The English-style Brown Porter is distinguishable from its louder cousins, Baltic and Robust Porter craft beer, by its restraint in three crucial areas: alcohol, roast, and hopping. The Brown Porter appears in a full brown spectrum, with hints of mahogany lingering primarily when held up to the light. Its assertive malt aroma with a light to moderate, mild roast character accompanies an unmistakably rich malty-flavored taste that subdues secondary flavors of roast, toast, chocolate caramel, coffee, or anise.
English-Style Brown Porter’s Origin Story
The Porter has a rather complex and winding history, although many accounts agree that it originated somewhere in London in the early to mid-1700s. There is a longstanding idea that a brewer named Ralph Harwood first produced the Potter by creating a blend of brews called the “three-threads.” This beer constituted old, new, and mild ale in equal parts. Since it was a combination of all three types, the London beer faithful, from the working class to even the porters who hauled goods around, reportedly couldn’t get enough of it – hence its name.
Unfortunately, Stouts gradually usurped Porters to the most popular and liked beer title in the late 1800s, leading to low demand and interest in Porters. Several breweries halted production and those that continued made milder versions – a shadow of its former self. Despite being close to extinction around the start of World War I, the Porter made a sensational comeback in the late 1970s, as many breweries rediscovered its classic style. Homebrewing and the microbrewery’s revolution of the 1980s also whisked Porters away from the brink of oblivion.
Enjoying Your English-Style Brown Porter
The Porter has a broad range of flavor characteristics, making it a great utility beer that accompanies several meals. Any kind of meat – grilled, roasted or smoked, a good steak or hamburger, or anything BBQ will go well with Porters. Pairings with shellfish and chili can also make for a culinary indulgence you will surely relish.