so you have an excuse to drink more of it.

Belgium is not exactly known for its porters, so this one is a bit of a rare bird. It’s probably somewhat too bitter for many here, as sweeter brews tend to be the norm among Belgian dark ales. But here’s hoping Viven Porter catches on and becomes easier to find.


  1. Wow. The weather seemed fine this morning as my wife and I flew home to New York after spending five nights in Bruges and last night in Brussels. Far more people in Bruges were speaking English than in Brussels. And we cringed while having dinner at Chez Leon last night, listening to the “Ugly American” behind us complaining about the looped promo video that’s been playing there for years. He was going to demand they put live UEFA soccer on, or he was going to be leaving. Well they didn’t change the video, and sadly he didn’t leave. We had hoped they’d throw him out on his ear. Quel domage…

    Even sadder, none of the stores in either city would ship beer home for us, as post 9/11 rules prohibit taking 75 cl bottles in carry on. What amazing beers at excellent prices. Encore, quel domage…

    BTW, Brussels Airlines is superb, even if they only offer Juliper Red.

  2. Absolutely agree on the Viven Porter; I also loved the element of smoke in the taste.
    This one is in my opinion the brewery's best and most original brew. While others like the Viven Bruin are solid ands worth a try, they didn't give me that same "wow" factor, they don't jump out nearly as much


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