Monday, 21 February 2011

Australian IPA

This is a strange one. For a couple of reasons.

See what you think:


"I knew a brewer in New South Wales, who prepared 700 hogsheads of Australian ale for the London market. He was an honest old man, but he confided the management of his business to a money-making relation, who was as needy as he was greedy, and who paid little attention, at least to this particular brewing. The consequence was, that the ale was returned as unfit for use. 'Throw it away," said the old man himself; "if it won't drink in London, it can't drink here. Empty the hogsheads directly!" factotum however, thought differently, and thought very correctly, — for he was a superior judge of tastes, — that what would not drink in London, or in his own neighbourhood, would drink very well in India: accordingly, his master being quite ignorant of his intention, this damaged beer was, by a certain chemical operation, transformed into pale ale,—fine pale ale for the Indian market,—and through the aid of a puff or two in the Indian journals, went off well. I know this for fact, as I directed the despatch of the hogsheads myself."—Corr. Englishman, Aug. 25.
"The Asiatic journal and monthly miscellany, Volume 25" 1838, page 88.

I'm aware that there was a great deal of intercontinental trade in the 19th century, but I'm amazed that beer was being shipped from Australia to Britain. I thought the beer trade was all the other way around. Especially so early in the century.

What was Australian Ale? What made it particularly Australian? And what on earth could the chemical process be that transformed it into IPA? Did they really ship beer from Australia to India? I suppose it's nothing compared to journey all the way to London.

I suspect this story may be just that: a story.


Lars Marius Garshol said...

> I suspect this story may be just that: a story.

That was my reaction as well. It didn't seem very plausible, and the way it which it is written doesn't exactly have the ring of great authority, either.

Craig said...

Move over Foster's...IPA, Australian fer beeah.

Mike said...

Hey Ron,
Off this topic but..
Matt Thompson posted a link to this on FB, I'm a Manc and remember lots of long gone pubs and breweries.


"They were proud of their ale at Groves & Whitnall's. Their bottled 'C Ale' is descibed as thus: "Burton itself cannot produce anything which, in its class, is superior to our Bitter Beer. Our famous 'C' ale is similar to the best Burton 'Mild'. Our strong Old ale or 'Barley Wine' stands pre-eminent and apart from all others, and our 'Special' Ale in bottle is fittingly described by its title" [1]."