Not your gaoler, then,
But your kind hostess. Hermione
We are a malt-worm ourself; we oftentimes do homage to stout Sir John Barleycorn, and, whenever it falls in our way, scruple not
" to take our part Of jolly good ale and old."
For a nip of Burton we have no affection ; Edinburgh is our abomination ; our palate loathes the town-made trash termed ale: but a tankard of bright, old, sound, mellow October is, to us, a most delectable draught. Lord Byron loved not a full pot better than we do a pewter of—that poetry of porter—good brown stout. One of the best places within the bills of mortality to obtain it in perfection is the Brace, in Banco Regis. If the amateur of heavy wet should call upon some luckless wight in Abbott's Priory, or go there to see Pitman, the prince of racket-players, display his agility and skill at the bat and ball, we recommend him, by all means, to take beer at the Brace.
Many years ago, this tavern was kept by two brothers, of the name of Partridge, and thence arose its singular title. We should suppose, that there is not a house within the bills of mortality which can boast of so large a consumption of stout. Its custom is not confined to the prisoners ; people from all parts of the neighbourhood resort to it, on account of the excellent quality of its heavy wet. Here the evening visitor may meet with a most strange set of characters; but without the help of a by-stander, who has been long a resident in the Bench, he cannot sufficiently enjoy the scene. Should you be acquainted with any gentleman, who has for some time been incarcerated here, on suspicion of being guilty of debt, make him your Ciceroni for an hour, and take a glance at the living curiosities of the place. You must, remember, go early, or you will see but little ere the night-bell rings for the departure of the visitors : do not tarry long at those private public houses, the whistling shops; their liquors, which are smuggled in under the petticoat, are generally execrable—eschew them as much as possible ; but fail not to drop in at the Brace before you depart, and there acquaint your palate with the grateful flavour of real brown stout."
"Every night book, or, Life after dark" By William Clarke, 1827, pages 51-53.
The description "luscious Burton—almost innocent of hops" clearly isn't referring to Pale Ale, but the Strong Ale for which Burton was initially famous.
The pub seems to have been pretty famous. It also gets a metion in the 1811 "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue":
The Brace tavern; a room in the S.E. corner of the King's Bench, where, for the convenience of prisoners residing thereabouts, beer purchased at the tap-house was retailed at a halfpenny per pot advance. It was kept by two brothers of the name of Partridge, and thence called the Brace."
Mmm. The Brace Tavern seems to have been inside a prison. Who says 19th century justice was inhumane?