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Thursday, January 5, 2012

First Brewers Choice of 2012

Tonight we will be releasing our first Brewer's Choice beer of 2012. Dubbed 1830 Porter(in honor of the year Rogues Harbor was built), this beer falls under a catagory known as Robust Porters. Many people aren't overly familiar with the porter style of beer, and even many craft beer afficianados aren't exactly sure about what exactly a  robust  porter is. In honor of the release of this beer we felt that perhaps a little education was in order.

Porter was the dominant style of British beer for much of the 1700 and 1800's. It is believed to have been brewed in answer to a style known as "three threads". Three threads was a blend of three beers that were generally poured at the pubs. In the early part of the 18th century a creative British brewer designed a beer that matched the flavor of the popular Three Threads style of beer, thus alleviating the need for blending of styles. This beer quickly became popular with the working class, for whom the beer style was eventually named. The porter had a range of color going from a light brown, to a beer so dark very little light could pass through it. It tended to lean heavily on the roasted malts for flavor. To some this may already sound like a stout, and there's good reason. Stouts actually evolved out of the porter style.

Porter fell out of popularity in Britain by the start of the 20th century, being replaced by milds and pale ales. By the mid-1900's there were only a handful of breweries in the world that even made a porter. The craft beer revolution has saved a lot of styles from an untimely demise, and porters were among these. However since a lot of the early information on brewing porters has been lost, and since the literature that still exists describes a wide range of characteristics about the style, the style has always been hard to pin down. Several sub-categories of porter have emerged to help better classify the diverse range of beers that call themselves porters. One of them, of course, is the robust porter.

A robust porter is an extremely dark version of porter, and to the eye many people would say it looks like a stout. While the robust porter uses many of the same dark grains as a stout to achieve it's dark brown to near black hue, it lacks the sharp bitterness from the dark grains as well as the signature dryness of an Irish stout. The use of caramel malts helps to lend a sweetness to the beer that balances out the bitter, or burnt nature of the roasted malts and makes the beer a little more accesible to a wider range of paletes.

Our 1830 Porter is a dark, nearly black beer with a solid body. The aroma is strongly reminiscent of fresh ground coffee with hints of chocolate and raisin. The flavor starts off dark and roasty, but finishes with a slight caramel sweetness that takes away the initial bitterness of the beer. As you get further through the pint other subtle flavors such as dates, fig, chocolate, and raisin can be found. It's not a heavy, dry, almost burnt flavor one would associate with such popular dark beers such as Guinness. Rather it has a more smooth flavor, but a firm body that makes it great on cold winter nights. Pair this beer with your favorite dessert, or have it on its own!

It starts pouring tonight on tap only at Rogues Harbor Inn.