I picked up this bottle of Batemans Dark Fruits Porter from Morrison's a while ago. At the time I was comparing beers and I thought this would be a good match up with Titanic's excellent Plum Porter, but by the time I got around to actually drinking it I'd moved on from the beer battles thing to just normal reviews. I know how boring. Anyway for me Batemans is a fairly local brewery as I live in Lincoln and these guys are down in Wainfleet near Skegness. I've actually been to visit the brewery, it's quite cool and they occasionally put on a train which has a band walking up and down playing while people sell you bottles of Batemans beers, this is how all trains should be. Batemans have been brewing for nearly 150 years now, and own a bunch of pubs including the Victoria and Treaty of Commerce in Lincoln.
Dark Fruits Porter comes in a fun fruity 500ml bottle picturing a suitable array of dark fruits, so I can't fault the messaging. There's a fairly mundane 4.6% alcohol content, which I guess falls in the Goldilocks zone, not too strong, not too weak, it's just about right, if a little dull. When I initially poured the beer it produced a pretty nice, dark cream head, but sadly this disappeared pretty quickly leaving just a thin slither behind. The body appears almost completely black, but in the light you'll find a small red tinge, juts like most dark fruits. So far this is very much a beer that looks like it sounds.
The aroma is actually much more stout like than I was expecting, which isn't a bad thing by any stretch. Not surprisingly though the overwhelming scent is dark fruits, primarily blackberries I'd say. Dark Fruits Porter also smells stronger than a 4.6% beer, it's quite an appealing scent. I should add that there are some malt smells and maybe a bit of chocolate in here too, but really you will be thinking damn that's a fruity stout, oh hang on, what do you mean it's a porter?
The texture is thick and heavy, but smooth and drinkable, which is a nice combination. The taste is a little like an apple and blackcurrant cordial with a kick. The dark fruits really do come through strongly creating a very pleasant taste which I think most people will enjoy quite a lot. The taste that sadly doesn't really come through is the porter, and that's a bit of a shame because I love a porter with this kind of texture. It's like Batemans put all their effort into the fruitiness at the expense of the natural beer flavour. Most people will find Batemans Dark Fruits Porter an extremely palatable drink, it has a lot going for it, and it's unusual enough to stand out, I'd just like it to have a slightly more traditional porter taste to reflect the feel. All in all if you see this beer treat yourself to one, you'll probably enjoy it. So I'll give Batemans Dark Fruits Porter a very good 7.5 out of 10.