It’s been 110 years since Albert Henry Porter served his last hand-crafted beer in Charlotte. Owner and operator of Charlotte Brewing Company from 1900-1909, Porter died at the age of 42, effectively ending the reign of Charlotte’s first brewery.
On Tuesday, March 5, the Albert Henry Porter name makes a triumphant return as the current iteration of the Charlotte Brewing Company releases a specially-brewed porter-style beer in his name.
The release marks the five-year anniversary of Charlotte Brewing Company, located within the Eaton Pub & Grille, which will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary on the same day. The beer will be brewed according to the old English-style recipe Porter himself may have used, said Charlotte Brewing Company brewer Jasson Orbeck.
“It’s going to taste a little different than the Porters people may be used to, but that’s by design,” Orbeck said. “I’ve tried to mimic what he would have been brewing in his time, only with my own flair.”
Owners Terry and Sam Davis were unaware the Charlotte Brewing Company had been used in the past. Terry said he didn’t learn of Henry Porter until receiving a large packet in the mail a few months ago.
By chance, Albert Henry Porter’s great great-granddaughter, Bonnie Walach stopped at Eaton Pub over the summer, driving her father to a 1947 CHS class reunion taking place. After discovering the Charlotte Brewing Company name was again being used, she researched her great great-grandfather’s history, and put together a sizeable amount of information to share with Davis and Orbeck.
“She had the idea to brew and bottle a beer in his name,” Terry said. “I was all for it.”
Davis and Orbeck, who has been Charlotte Brewing Company’s brewer the business opened in 2014, have come up with many different recipes in their five years working together. In fact, Henry James Porter will be Charlotte Brewing Company’s 70th recipe.
“It’s fun to sit around, have a couple beers and think about what we’re going to come up with next,” Orbeck said. “It’s a lot fun arguing back and forth about the names. The whole hobby is a lot of fun.”
With 20 beers on tap, Charlotte Brewing Company always showcases a wide-variety of its brews, and always has seasonal beers on tap.
Orbeck said it’s important to offer a variety, because not everyone likes the same style of beer. First and foremost, however, Orbeck said all Charlotte Brewing Company beers are going to taste like beer. He said some microbrews have gone too far with different flavors leaving the end result as something that doesn’t taste much like beer.
“We’re always going to have a variety on tap,” he said. “As a customer, that’s how I like it.”
In addition to the anniversary release of its new porter, Charlotte Brewing Company is eager to open up its completed patio, which will open when the weather allows, Davis said.
Davis said the patio expansion will afford extra room to increase brewing capacity, which will help keep up with demand. The basement that runs under the new patio will be filled with brewing equipment, as will the old patio that was originally built when Eaton Pub & Grille was first opened.
Charlotte Brewing Company is located at 214 S. Cochran Avenue in downtown Charlotte.