While it once represented up to three-quarters of the beer drunk in London, Porter’s popularity took a big hit after WWII. Today, enterprising brewers with a passion for the style and its history are rescuing this dark ale from obscurity.
With a focus on experimentation and, especially, hops, a new generation of Belgian brewers takes its inspiration not from its Trappist or Lambic-producing forefathers, but from brewers in the US and the UK.
While some German brewers make beer that flouts the Reinheitsgebot, many more are committed to brewing within its strictures while employing creative tactics, like adding hop varieties that mimic flavors of prohibited ingredients.
Ryan Witter-Merithew is a man of many faces. There’s the inventive, open-minded brewer whose talent earned him a job at Hill Farmstead; the loyal friend for whom others come first; and then there’s the eternally mischievous malcontent who likes nothing better than to wind people up on Twitter.
Until recently, locals knew South Bermondsey Station as the closest stop to The New Den, home of Millwall, the city’s most blue-collar soccer club, but times have changed. Saturday morning now sees a steady stream of punters disembark here, most of them looking for beer.