With the temperature dropping and the nights drawing in, it’s time for the return of our take on the iconic London beer style - Truman’s Original Porter.
Developed in the East End in the early 18th Century, the growth of Porter coincided with the growth of London as an industrial centre. Porter’s rise to prominence was rapid, with dedicated Porter houses soon being opened across the city. Visitors to the capital complained that although London was one of the few cities with clean water, no one was drinking it as everyone was drinking Porter! And legend has it, that it was Truman's that really popularised the style - with its expertise in producing the style seeing consumption explode.
London’s expansion along with developments in engineering and infrastructure meant that breweries, such as Truman's, grew to unprecedented size to cope with demand. Vast tanks were built to mature the beer – so big that that they could hold dinner dances inside for their opening ceremonies. By the mid-18th Century, Truman's was one of the largest Porter breweries in London.
Originally, Porter was a very different drink to what we have today. Brewed almost exclusively with the then popular Brown Malt, the beers would have been a very dark red, rather than black, with a slight smoky flavour from the old fashioned malting process. Porters were also known for being hoppy beers - something that is not associated with the style today.
With the invention of roasting techniques in malting in the early 19th Century, everything changed. Brewers moved from using the low yielding brown malt to a pale ale malt base, with a small proportion of roasted barley, as it created a similar effect for a cheaper price. As time went on, porter gradually became the darker beer we see today.
Its popularity also waned – as pale ale became the dominant beer style in the 19th Century, Porter production shrunk. This continued into the 20th Century until, for a period in the 1970s, no UK brewer was brewing this historic style.
When brewing this beer, we wanted to create a beer that was pleasing to modern palates, but also recognised the place that the original Porter style has in Truman’s history.
We’ve a created a beautiful looking dark ruby red beer with flavours of chocolate, coffee and caramel, cut through with a slight tartness which comes from the traditional brown malt we use. Like the original porter brewers, we use a healthy late hop addition – in this case Brambling Cross and Target – to give a lovely nose of blackcurrant with a hint of spice.
In essence, it's a true Porter.