Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Harwood Myth

Porter was invented by Ralph Harwood as a substitute for "three threads"... or at least that's what most beer writers have been parroting since 1802. In 1802, John Feltham put out a guidebook called The Picture of London, including a section on porters (which was appropriate, it being an extremely popular style of beer in London at the time). Feltham made this claim about the origins of porter, which is not backed up by any evidence. This origin story was most likely based on a lack of technical knowledge and a misunderstanding of terminology by Feltham, explaining why there are no sources in the over eighty years since the origin of porter and Feltham's claim. So, despite the claims of most histories of porter for the last 200 years, Ralph Harwood inventing porter is a myth, leading to another origin story (or the origin of a name, at least):

Urban Chestnut's Harwood Myth is an English-style, Brown Porter with 5.5% ABV and 28 IBU.

I enjoyed Harwood Myth served from a bottle. It poured a very dark brown (not terribly surprising, it being a porter). The thick, light tan head had good retention and lacing. The nose had roasty malts. Harwood Myth has nice roasty and malty flavors, and finishes with some chocolate and a very light hoppiness. It had medium carbonation, and a light body (possibly a little too light).

I have always found many beers labeled as porters to be much more light-bodied than I'm expecting based on their aroma and flavor (I'm not going to get started on the difference (or lack thereof) between porters and stouts). This has always been a little bit off-putting, but I found Harwood Myth to be a very good porter.  I'll be keeping an eye out for Harwood Myth at my local stores.

I gave it a 4.

The Big Guy: This was a pretty impressive version of a porter. So often dark beers turn into big sweet malt bombs. Not true with Harwood Myth. This porter from UCBC has huge roasted flavors. It comes off like unsweetened dark chocolate, roasty notes and some nutty flavors. The body is surprisingly light and crisp, which is very nice. Its almost sessionable, but it packs a ton of complex flavors in a very easy drinking brew. This is a very complex and tasty 3.5

Martyn Cornell, "Porter Myths and Mysteries", Brewery History.
"Porter (beer)." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 10 Jan. 2014.

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