Tuesday, 9 March 2021

A Porter and Stout argument (part two)

Some more incoherent beer history fun. This time with the astounding claim that one element of three threads was Lager.

"Porter could be a hundred or more years older, and the first brewers to make it weren't necessarily the "biggest breweries in the world," but rather little pubs that served what they brewed on site, and they cut every cost they could before modern kilning techniques had taken hold anywhere.  I don't necessarily have any investment in any of this info, but I kid you not (feel free to Google this), some historians say that porter was born from a beer called "Entire beer," which was essentially just a three-way mixture of lager, pale ale, and a strong ale.  The three separate beers were poured into a single glass upon request, much like a "black & tan" is today.  Anchor Brewing literally has this on their website.  Again, I don't mean to imply I believe this, nor did I want to indicate that I thought anything you said is wrong, moreover, I believe all of us are wrong!  LOL  "Beer history is a funny thing," meaning, no one really knows any of this for sure, and every "historian" thinks they're the only one that's got the story right, yet they all contradict one another!  I've resigned to just be fascinated by any story I hear, and I romanticize with whichever story sounds good at the moment.  None of it matters."

When I pointed out the first Lagers weren't brewed in UK until the 1840s, I got this reply:

""Porter was always a beer produced by big brewers because it had to be brewed on a large scale."  Interesting.  So, you couldn't make a five-gallon batch of it?  Why is that, exactly?  LOL   Also, John Feltham wrote an article called "The Porter Brewery" in 1802, where he claimed porter was based on a mixed drink called "Three Threads," which was one-third ale, one-third "beer," and one third two-pence.  Don't get mad at me for telling you this stuff.  I'm only pointing out how rocky beer history is.  Also, although lager didn't go by its current name in London till 1839, the people of Pilsen were making beer as early as the 13th century.  František Ondřej Poupě wrote a book in 1794 about lager, so it's not like the world was waiting around for the UK to figure things out.  Although the London porter is one of the most commonly cited early porter beers, let's not forget there are other countries on Earth, and Germans were brewing beer on American soil in commercial breweries as early as 1612.  Dunkel and Swartzbier have documentation that go back to 1390.  -and let's be honest here, a porter is just a variant of a Dunkel.  The history of the porter as we know it is probably so muddled because it went through its own evolution on every continent.  Just a thought.  If you're comfortable being positive you know everything, hey, more power to you."

So they were brewing Lager in London in the 18th century, they just didn't call it that. And they were brewing Lager in Pilsen in the 13th century. Real comedy gold this. 

Then there's the killer - because they brewed dark beers earlier than 1700 in Germany, Porter must be derived from Dunkles or Schwarzbier. Right. Porter is any beer darker than a certain colour. There were  beers that dark in Germany before 1700, so Porter must be derived from them.

I'm not getting mad for you telling me this stuff. I'm having a good laugh.

On a more serious note, it's scary how little weight facts and logic have with a lot of people. I was going to say nowadays, but I guess it's always been the same.



Anonymous said...

These are quotes from the guys at the Craft Beer Channel arguing with you?

Their quotation of “historian” seems to suggest they think there is no real difference in the quality of information presented in a blog like yours and their shit YouTube channel. This is even stupider than the original video in question.

Ron Pattinson said...


no, this isn't the Craft Beer Channel people, just some random viewer. They seem pretty reasonable blokes. Unlike the idiot I'm arguing with.

Rob Sterowski said...

“Don’t try to brew or pontificate about beer styles you can’t spell” has always seemed quite good advice.

Oblivious said...

Wow it's really a products of some of the awful the BJCP/ homebrewer gru ideology have produced over the years.

A Brew Rat said...

Thanks for the good laugh, Ron. Obviously this guy has no idea what a lager is.

Clark said...

This is a problem in the field of food and drink history in general. You will get bonkers claims about how some dish evolved from this or that country, only to find out that it actually existed for centuries in some other place first. People will cite three secondary sources for a claim, but when you look at them, you realize they all refer to the same dubious source.

I dug into one involving the Mexican soup pozole -- basically hominy corn and some kind of meat plus vegetables -- and multiple claims that it came from cannibalistic feasts. Which on its surface is nuts, and when you find reports of serious archaelogical evidence, you see that there is simply no way the claim can be true.

People want to believe stupid stories, the more elaborate the better. Every once in a blue moon one turns out to be semi-true, but almost always it's silly, and sometimes, like in the story of pozole, it can be flat out bigoted.

Mike in NSW said...

Lager is basically just beer that's been kept (Lagern, to store) in the way that keeping beer was the norm until the tied house scramble and the switch to running beers.

Prior to that they didn't as far as I know categorise beer by the type of yeast used, for much of brewing history yeast was a mystery. Who really knows what it was. It didn't become a "style" that modern people recognise until Carlsberg did their thing which came much later.

The guy using modern terms to claim that one of the 3 threads was lager is like somebody claiming "Jesus changed most of the water into a frisky Australian Chardonnay but later on in the evening they voted for a nice Burgundy, north slopes of course"