The latest edition of CAMRA's Beer magazine contains an article on Porter by Roger Protz. Where he repeats all of the most egregious tales of the style's origin and decline. It's incredibly frustrating that I'm still having to refute this bullshit after demonstrating years ago just how wrong it was.
Here we go again.
"The brewers called porter entire butt, as it was served from just one cask or butt. It replaced a beer that was a blend of pale, brown and stale ales."
The early name for Porter was Starting Butt Beer, not Entire Butt. Entire Butt doesn't refer to it being served from a single cask. It means that it was brewed "Entire gyle", that is, all the worts were cobined to make a single beer. As op[posed to parti-gyling multiple beer from one brew. Entire later came to refer to Keeping Porter, beer which had been aged.
Porter didn't replace blend of pale, brown and stale ales. That was made up in the early 19th century by someone who totally misinterpreted Obadiah Poundage's letter to a magazine outlining the history of Porter. In any case Porter was a Beer, not an Ale. In the early 18th century Beer and Ale were two distinct drinks, brewed at different breweries and even coming in different-sized casks.
"But production came to an abrupt stop in World War I, when the government banned the use of dark roasted malts. It said the additional energy, in the shape of gas, coal and electricity, used to produce roasted malts should go into munitions and baking."
I've looked very carefully through the Food Controller's orders in WW I and I can find no ban on the roasting of malt. All through the war London brewed used large quantities of roasted malts, even including brown malt in some Mild Ales.
Production of Porter didn't stop in London during WW I. Neither of Stout. Even in the darkest days of 1918 and 1919, Whitbread brewed over 100,000 barrels of Porter and Stout. Production of Porter did fall dramatically in 1917 and 1918, but only because gravities had become so reduced that Stout, for a while, replaced it.
Here are the details:
|Whitbread Porter and Stout production 1914 - 1929|
|Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/079, LMA/4453/D/01/080, LMA/4453/D/01/081, LMA/4453/D/01/082, LMA/4453/D/01/083, LMA/4453/D/01/084, LMA/4453/D/01/085, LMA/4453/D/01/086, LMA/4453/D/01/087, LMA/4453/D/01/088, LMA/4453/D/01/089, LMA/4453/D/01/090, LMA/4453/D/01/091, LMA/4453/D/01/092, LMA/4453/D/01/093 and LMA/4453/D/01/094.|
WW I did have a negative impact of Porter in London. But that wasn't the result of a ban on roasted malts. More it was fault of London brewers post-war for brewing Porter as a 5d per pint beer, which meant it had a watery gravity of not much over 1030º. It seems many drinkers switched over to Stout.
It wasn't just Whitbread. Fullers were brewing 250 barrel batches of Porter in 1918 and 1919.