A Porter That is Out of the Box(carr)!


Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter

Starr Hill, Charlottesville, VA

Coming in at number three on my list, this pumpkin porter comes in with a nice dark roastiness that is inherent in good porters but also displays a light bit of pumpkin and spice.  We enjoyed this brew, and used it in an unconventional manner: we made pumpkin porter cheesecake.

Aroma: Good maltiness on the nose, with a forward aroma of pumpkin and spice.

Appearance: Dark brown, with a good hint of orange. It shows some strong carbonation. It has a small dark tan head that falls quickly.

Flavor: Strong, smoky porter flavor, with a hint of pumpkin and spice. Normally I have more to say than this, but considering it’s spot-on for its base style and its intended added flavors, there’s not much else to add. It accomplishes what it sets out to do with great accuracy.

Mouthfeel: Heavy on the palate, though the carbonation keeps it feeling lighter.

Overall Impression: This is a tasty brew on its own, though I would have liked to see more pumpkin flavor. However, Starr Hill narrowly beats out Red Hook’s porter because it’s an excellent porter and they also take the pumpkin and spice levels a notch higher.

Final Impressions:

Hops:                   mug rating 1

Malts:                   mug rating 3.5

Pumpkin:             mug rating 2

Spices:                  mug rating 2.5

Flavor:                  mug rating 4

Overall:                mug rating 3.5

Label:                    mug rating 2.5


We paired this with a pumpkin porter cheesecake.  The combination is especially exceptional because we used the Starr Hill Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter in the cheesecake, too. The cheesecake came out great; not too sweet, creamy texture, and the porter’s flavors were present but not overwhelming. That dark coloration on top was caramelized beer reduction and sugars. That last part is thanks to our oven, which tends to run hotter than it should.


Smoked Porter Cheesecake (Recipe taken from 101 Ideas for Homebrew Fun by Ray Daniels):

The Ingredients:
24 Oz. cream cheese at room temperature
¾ C. granulated sugar
¾ C. brown sugar
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla
6 eggs at room temperature
2 pints sour cream at room temperature
1/3 C. cornstarch
24 oz. pumpkin porter beer
1 C. graham crumbs

The Procedure:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F (177 C). Boil beer until it is reduced to ¾ cup. Set aside to cool.

Combine cream cheese and sugars and mix until blended. Add salt, vanilla, and eggs (one at a time), beating until the mixture is smooth. Add sour cream, cornstarch, and ¾ C. reduced beer, and blend.

Press graham crumbs into the bottom of a lightly greased spring form pan. Carefully pour batter into the bottom of the pan and smooth until level. Place in oven with a pan of water on the rack beneath, and bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until the center is set but still jiggles. Remove and cool overnight in the refrigerator. Serve with fresh raspberries, whipped cream, and many glasses of Pumpkin Porter.


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