For some reason we haven't really reviewed much of Sand Creek's output here. The Oscar's Chocolate Oatmeal Stout received a pretty solid review, but I think that's the only Sand Creek beer that's been reviewed on the site.
Granted, there's nothing particularly sexy about Sand Creek. These days, the vast majority of the output there is under contract. But they have a great reputation with contracts, brewing not only Furthermore, but Half Acre from Chicago, and Dave's Brewfarm, among others. But, still, they make pretty solid beer in their own right. Again, nothing fancy, no funky Belgian wits or crazy American pale ales, but a strong IPA, a good Chocolate stout, and some lighter fare thrown in. The Groovy Brew and the Cranberry Ale could use some re-tooling, neither are really my thing, and the Hard Lemonade makes it hard to take them seriously.
Todd and the guys at Sand Creek are good folk, but the contracting does pull them in twenty directions at once, which I think impacts their ability to innovate or be creative themselves. I don't think that's a bad thing, so long as quality doesn't suffer, it just means that the house brands aren't going to stray too far from style. Great for mass consumption, but won't score you points with the geeks. Frankly, I'd take the money over BeerAdvocate ratings any day, too.
Sand Creek Badger Porter
BeerAdvocate (B-). RateBeer (51).
Appearance: a dense, but foamy light-tan head recedes quickly; a chestnut brown body with definite amber highlights; it looks like a very nice porter; fine bubbling looks almost bottle-conditioned
Aroma: light aroma that is classically malty; a little nuttiness and some caramel seem to come through, but it's really just "malt"
Flavor: thick-bodied but light in the flavor, there's a faint tangy brightness in the end; tastes like a more-full bodied Newcastle but without the strong nuttiness that Newcastle has
Body: full-bodied and soft, the body is quite nice actually
Drinkability: maybe out of a bottle at a bar this might pass for a porter, but in my glass under the microscope, so to speak, I don't really need another one
Summary: The lack of any strong flavor or aroma makes it hard to recommend this; the porter style isn't one of those styles that you can pass off as a "low-flavor, high-sessionability" kind of thing - it needs flavor - any flavor really; smoky, burnt toast, nutty, coffee, chocolate, pick one, it doesn't matter, but its gotta have flavor and this just isn't there; don't get me wrong, if I were at a bar and in the mood for a porter and this was what they had, I'd drink it without complaint and it would pass for its purposes; it's not poorly made and I'm sure this low-flavor drinkability is what they are going for, but as I'm finding in my travels around the style, that's just not really what porters are about