How World War I Changed Pub Culture, and Beer Itself

Discussion in 'Article Comments' started by BeerAdvocate, Aug 1, 2019.

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  1. BeerAdvocate

    BeerAdvocate Admin (16,842) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts

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  2. VoxRationis

    VoxRationis Poo-Bah (2,413) Dec 11, 2016 New York
    Society Trader

    Given the U boat derived threat to British imports and subsequent food shortages, DORA can only be seen as a measured, if at times quirky, approach to resource management. Remember that slightly more than 3 months after the Armistice (on January 17, 1920), the Volstead act came into force, creating the legal framework for enforcement of the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the manufacture and sale of most alcoholic beverages, and virtually wiping out the entire legal beer trade. I might add, the same interests that prohibited alcohol championed the 16th Amendment, establishing a Federal income tax, instituted to some degree as a substitute for lost alcohol tax revenues. That has been in place for more than 100 years and will never go away. I'd prefer slightly weaker beer.
  3. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,076) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Before the 18th Amendment/National Prohibition and the Volstead Act in the US, there was so-called "wartime prohibition" via the Lever act, which allowed President Wilson to, first, limit the ABV of beer and then prohibit it's manufacture.

  4. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (448) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Interesting. I have two anecdotes fwiw.

    I lived outside Londion in the 80s during the restricted hours period. I recall there were a few exceptions to pub hours. House of Lords and House of Commons being two locations with extended pub hours.

    Publicans often lived above or next door to their business. So expanding the limited open hours might not have been pushed as hard as it may have been by an absentee landlord or business owner. It seemed like a decent job and the hours were tolerable.

  5. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,076) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    My buddy and I did "pub/beer tour" of the UK around the same time. We came to like the mid-day closing period because it gave us time to sober up a bit (and, I guess, do something other than drink). I did make it difficult to find someplace to eat, tho', in some places.

    One of my favorite memories (now fading, and with my friend now deceased...) was staying in a B&B attached to a pub, somewhere in or near Wales. We were drinking with two local women when the publican called "TIME". Maybe we knew of it but the one of the women reminded us that as paying customers at the B&B we weren't beholding to that rule.

    "You guys should keep drinking..."
    "Oh, we can?"
    "No, not 'can' --- 'should'."

    Turns out by "should" she meant we were expected to continue buying beers as B&B customers.

    Now, nearly forty years later, not sure any of that happened, is correct, was really the "tradition" or was even true - maybe it was just a way for us to continue to buy the women beers?:grin:
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  6. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,707) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    @jesskidden In Germany I stayed at a few hotels where they'd lock the front door of the house bar at closing time, but if you were staying at the establishment they would serve you (practically) all night.
  7. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,076) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    When I was a young kid my folks used to visit family friends in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton region of PA which had state Sunday closing laws at the time. The neighborhood tavern's blinds were closed, the neon beer sign off, the front doors locked but the local customers just entered from the back door, walked through the kitchen and went into the bar from the rear so the Stegmaier and Gibbons taps kept flowing... Apparently it was a pretty common scene, based on "Fed Up's" 1961 letter to the editor.
    (I don't know - if I had to trudge through unshoveled sidewalks to go to a bar on Sunday morning for the pierogi brunch special, I'd be pretty pissed if the back door was locked, too! :grin:)
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  8. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Nice to see how Pattinson has pulled this information altogether in a single coherent package. Helps clarify a few things about the origins of the term "session beer" and why the British (and some others who tend to feel the term "session beer" (both then because it was all that was available then and most comman as part of life now) should be used only to refer to a quite low ABV beer.

    (Would have helped to have had this available on the site some years ago when there were some fairly regular "arguments" and heated exchanges between some different groups of BAs. There were some folks who only knew term "session" as used in the context of American English as meaning something like a "Jazz Session." So, of course, it was any ABV is fair game in a drinking session. Then there were other BAs who were quite familiar with the term through being in or having visited Britain (and IIRC corretly the term "session beer" also wound up being still used in that way by some Aussies in OZ). So session beer really meant only low ABV beer for a "Drinking Session."

    Not surprisingly for a social media site, as the discussion progressed the thread devolved from what started out as a reasonably civil discussion into random vitriolic comments and exchanges as different positions hardend. IIRC one or more of those threads had to be shut down by the moderators.
  9. marquis

    marquis Champion (803) Nov 20, 2005 England

    I remember going for a Sunday morning walk with friends, we arrived at a pub at 11.50 on a Sunday morning. After cleaning our boots we waited till 12 for the pub to open. We heard the bolts slide back, the doors opened and we went in.
    It was full of drinkers with half drunk pints. They knew about the back door.
    Actually, back then you could often find a pint at any time if you knew where to go.
  10. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Thanks, I did not know that directly before but I find I am not surprised a single bit since the pub has been such an integral part of the life of rural communities and local neighborhoods in large cities. This is why I once argued that the time is way overdue for CAMRA to shift its focus from the real ale itself to preserving the local character of neighbors and friends gathering for an evening together. One victory deserves taking on a second larger and more challenging change.

    Afterthough, in case you didn't already know I have been to Notts and one of your really nice and most historic pubs.
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  11. marquis

    marquis Champion (803) Nov 20, 2005 England

    I wonder which Nottingham pub that was.
    It's a good beer city and not only the most CAMRA members of any branch but holds the world's biggest real ale beer festival in terms of the number of different beers Over 1000 which takes some doing.
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  12. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Oh sorry, but now I remember in the last 10-11 years I've never really said.

    I'm at a profession meeting in the area. If you were in Notts as a local host of such a group, the one pub you'd want your visiting out of country colleagues to experience, not just see but experiance and spend some time "schmoozing," I'd bet dollars to donuts Ye Olde Trip would be at, or near, the top of your list of possible choices.
  13. Shanex

    Shanex Poo-Bah (1,625) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Moderator Society Trader

    Can't speak for German hotels but to add to previous posts here, I've indeed had on more than one occasion the... 'privilege' to keep sipping on my pint, and even have a few more at the bar that normally closed by 8pm. As you described, front door locked so to prevent any unwanted attention (police...) and you somehow had to be a regular or someone from my town to be allowed that. Probably not legal per se. My wild youth is behind me too, and I don't hang out much in bars too late anymore but I'm sure that sort of stuff is still a thing.
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  14. maddogruss

    maddogruss Meyvn (1,186) Nov 4, 2006 New Jersey

    If “Fed Up” is so concerned about her kids seeing her husband, why not bring them to the bar!
  15. russpowell

    russpowell Poo-Bah (10,343) May 24, 2005 Arkansas
    Society Trader

    afterhours as welll
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  16. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (566) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    Brewing in WW I is one of my specialist subjects. I've even written a whole book about it, Armistice!
  17. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    I didn’t know the book, but given collateral knowledge gaps can be filled in. More can come from things that happen while enjoying the generous hospitality of friends during a visit to the U.K.... (curiosity about how the past shaped the future also helps... a bit of nosiness doesn’t hurt either.. :slight_smile:)
  18. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (566) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    It's one of my writings I'm most proud of. Not sold a whole number of copies, but I don't really care about that. Getting the information out there is what matters to me.
  19. eppCOS

    eppCOS Meyvn (1,473) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    Kudos @patto1ro ! I'll have to look up the book, see if i can acquire locally.... Question: on what page does Wonder Woman make it into the book? Sorry, had to do it. But I'll check out Armistice before the miseries of the academic semester take over.
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  20. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    And having some not entierly different professional experience I'd also suggest gives you great satisfaction to know you've solved a puzzle even if nobody else listens. Recognition of the success by others become simply frosting on the cake and sometimes brings a blush or glow of satisfaction, sometimes both.
  21. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (566) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    You can order Armistice from my blog.
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  22. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    I'm speaking here book unread. Lots of collateral information suggests to me that the book, in small doses at a time, will be a great antidote to those miseries. Trust me on this one. It's a significant, structured look at some otherwise unwritten history that helps with understand lots of things about that era and's effects forward in time. (It's signficant if only because I've never heard of anything that pulls it altogether.)
  23. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (566) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    Pulling everything together is what I do.
    If everyone just bought one of my books, I might not end my days in penury.
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  24. Claude-Irishman

    Claude-Irishman Defender (673) Jun 4, 2015 New Jersey

    That is life. War especially changes the status quo of almost everything. It all worked out in the early nineties when there was the golden elixir call "Goldshlager" 109 proof. I was enthralled with this cinnamon elixir with actual gold flakes in the bottle. Most bars in NJ Banned it, and they eventually lowered the proof to about 80- Fun Times-
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  25. EmperorBevis

    EmperorBevis Poo-Bah (6,493) Sep 25, 2011 England
    Moderator Society

    It wasn't just Opening times that the UK Defence of the Ream act changed, unaltered to 1988 I think, but also pale ale and bitter abv strengths becoming the still fairly standard 3.5-4.2%.

    I'm sure someone from Belgium said of brewing coppers being taken by the occupying German army to contribute to the Kaiser's war machine!
  26. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,499) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I always thought Pa’s blue laws on Sunday were ridiculous, and for us irrelevant, we simply drove a mile and a half into Trenton and had a good time. We were doing that at 16-17 and no one gave a shit, if you had money, behaved yourself it was cool. Too bad too those were the days I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.
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