New Glarus Presents Historical Revamp of Porter

by Jim Lundstrom

I want to share two wonderful words:  Sour Porter.

In particular, the New Glarus Brewing Company’s Sour Porter. Amazing! Delicious! And, I am willing to bet, highly nutritious!
The sour spreads across the palate like the wave from a nuclear blast, and once it rakes across the palate, it is immediately replaced by the warm, reassuring brownness of porter.
According to the brewmaster’s notes included on the bottle label, the “misunderstood” Sour Porter was brewed with floor-malted barley (including the biscuit Maris Otter barley) and “a touch of smoked malt.” 
“Oak tanks promoted the spontaneous fermentation and lend a toasted finish” to what Brewmaster Dan Carey says is an authentic porter that might have been found in London pubs in the 1870s. It is based on the research of English beer historian Graham Wheeler, who says Porter originally was just a mixture of two brown beers, including a deliberately soured – or “stale” – beer.

Wheeler maintains that previous notions of the birth of Porter (long attributed to an 18th century publican by the name of Ralph Harwood) and the taste of Porter are wrong. He says the practice of mixing new and old beer predates Harwood by a century, and that Porter was always a sour beer, which means a lot of craft brewers have flubbed this beer style.

Does it mean Anchor Brewing and other porter brewers across the county are going to revamp their beers to reflect the sour style of Porter? 

Probably not. So, do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle of Mr. Carey’s delicious dark nectar.

Thanks to Sam Northrop for providing me with a bottle of this awesome beer and thanks also to New Glarus Brewing Co. for making my mouth so happy with this Sour Porter.