“Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long, does not sin; whoever does not sin, enters Heaven! Thus, let us drink beer!”
~Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Allegedly, this drink takes its name from the burly deliverymen who balanced wooden kegs on their shoulders and rapped on pub doors, announcing themselves with a shout of “Porter!” Modern breweries compete by offering complex flavors such Maple Bacon Coffee, Rocky Mountain Oyster, and Choc Lobster, which gets its character from lobsters, sea salt, chocolate and basil tea!
Stout Day is a day to celebrate this most hearty of brews. Stout is a dark beer made using roasted malt or roasted barley, hops, water and yeast. Stouts were traditionally the generic term for the strongest or stoutest porters, typically 7% or 8%, produced by a brewery.
Porter as a dark style of beer was developed in London in the early 1700s and favored amongst the working classes, particularly the street and river porters from which the common name is believed to have been derived. The word "stout", meaning "strong" was used to describe strong beers.
During the First World War in Britain, shortages of grain led to restrictions on the strength of beer. But less strict rules in Ireland allowed brewers such as Guinness to continue to brew beers closer to pre-war strengths.
Many breweries now brew Porters in a wide variety of flavors, including pumpkin, honey, vanilla, plum, chocolate, and even oyster (first noted in New Zealand in 1929).
The colours of the Porter Drinkers’ tartan are taken from the labels of the designer's favourite variety, a Swedish Porter with Scottish origins - David Carnegie, a grandson of a captain of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Life Guards (who took refuge in Gothenburg after the Battle of Culloden), became a wholesale merchant and in 1836, bought a sugar refinery and a porter brewery.
In this tartan, black is an allusion to the dark, full-bodied potion of the drink, while yellow is symbolic of a certain moderate sweetness. The thin red line is interpreted as the distinct “tang” that Porter drinkers instantly recognize as the hallmark of a fine porter.
If Porter or Stout is your drink and you would like to explore a complementary dessert, click the glass for a recipe for Triple Chocolate Stout Beer Brownies.