Thursday, 11 November 2010


My beer collection is small. Twice-weekly trips to Ton Overmars keep me topped up with drinking beer. What little else I have is mostly gifts.

Though there's one thing I do have. My own mini beer festival. Beers I've collaborated on. Collaborate. That makes my contribution seem much more important than it really is. I fish a tasty recipe from the archive lake and throw it to a brewer. Theirs is the more difficult part.

De Molen 1914 Porter and SSS; Pretty Things XXXX and KK. Just the Pale Ales to go. PA, AK, IPA (an authentic weak one). Then, once I persuade Dolores to replace all our furniture, I can transform our front room into an Edwardian pub. Complete with appropriate beers. Not decided about the spittoons yet.

I had hoped someone else would open one. An Edwardian pub. I keep suggesting it, but no-one's bitten. Can't say I blame them. I wouldn't take business advice from me.

Beer festival. That's the answer to the question: what's the next best thing to a pub? Imagine the scene. A small hall filled with historic beers. Divided not by brewery, but by period. To your left, beers from the 1840's. To your right, the 1940's. A dream. Of mine, if not of yours.

I'd organise it myself. Except persuading brewers to supply it would be a nightmare. Then there's the logistics. And on the other hand, my profound laziness.

A lovely dream. One to roll lovingly around my mind, like cognac in a snifter, as golden leaves tumble by the window and clouds suck away the light.

I won't complain if you turn my dream into reality. Not even if you claim it was your idea. (Well. maybe then I'd moan a bit. But only behind your back.)

Anyone see the festive reference in the photo?


Barm said...

You don't want to have it in your own front room. You want to have it in the house across the street, so that one of the kids can run over with a jug and fetch the beer for your dinner.

Gary Gillman said...

Well, there's been an ongoing festival on these pages, so you've done it anyway.

That SSS: I've had one of those. It was opened in an unassuming motel in Ottawa last year or so. It brought immediate vibrancy to my surroundings, shall we say.

What was that black ale by the way? Was it a Black Burton a la Frank Faulkner? It's not denominated stout, so even if K's were sometimes applied to stocked porter, that is not what it was, clearly.


Ron Pattinson said...

the thing next to it is from Luciano Alexei's best friend.

Gary Gillman said...

Alright Ron, you're right, we should do more of the work ourselves. And so I found this explanation re the KK Black Ale:

It's an old Burton, black because sugar imparted the colour, which is very interesting. Note the statement of Pretty Things that the use of sugar is unusual in the States, very true in my experience as well. All-malt has been a shibboleth in the U.S. craft community, properly so in my view except for historical recreations such as this.

I wonder if the black colour came easily to the original brewer in that he was in London. In other words, perhaps it was easy to sell a black old Burton in London since people were accustomed to dark strong porter of quality. Especially since a scant 40 years or so behind 1900 you can find statements solemnly averring the best old Burton to have the palest colour. But no, in the city of porter's birth, they painted it black!


The Rabid Brewer said...

It would be interesting to find a way to integrate some of these ideas with our local Dickens Faire.

Our homebrew club will be resurrecting their homebrew competition this year. It is limited to English styles only and the final table will be judged in Cratchit's Yard next to the 3 Cripples Pub. There are actually 5 "Traditional Pubs" including an Absinthe Bar, but they obviously won't come anywhere close to the traditional you have in mind.

However, I can envision a competition category of only beers brewed from a recipe taken from your site!

Jeff Renner said...

I have been playing around with Brettanomyces claussenii for several years, using it as a secondary fermentation yeast. I think that this is an important part of the flavor of historic beers. It was, of course, not pitched historically, but rather was a part of the mixed culture, from which Claussen isolated it a century ago, and which he was was responsible for the typical English flavor of stock ales.

In July, I brewed 40 liters of Simonds 1880 bitter from the Durden Park booklet, and primed half with sugar and half with Brett. c. from Wyeast. The non-primed bottles have full carbonation and wonderful complexity, which continues to develop. The flavors are not at all like the funky Belgian flavors from other Brett. species.

I now wish that I had used it in all of the bottles, as well as in the SSS I brewed later in the summer.

I used a culture from WhiteLabs before and I think I prefer the Wyeast, although I'm not at all certain. I see that Wyeast has just released a mixed "Old Ale" blend that includes B.c.

Have any of the historic recreations you are involved with used Brett?