At some point in the last year a memo must have gone round all the traditional-regional-family brewers: let’s brew porter!
So far this year we’ve noticed new ones from:
- St Austell — for Nicholson’s pubs
- Adnams — bottled, infused with coffee
- McMullen’s — under their Rivertown sub-brand, and 5.8% ABV
- Timothy Taylor — a new porter, but not the first they’ve made in recent years
And that’s before we get into debatable cases such as the revived Truman’s which has a vanilla porter in development.
Have we missed any others?
We’d guess this has been enabled by the trend for small pilot plants which enable large breweries, otherwise equipped to turn out tankerloads of one or two flagship beers, to produce styles with less mainstream appeal on the side. For a long time this was often cited as the reason for the lack of dark beers — they don’t sell enough to warrant a full brew — so this might also bode well for other marginal styles such as mild.
We’re also firmly of the view that porter is a more dignified way of meeting the current demand for novelty and variety than disappointing cod-American IPAs, or beers that are supposed to taste of Tequila.
Whatever the reasons and motives we’d be quite happy if October-December became a sort of semi-official porter season across the country. Imagine knowing that you could walk into almost any halfway decent pub and find porter on draught — imagine!