The Ale House Door, Henry Singleton, 1790
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"When things go wrong and will not come right,
Though you do the best you can,
When life looks black as the hour of night –
A pint of plain is your only man."
~ The Workman's Friend, Flann O'Brien (1911-1966)
A pint of plain, anyone? If your customary choice is a stout, a dark strong beer, you might as easily use the term "porter" now or in the past- porters have been marketed under such names as "Extra Porter", "Double Porter", and "Stout Porter." Dating back to 19th-century London, this drink was popularized by dock workers (“river porters”) as their post-shift beer of choice! The expression "mind your p's and q's" is thought to stem from 17th century taverns and pubs where people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A barmaid’s job was to keep an eye on the customers, keep the drinks coming, and pay close attention when pouring out “pints” and “quarts.” 🍺
Passing the Porter
It's International Stout Day!
Many brewers still agree that the difference between stout and porter is based on the kind of malt that should be used to brew each type of beer. Porters use malted barley while stouts are primarily made from unmalted roasted barley, which is where the coffee flavor most people associate with stout.
The name "porter" was first recorded in the 18th century, and is thought to come from its popularity with street and river porters.
The name "stout" as used for a dark beer is believed to have come about because strong porters were marketed under such names as "Extra Porter", "Double Porter", and "Stout Porter". The term "Stout Porter" would later be shortened to just "Stout". For example, Guinness Extra Stout was originally called Extra Superior Porter and was only given the name Extra Stout in 1840.
During the First World War in Britain, shortages of grain led to restrictions on the strength of beer. Less strict rules were applied in Ireland, allowing Irish brewers such as Guinness to continue to brew beers closer to pre-war strengths. English breweries continued to brew a range of bottled, and sometimes draught, stouts until the Second World War and beyond.
Many breweries now brew porters in a wide variety of styles and flavours, including pumpkin honey, vanilla, plum, chili, and chocolate!
Care to sample a Scotch Ale of the pumpkin variety this season? Click the label for reviews.
Whatever the style you're fond of, "Pass the porter!"