Lets face it whenever you try a plum porter you end up comparing it to the excellent Titanic beer which is a really hard act to follow but lets see how Ashover brewery cope. I'll just add a quick note here to say Ashover brewery is based in Derbyshire and have won a few awards since they started brewing in 2007, they've got about 40 beers on the go and I think this is the first one I've tried. I gather they are planning to open a bar at the brewery so if you're in the area in a few months or years it might be worth checking out. Anyway I had my pint of Damon Porter in one of my favourite bars Just Beers in Newark.
The beer pours pretty well and closer to black than most plum porters, but there's still the characteristic deep red plum colour lingering in there. What immediately surprised me with Damson Porter was the smell which is much smokier than I was expecting from a plum based drink, I'm not complaining as I love smoky beers, I was just surprised. There's still a few subtle fruit aromas in there but nothing like what you get from something like the Titanic Brewery version. Apparently Damson plums have a more smoky bitter taste than most so maybe this explains the difference.
At 4.8% Damson Porter is a pretty good choice as a session beer for a dark beer drinker. The texture is nice and full, and because the plums are less sweet than alternative versions it's not too fruity. It feels like a more subtle, more thought out taste than most plum porters, and as anyone who reads these reviews regularly will know I love it when there's a bit of smokiness to a beer and this one has plenty. I guess if you want a really fruity plum porter you're still going to go with the Titanic but this is certainly an excellent beer and actually by been a little more subtle and adding the smoky goodness you can probably drink more of these on a session. I'm going to give Damson Porter from Ashover Brewery a pretty exceptional 9 out of 10 give it a try you'll probably like it.