Erlkönig and Harwood Myth: Urban Chestnut’s Storytelling Winter Beers

Thanksgiving is behind us, and the holiday season is in full swing. Winter is making its grand entrance throughout the land, and with it came a couple new beers from Urban Chestnut Brewing Company. These two beers are perfect for cozying up by the fire and storytelling old myths with your family and friends.

Harwood Myth

This English Style Porter is part of Urban Chestnut’s Reverence Series – a tribute to classic European beers…with a little spin of their own. Harwood Myth (5% ABV) is brewed with Fuggles hops as well as Pale Ale, Caramel, and Chocolate malts to give it that deep brown color and roasted malt flavor fit for a porter style beer.

Harwood Myth

But what’s with the name? Well, according to this article, there is a famous beer myth that a man named Ralph Harwood invented the porter style beer for the working or porter class as an alternative for another beer called three threads. Hence the name porter.  However, as much as this tale was told and retold throughout the following years, it was found out to be nothing but a myth. Hence the name Harwood Myth.


This Pale Wheat Dopplebock is from Urban Chestnut’s Revolution Series – a tribute to the craft tradition of brewing “artisanal modern American beers.” As you could guess from the name of this beer style, it has a pale gold color and is brewed with Wheat malts. Erlkönig (8.3% ABV) is also brewed with German Pilsner and Munich malts as well as Cascade and Hersbrucker hops.


As the brewers describe it,

This beer is sweet, soothing, and a deceptive delight. So much so that it may deceive thy sight. Heed the warning of where this beer gets its name, and do not aspire to Elf King fame. It is better to resist the lure of Goethe’s poem and to hold tightly to a loved one who will lead you home.

This description brought me to wonder, again, what’s in a name? Well upon doing a little research, I found and read the poem Erlkönig by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (poor kid, imagine learning to write that name in school!). Of course, there are various translations available (some literal, some adaptations to fit the poem’s style, rhythm, and rhyme), but this version will give you the basic idea. It’s actually a bit spooky and dark, but nonetheless interesting and entertaining.

For those of you who are more visual, I also found this video that puts the poem to music (albeit in German) and depicts the story. Read the translation, then watch the video; it will put the story together for you!

I hope you enjoy these beers as much as I did upon sampling them! Plus, now you know a bit more about where porters came from and the myth behind their inventor from Harwood Myth. Not to mention, you have a good story to share over an Erlkönig at your next holiday gathering. It’s sure to keep everyone occupied and quiet…at least for a little while. So go grab some Harwood Myth and Erlkönig, gather your friends and family, and enjoy!

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