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The Porters Beer – The London Black

The London Black Beer

Words by Samuel Christian
Featured Photograph courtesy of Anspach & Hobday

This is a beer that can definitely be considered London’s own. It comes from the independent brewery Anspach & Hobday based in Bermondsey, a place recognized for its creative and original breweries. On ‘The Craft Beer Channel’, the London Black was described as “like our home team. The London team”. This is not just because it comes from a London brewery, but because its history is one that is deeply rooted in the city.

The London Black is a porter, the original dark beer that came before stout. Porter originated in London in the 18th century as a hoppy, brown malted ale with the water initially used coming from the Thames and brown malt from Ware. It became hugely popular and got its name from the thousands of men who worked as porters in London loading and unloading boats and carrying goods from the warehouses to shops. These men took to drinking this distinctive beer and it soon became known as the porter.

The London Black

Photograph courtesy of Anspach & Hobday

The London Black though is a nitro porter. Most beers are carbonated and dispensed with Co2, but nitro uses nitrogen gas instead. Nitrogen is one of the elements that makes it so smooth and places the London Black as a craft alternative to the more famous Guinness. While it draws comparisons, with a coffee and chocolatey taste, it is still very different with a complex sweetness and fruity notes mixed with the hardness of London water making it silky and smooth.

Anspach & Hobday produce this incredible drink by using a selection of modern malts alongside the heritage brewing of the porter. The recipe uses amber malt, chocolate malt and Munich malt making the most of the possibility of sourcing malts from much further afield than brewers could in the 18th century.

Anspach & Hobday

Photograph courtesy of Anspach & Hobday

The Market Coffee House and Bar is one of the best places to grab a pint of the London Black. It is a beautiful old building located a stone’s throw from the Old Truman Brewery – one of the two leading breweries of the 18th century that focused on brewing the porter – which feels appropriate.

Sit back among the aging wood and warm glow of the bar as evening approaches and be delighted by the richness and silky texture of this both traditional and original London beer, a true reflection of what the city has to offer.