The Edmund Fitzgerald was a Great Lakes freighter which sank in Lake Superior on a dark and stormy night in November, 1975. Cleveland, Ohio’s Great Lakes Brewing Company commemorates the “Big Fitz” with a big, dark beer: Edmund Fitzgerald Porter.
Edmund Fitzgerald Porter pours a dense black (actually a very deep red color when viewed carefully under light), with a fizzy brown head. The head thins down, but a little bit remains down to the bottom of the glass. There’s a strong scent of dark-toast roast and bitter coffee flavors. Luckily, these flavors don’t dominate on the tongue. A bit of roast is pleasant, of course, but it’s good to have other flavors come out too. The strongest of these is dark chocolate. With warmth, fruit flavors like plum and cherry start to show through. The hops add some earthy, leafy flavors which mingle and blend with the roast flavors. As is typical for a porter, the hops take a back seat to the malt. The beer has a strong body and leaves the lips a little sticky (but the beer isn’t overly sweet).
This is a really good example of a porter, not overwhelmed by any particular flavor, but displaying the possible complexities of the style. It's available, and would be good, year-round, but may be best suited to cool weather - say, when the skies of November turn gloomy. The only fault one might find with it is how hard it is to come by in New England. If you have friends visiting the Midwest, ask them to bring some back.