Who thought spontaneous fermentation was unique to Belgium? It wasn’t, and lasted well into the 19th century in other parts of Europe. I’m not talking about Gose or another sour wheat style, but about one of the strangest beers brewed in recent times: Danziger Joppenbier.
In the 18th century, there were three tax classes in England (in descending order of strength): Strong, Table and Small. The definition of these classes was very simple, as it was based on the wholesale price.
At London’s Partizan Brewing, each label starts with the same idea—characters and objects shaping letters that spell the name of the beer, a technique that’s been part of artist Alec Doherty’s work for a while.
Pale Stout sounds like a contradiction in terms. But if Black India Pale Ale can exist, why not Pale Stout? Going back to the original meaning of Stout, it’s not as daft as it first appears. Stout only acquired its definition as a specific type of dark, hoppy beer in the early 19th century.
What’s slightly surprising to see in old British newspapers is that the strongest Mild is called “Imperial.” Especially as I’ve been calling XXXX Ale “Imperial Mild” for a while now. I thought I was just making it up. Once again, history has proved that there’s almost nothing genuinely new.
Britain was a latecomer to the lager party. Everyone knows that. But the story is more complicated—and goes back further—than you might imagine. Lager made two arrivals in Britain, each some 30 years apart.
Fuller’s brewed two Burtons in the 1930s, Burton Old and Old Burton Extra. OBE didn’t quite have the gravity of Barclay’s KKKK, but it was still a very potent 7.4 percent alcohol by volume. Burton’s popularity quickly dropped off after World War II, but OBE struggled on until 1969.
In 1852, Samuel Allsopp brewed a strong beer for Captain Belcher’s expedition to the Arctic. A beer that wouldn’t freeze easily was pretty handy. With all that alcohol, it must have warmed the sailors up, too. Who needs a fire when you’ve an 11-percent ABV beer?
Beer didn’t always take a back seat to wine. In the 19th century, British brewers were powerful people. The ales that made us famous, such as Porter, Strong Stout and India Pale Ale, ruled export markets every bit as much as Britannia ruled the waves.
In the 19th century, Pale Ales were matured for months before sale. The gap between mash tun and glass could be more than a year. And not just the beer shipped to India; Pale Ale in a pub in Britain could be just as old as the IPA in Bombay.
Ichabod Pumpkin Ale causes trademark dispute; Miller-Coors buys minority stake in Terrapin Brewing; Pakistan may begin exporting beer; Wells & Young’s acquires McEwan’s and Younger’s; and Smuttynose moves forward with expansion plans.
The Germans have discovered the nanobrewery. These nanobreweries consist of a tiny kit, typically operating in a cellar, kitchen or shed, in which beer is made in tiny runs of as little as 50 liters a go, for commercial sale.
The UK-based organization CAMRA champions the sale of cask-conditioned “real ale.” And every year, Edinburgh-native and CAMRA chairman Colin Valentine crosses the pond to attend the New England Real Ale Exhibition.