Friday, 13 March 2009

Literary feast

When you're an obsessive, excitement comes in strange forms. Forms that would leave others shuffling away nervously.

Back in the days before beer took over my life, I used to read fiction. Czech and French were my favourites. Someone asked the other day how I learned to read so many languages. Commuting was my answer.

This did have a point. What was it again? Not to worry. I'm bound to remember it before the end of this post.

Barclay Perkins had enigmatic names for their beers. Their Porter, unlike at other London breweries, wasn't called Porter or P. No. At Barclay Perkins Porter was known as TT. Where did that come from? PorTTer? Was it named by a dyslexic brewer?

My reading matter is no longer fiction. Beer book buying binges and Google Books have caught that dead square in the goolies. My literary pretensions are on their knees, ashen-faced and whimpering.

Literary feast? Tonight, I had a meagre supper of Victorian price lists. And what should I find? Another beer called TT. What sort of beer was it? Sixpence a gallon beer. Sixpence a gallon? You rarely find anything under tenpence a gallon. It must have been like workhouse beer.

It doesn't get me any closer to solving the riddle of Barclay Perkins TT. But I do have another TT in my collection. Satisfaction enough for an obsessive.

3 comments:

Gary Gillman said...

http://books.google.com/books?id=Ho4DAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA319&dq=gauger+%2B+beer&lr=#PPA328,M1

Section 9 mentioned on page 328 seems the origin of the T marking. But as to TT, I don't know. One would think (I did at one point) that it meant the stronger of two grades of table beer, but this seems not so if TT is weaker than T beer in the example given. Maybe an in-joke of the brewers? Hard to say.

Gary

P.S. I've now read courtesy you Ron that a low gravity beer has been called Wallop and elsewhere that a version was called Slap. I believe those terms at least to be ironic.

Gary Gillman said...

Another thought: one of TT and T was an ale and the other a beer. Porter's predecessors seem to include beers and/or ales. Stitch was an ale, apparently, for example. And it is known that some London breweries which made table beer specialised in either beer proper or ale.

Gary

Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, Table Beer wasn't so much a style as a strength.

Porter was most deinitely a type of beer, not an ale. It's basically just a medium-strength, brewery-aged Brown Beer.

Kristen brewed a Stitch and he was kind enough to send me a bottle. Interesting stuff, but I'm not sure I could drink more than a couple of glasses of it.