Yet another American hack has tried to give a potted history of porter. Let’s just open up for rebuttals for my more scholarly inclined fellow beer bloggers to this:
The credit for inventing porter ordinarily goes to Ralph Harwood of the Bell Brew house in Shoreditch, who developed it around 1722. Before that, En gland’s best- selling beer was threethread, possibly a blend of pale ale, new brown ale, and stale brown ale. A publican did the mixing, but Harwood’s Entire, a bitter, dark- brown beer, required no fuss and came in a single cask ideal for export. It got its name from the men who “ported” goods at such London markets as Covent Garden and Smithfield. They had adopted the brew as their own, and swallowed it with the gusto of dockers. Guinness’s version, officially ruby- colored, was darker, richer, and more full- bodied than the original—a “stouter” porter, later simply stout. Its secret ingredient was a special strain of yeast whose clone is still around, supposedly kept under lock and key in the Directors’ Safe at James’s Gate.
It’s in a book just out – in the US, at least, dunno about Ireland, by Bill Barich, an author described in the NYT as half-Norwegian guy from Long Island. Barich travels around Ireland trying to find the real, authentic Irish pub. A sample chapter is available online, so you can make up your own mind.
The review in the NYT is not too enthusiastic, and the sampler online does not make me click my way over to Amazon right away, either. Consider this nugget of thought from the Gravity bar on top of the Guinness visitor complex:
Guinness is Ireland, the branding suggests, and it forges a bond so absolute that you’ll feel unpatriotic if you don’t finish your jar.
I doubt the Irish feel the same way looking at this from the inside . My encounters with the Irish is they are a bit too sophisticated to look for national symbols when they get thirsty. But the marketing is brilliant, no doubt about that..
I think I’ll wait for the paperback.
Comments, please. Beer Nut? The rest of the Irish Craft Brewers?