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Porter is a dark-brown bitter beer, somewhat similar to stout or Guinness, but slightly sweeter; its colour derives from its being brewed from charred malt. It was made originally (in the eighteenth century) as low-priced beer for working people, including porters (the sort of porter who carries things, not the door attendant); hence, apparently, its name. The word had more or less gone out of use in Britain by the end of the nineteenth century, but it survived far longer in Ireland: ‘I've a big suggestion it was about the pint of porter’ (James Joyce, Finnegan's Wake, 1939); and recently, with the revival of interest in traditional beers and ales, it has been resurrected in Britain.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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