Tuesday, August 31, 2021

History of porter beer

Porter is a very dark ale. The darker color and special flavor come from toasting the malt before brewing. This usually results in a stronger taste and higher alcohol content.

Porters were one of the first commercially successful single styles of beer. They were brewed in very large quantities and the requirements to make a delicious, drinkable beer in large quantities led 18th century brewers to develop more sophisticated instruments and processes than they were used to using.

The name “porter” was used to describe beer in the early 18th century, it is thought because this dark beer was popular with street and river porters.

Porters can trace their roots back several hundred years and were originally brewed in England. References to the Porter style can be found as far back as the early 1700's. Porters eventually evolved into the Stout style of beer.

It reportedly got its start when a brewer in London combined an older and newer beer together in a barrel and started serving it. By combining beer from different sources, publicans could cater to their customers’ individual tastes, creating unique blends on the spot.

There are numerous legends around the invention of this black, bitter and thick beer. One has it that it was brewed for the first time at the Bellin brewhouse at Shoreditch in 1722.

The triple blend story involves a London brewer named Ralph Harwood, the owner of the Bell Brewhouse in Shoreditch. The discovery is supposed to have been either the practicability of mixing in the brewhouse two or three types of beer who had hitherto been blended by the publican at the counter or lese by a malt more highly dried or ‘browned’, than any had been before.

Regardless of how many parts there were, the brew caught on with the working class, especially those in London who were employed as porters, ultimately leading to the beer style being known as “porter.”.

Porter style emerged as aged, or “stale” versions of brown beer. Before 1700 London brewers were sending out their beer very young with it then required to be aged by the publican. Porter was the first style aged at the brewery so that it was fit for immediate consumption as soon as the publican purchased it.

A sharp rise in beer taxes in 1692 would have encouraged brewers to blend the differently taxed beers. Most likely, however, ‘ porter ’ s beer ’ was a popular synonym for ‘ brown butt - beer ’ , a long established London drink. Porter soon became known as a distinct beer style and dominated the British Empire for about 100 years.

The tremendous popularity of the Porter style among the general public of 18th century England coincided with the Industrial Revolution.
History of porter beer

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