Thursday, 27 September 2007

Worthington bottled beers 1944 - 1967

Just for variety, today it's Worthington's turn. But don't worry: I'll get back to Whitbread soon.

For a change, one of the beers listed here is still avaialble - White Shield. Like Bass with their Red and Green Triangle, Worthington had a filtered (Green Shield) and unfiltered (White Shield) version of the IPA. In the book there's a comment saying that the Export Stout was naturally-conditioned. Perhaps the Imperial Stout, also called White Shield, was bottle-conditioned, too.

Bass and Worthington were widely available in the pubs of other breweries, who often bottled them. They seem to have been about the only companies still producing much over 4% ABV. That could explain the wider distribution of their beers.

Note the extremely high degree of attenuation of some of the IPAs - over 90% in some cases.


Steve said...

I did notice that attenuation. Suggests they didn't use anything other than pretty well modified ale malt. No crystal.
Was also intrigued by the low OGs of some of the Whitbread IPAs. And here we are indoctrinated to think that IPA=6+% abv. Or was this just a glitch due to the economic circumstances of the era?

Ron Pattinson said...

I assume there was also a fair amount of sugar used.

The Whitbread IPA's are actually typical for the style. It's the Worthington ones that are untypical. Like other British styles, IPA changed considerably over time. In the the 19th century it was 6% ABV or more. Then again, Mild was between 5.5% and 8% ABV and Guinness 7.5% ABV at that time. Around WW I, IPA became a low-gravity Bitter, weaker than Pale Ale.

It makes me smile when people accuse Greene King IPA of not being an authentic IPA. In my opinion it is. It's true to the style as it has been brewed in Britain for about 100 years. It's not an authentic 19th-century style IPA. But if you judge British beers by this criterion, then the only authentic beers brewed in Britain are Harvey's Imperial Stout, Sarah Hughes Ruby Mild, Hardy Ale and Whitbread Gold Label.

Why insist that IPA be brewed like it was in 1850 but not other styles? It would be equally true to say that Guinness isn't an authentic Extra Stout, that Young's isn't an authentic Bitter and that Bateman's isn't an authentic Mild.

I could equally argue that American IPA's aren't authentic because they are too bitter, use the wrong sort of hops and aren't attenuated enough. That's if I were to decide that the 1850's English version of IPA is the "authentic" one.