Pickwick Ale

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by fritzfield, Apr 3, 2023.

  1. fritzfield

    fritzfield Devotee (325) Nov 7, 2008 New Hampshire

    Does anyone have a clone recipe? I cannot find anything to help me brew this beer from Boston.
  2. Naugled

    Naugled Pooh-Bah (1,882) Sep 25, 2007 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Harpoon's version or the original?

    I'm not familiar with either, but if you can give a good description of it this forum may be able to crowd source one....
  3. fritzfield

    fritzfield Devotee (325) Nov 7, 2008 New Hampshire

    I have had neither. It's an historical Boston area brew owned by the old narragansett or falstaff breweries, maybe harvard brewery. I'm just interested to see what it may have tasted like.
  4. moodenba

    moodenba Pooh-Bah (1,833) Feb 2, 2015 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Looks like Pickwick was brewed by Haffenreffer in Boston until '65. Narragansett took over the brands, but was about the same time taken over by Falstaff. I think you're going to have a hard time getting a good idea of the Haffenreffer original. If the brand survived the takeovers, it was probably just a clone of a Narragansett product.
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  5. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Maven (1,271) Nov 10, 2010 Virginia

    Enjoyed this brew back in the early 70s.
    Quite flavorful on par with Ballantine IPA.

    FWIW ... recipe courtesy Bard.

    The Pickwick Ale recipe produced by the Narragansett Brewery is a traditional English Pale Ale. It is a light-bodied, golden beer with a slightly hoppy flavor. The recipe calls for the following ingredients:
    • 5 lbs. 2-row pale malt
    • 1 lb. crystal malt
    • 1 oz. Fuggles hops (60 minutes)
    • 1 oz. East Kent Goldings hops (15 minutes)
    • Yeast (Wyeast 1098 or White Labs WLP004)
  6. jesskidden

    jesskidden Grand Pooh-Bah (3,071) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I'd say in the 1970s Pickwick Ale, along with another Narragansett-brewed ale, Croft Ale (originally from Boston's Croft Brewing Co. which NBC took over in the early 1950s), were closer to the Ballantine XXX Ale coming out of the RI brewery as far as ABV and color, etc. are concerned (sometimes Pickwick struck me as even more fragrant than XXX), as well as price. I only saw both in 16 oz. returnable bottles (and bought them whenever I did see them :grin: - a trip to New England wasn't complete without a case of one or the other in the vehicle on the way home). They were probably in the $6-8/cs range?

    I've since seen cans and T/A bottles (empties) at breweriana shows, etc, so they were around at some point.

    Ballantine India Pale Ale out of Cranston OTOH was much darker, more alcoholic, aged much longer (7-9 months) and, by the end of the decade, much more expensive ($5/six) than their other ales.

    Harpoon has since brewed a Pickwick Ale - no idea how close it comes to the 'Gansett-brewed or earlier versions.

    Draught Pickwick Ale, along with a Pickwick Dark*, were supposedly available around Boston, but I never found them. (* A lot of NE bars back then used have a tap handle marked just "Bavarian", which was usually the dark version of the AAL they had on tap.) The Falstaff Narragansett facility also brewed Old Tap Ale, Narragansett Ale and Krueger Cream Ale in the 1970s, but never came across them, either. Narragansett Porter was, after Stegmaier's, probably the most common Porter in the US - at least, as far as distribution area and availability went. (Yuengling was still pretty small at the time).
    #6 jesskidden, Apr 13, 2023
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2023
  7. fritzfield

    fritzfield Devotee (325) Nov 7, 2008 New Hampshire

  8. YourBeerRunner

    YourBeerRunner Aspirant (212) May 3, 2022

    Very interesting, jesskidden