What Makes a Porter a Porter?

As both the craft beer industry and the home brewing hobby expand, new beer styles continue to emerge and existing beer styles are improved on and twisted to reflect modern times. One of the historically original beer styles, the porter, can now be seen on almost every tap list.  Porters have been refined, barrel aged, had additional flavors added to them, and been kept more traditional depending on the season, current trends, brewer’s preferences, and customers taste requests.

The porter style beer has been around since the early 18th century and was one of the first beers to gain popularity and helped to drive a revolution in brewing. While there are a few different stories about how porter originated, most people believe that it was created by London brown ale brewers who were being pressured to create better beers. These improved beers had more hops and were aged longer, and were named after the porters who carried goods around the city and were big fans of this new style of beer.

 
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Although the recipe for a porter has changed over the years, it is still known for its depth of color and flavor. This style of beer ranges in color from dark copper to black depending on the variation and typically has an ABV between 4-7% and a lower IBU, usually in the range of 18-35. These beers don’t typically have much of a hoppy taste and aroma, but some porters do have a slight bitter flavor quality to them for balance. Depending on the exact style and the brewers addition to the beer, porters can have a roasted malt taste that may incorporate notes of chocolate, coffee, molasses, or toffee - just to name a few.

Porters are a favorite among many people, and this style continues to grow as new breweries and new beer lovers are born everyday. While this rich, dark, and complex beer may have traditionally been thought of as more of a fall or winter brew, it has defied any box it was previously put into and is now enjoyed year round. A porter brings a lot to the table with its mix of depth and drinkability, and will continue to be a beer that captures the taste buds of all those that try it.

Recipe Feature: Pumpkin Piehole Beer Bread

Chilly weather is the perfect reason to stay home and bake, and what better excuse to crack open a beer while you bake than the fact that the recipe told you to! If you’ve never had beer bread before, have you really been living? But in all honestly beer bread is crazy delicious, so easy to make, and is the perfect excuse to pick up some to go beers next time you come by the brewery.

Beer bread is a little different than other homemade breads because the beer adds a lightness from the carbonation, while still being hearty and with a slight sweetness that goes perfectly with a pat of butter or a bit of honey. This recipe only calls for one bowl, minimal ingredients, and could be made by even the most beginner of bakers.

This recipe is a pumpkin spiced take on beer bread, using some pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices, and of course pumpkin spiced beer. We’ve made this recipe with Pumpkin Piehole and damn is it a winner. We can’t wait for you to try this recipe - it’s easy enough to make on a weekday night with a big bowl of soup of chili, but it also makes a great addition to any of your upcoming holiday feasts.




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Pumpkin Piehole Beer Bread

-3 cups of flour (can use all purpose or whole wheat or a mix of both)

-1 tablespoon of baking powder

-1 teaspoon of salt

-2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (can substitute for a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice)

-3 tablespoons of honey (sub maple syrup to make it vegan)

-1 cup of pumpkin puree

-12 oz of Pumpkin Piehole

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease a bread loaf pan.

2.Mix your dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

3.Combine dry ingredients with the honey and pumpkin puree.

4.Slowly add in your beer, mixing all ingredients together until well combined.

5.Bake for an hour, checking on your bread periodically and poking it with a toothpick to check if it is baked all of the way through.

6,Let your bread rest for at least ten minutes before slicing.

7. Enjoy your amazing bread with a pint of Pumpkin Piehole.

Employee Highlight: Jessica Price

Although on this blog we often focus on our beers and the new and delicious things that we are brewing, we wouldn’t be able to do all that brewing or bring our beers to the public without our kickass employees. They are the heart of this company and help to make everyone feel like a member of the Historic Brewing Company family. One of our most kickass employees is Jessica Price, the general manager of our Williams location. She has been with the company for two years and has helped to make a difference company wide with her dedication to service and her desire to connect and share with her employees and her customers.

Jessica moved to Northern Arizona after living in Michigan for most of her life where she not only grew up around breweries but also worked in the service industry for eleven years. She learned a lot about beer and realized that this was an industry that she wanted to work in when she was working for a bar in Michigan named the Winking Lizard. This bar had 45 beers on tap and gave her a lot of experience and knowledge about different beer styles and different breweries from all over the country.

Her move to Arizona came not only from a desire to change her surroundings, but also the desire to find cheap property so that she and her husband could have their own little piece of the world. Before moving to Northern Arizona, Jessica and her husband began to minimize their lives, realizing that they wanted to build a tiny home and create a more sustainable lifestyle without debt. They bought an old trailer, gutted it to the base, and then began the hard work of designing and creating a home of their own. They worked on their tiny home for 12 months - building it in between their part time jobs with the money they made working so that they would not create any debt while doing their build out. When their tiny home was complete and they had decided on a place to move, they packed up their lives and towed their trailer out to the property that they live on now.

Jessica, her husband, their two dogs and two cats all live in the 221 square foot tiny home, complete with two lofts. They own 3.5 acres in Ash Fork and their property backs up to the Kaibab National Forest with beautiful views of the mountain. They feel like this property is where they were meant to land and they have no plans to leave, but just to continue to work on this property to make it even more sustainable. This piece of land is their own little piece of the world and they couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

 
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Jessica’s husband is in charge of keeping up the property, including their amazing greenhouse, while we steal her away to manage Historic Brewing Company’s Williams locations. She began working for the company as a server but quickly moved her way up, and a year ago she became the general manager, overseeing the daily operations of the Bistro and Barrel House restaurants. She has always loved working in the service industry and especially loves working out in Williams where everyone seems to be on an adventure and is happy and excited to share their stories and experiences. Jessica herself said that is also also on an adventure, just a long term one. She loves that everyday of work is different and that she gets to connect with her staff and her customers on a human level.

She brings a lot to our company in terms of leadership, with her ability to handle whatever is thrown at her while managing our busiest restaurants out in Williams. She is able to manage her staff with fairness while being strong, which is one of the hardest but most respectable qualities of a leader. All of her experiences up to this point have allowed her opportunities to grow and develop herself as a person, and she translates that to her work with Historic. She is constantly evolving with her staff, the company, and the locations she manages as each day can bring new successes or problems to work through.

When she’s not at work you’ll find her working on her property, hanging out with her animals, hiking, or drinking a beer. Her favorite beer style is a Porter, but her favorite HBC beer is Sour Bear Arms which she loves for its unique flavor and complexity. She brings so much to our company and our company culture with her ability to make the best out of what is available to her in any moment. She is an incredible human and an amazing manager and we couldn’t imagine our Williams locations and this company as a whole without her leadership, resourcefulness, and kindness.



Gotta Love a Lager

Beer drinkers across the world will agreed - you gotta love a lager. While this style of beer was born in Bavaria hundreds of years ago, using ancient methods of brewing beers in caves or cold beer cellars, this style of beer later gained popularity across Germany and America and is still one of the most popular styles of beer produced and drank worldwide.

Lagers made their way to America in the 1850s when Germans began migrating to the United States and brought with them their brewing techniques and Bavarian hops. This style of beer took off in popularity because of its ability to be produced with cheaper and more readily available ingredients, as well as its ability to be mass produced. While barley and other types of malt were harder to cultivate in America and more expensive to grow, lagers could be produced with portions of corn, wheat, and squash which was more readily available in America. American beer drinkers were also drawn to this style of beer because of its cleaner taste and its traditionally lower content of alcohol. They often associated darker beers with higher levels of alcohol, but enjoyed that they could have one or two of these lighter style beers at lunch without feeling the effects of alcohol that would prohibit them from going back to work after their noon meal.

The rise in popularity of these lighter, cleaner beers that could be mass produced helped start the boom of large breweries across America. These larger breweries that produced lighter colored ales made it through Prohibition by changing their factories to produce things like ice cream and soft drinks, while the smaller breweries that produced darker beers didn’t last through the Prohibition period. Americans were accustomed to these lighter beers by the time breweries were able to produce beer again, and they lasted through the Great Depression as they were generally cheaper to make than darker beers.

 
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American lagers today are produced in a specific way that allows for a longer fermentation done at a lower temperature which affects the yeast, keeping it from producing esters which gives the beer a cleaner flavor profile. There are also less hops used in lagers, so there is less bitterness in the beer overall. These lagers are light in color, crisp, and tend to have a high amount of carbonation. They generally are low in both IBU and ABV with a more neutral flavor quality that is not overly “hoppy” or “malty”. Americans lager have a very light mouth feel that is thirst-quenching, refreshing, and generally easy to drink.

Mexican lagers, another popular style of lager in the US and regions of Mexico, differ slightly from American lagers. This style of beer was first produced in Mexico when Austrian immigrants began to settle there and brew. Today Mexican lagers are not only produced in Mexico but by many big and small breweries all over the United States. These lagers use a special type of yeast that gives the brew it’s unique flavor and special distinction. In our beers Oceanfront Property, Salt River, and Sonoran Amber Lager we use a yeast strain from Mexico that creates a finished brew that is light, clean, and well-balanced

It’s no doubt that lagers have changed over the years in both brewing methods and taste, however, they still remain one of the most heavily produced beers across the United States and the world due to their ability to be mass produced and enjoyed by many. While big breweries may be the most known for producing lagers, small craft breweries also enjoy tackling lagers and making them even better, cleaner, and more delicious overall. The lager style continues to grow in popularity as new beer drinkers emerge and they all seem to echo the same sentiment - you gotta love a lager.



Grand Canyon Wine Company

Even though these blogs are normally focused on beer, beer styles, and all things hoppy and malty - here at Historic we are also a bunch of secret wine lovers. And I bet you didn’t know that within the Historic Brewing Company family of businesses we also produce wine and have a wine tasting room out in Williams. Our sister company, Grand Canyon Wine Company, produces Arizona wines in a variety of different styles, all custom made for us to be equally as awesome as our beers.

Every season, we work with local Arizona vineyards to create amazing wines that show off the diversity of the grapes grown in Arizona and highlight just how incredibly delicious drinking locally can be. Most of our grapes are grown in Verde Valley and Wilcox and we produce both red and white wines. We want to make producing, tasting, and drinking wine an experience that isn’t fussy or pretentious, but instead just downright awesome.

While the wine styles we produce change every year depending on what grapes  were grown that year, what styles are trending currently, and what just sounds damn good to drink, we always focus on producing the best wine that we possibly can. We serve our wines out of our Willams tasting room, our William's restaurant Station 66 Italian Bistro, Barrel + Bottle House - Williams and Barrel and Bottle House - Flagstaff in Downtown Flagstaff. We also sell full bottles in the tasting room and can ship our wines through online sales and our quarterly wine club membership.

 
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Our wine club membership is free to join and there is a package that fits every type of wine drinker out there. Members choose the right package for them depending on how much wine they’d like to receive and what styles they prefer to drink, and then they are shipped new bottles four times a year. You can join our wine club via the Grand Canyon Wine Company website or by coming into the tasting room in Williams and signing up in person.

The secrets out now, we not only love tasty beer at Historic Brewing Company but we also love a delicious glass (or three) of wine. If you haven’t had our wine yet, what are you waiting for? There’s a glass waiting for you today!



Meet our Head Brewer

Have you ever wondered who the man is hiding amongst the fermenters? The one who works tirelessly to brew all the craft beer and awesomeness behind the scenes? That man is Zack Stoll, our head brewer and tap room jack of all trades. Zack not only describes himself as head brewer of Historic Brewing Company, but also as head maintenance man, head landscaper, head firefighter, and Lauren’s (our Sales & Taproom manager) emotional support dog.

 
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Zack first started with Historic four years ago as a brewer’s assistant and has been our head brewer for over a year. He moved to Flagstaff five years ago from California where he was working for the forest service and home brewing in his spare time. However, his love for craft beer began many years before that. While attending college and playing rugby in Pennsylvania, he had his first craft beer and once he realized there was more than “piss beer” out there to drink, there was no going back.

Zack took a home brewing course in college where he created his first beer, an Amber Ale aptly named the Fundy Fog after the fog that rolls off of the Bay of Fundy. While Zack says he didn’t receive an A in this class due to his lack of attendance in lectures, the labs where he learned the science and got to brew his own beer peaked his interest enough to come back to home brewing later in life.

Before coming to Historic, Zack was winning awards for his home brewing and making up to ten gallons a week to keep up with demand from friends and family who loved his beer. Zack got into home brewing and eventually brewing for Historic based on his love for craft beer, the science behind brewing, and his desire to create the beers that he wanted to drink. As a head brewer Zack is a patient teacher, a great mentor, and an overall goofball who makes the brewery a great place to work. Victor Samaniego, one of our brewer’s assistants, describes working with Zack as “just fun, there’s no other way to describe it. It’s hard work but the vibe that Zack creates in the brewery makes it super enjoyable.”

 
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You’ll often find Zack at the brewery jamming out to pop punk, messing with whoever is around, and planning out his next beer. Zack’s favorite beer to brew is Oceanfront Lager because of the precision it takes to keep the flavors just right so that the beer is as he describes “delicious, light but flavorful, very drinkable, and with a little noble hops citrus to it.” Although Zack likes to experiment and keep things fresh, he also loves the more traditional styles and aspects of brewing and he especially loves brewing IPAs because he gets to work with a lot of hops.

One of Zack’s favorite beers to drink to drink in the summer is the Troegs Dreamweaver Hefeweizen from back home in Pennsylvania, and if he’s not behind the towering fermenters you can find him fly fishing, hiking, biking or out looking for wild mushrooms. Zack brings a sense of character to the brewery that not only increases the experience for everyone who gets to work and learn from him, but also to all of the customers that get to enjoy his creations and the devotion that he puts into making craft beer.