Monday, 11 July 2011

Drogheda Ale again

Just a few other scraps about Drogheda Ale I've scavenged from the floor.

"Battersby's Registry for the whole world", 1851, pagepage 566.

Funny how the two beers mentioned - Drogheda Ale and Guinness XX Porter are the very beers analysed by the Royal Dublin Society. It's a measure of the stature of Drogheda Ale in the middle of the 19th century.

This short text gives some idea of the fame of Drogheda and Castlebellingham Ale, 

"Our hour wore on rapidly, and it was with regret I left the manufactory, and once again sauntered down the avenue. Shall I confess it, the next five minutes saw us ensconced in a shady arbour of a village auberge, idly drinking the white "Bière de Strasbourg" — the name of which had attracted our attention, and whose merits we were now discussing with surprising zest and eagerness. Burton, Bass, Drogheda, Castlebellingham, and a dozen other ales and beers were debated with all the warmth of Irishmen; and now, quietly remembering the pretty arbour, with its clustering green loaves, the odd hostess, and her high cap, and the animated group, I am tempted to laugh at the recollection, of how strenuously we abused the production of Strasbourg, and yet ended by finishing all the bottles placed before us."
"The Northern magazine, March 1852 - February 1853", 1853,page 41.

But what the hell was white Bière de Strasbourg? Some sort of Witbier?

William Makepeace Thackeray seemed quite impressed with Drogheda Ale, too:

"Of one part of its manufactures every traveller must speak with gratitude—of the ale namely, which is as good as the best brewed in the sister kingdom. Drogheda ale is to be drunk all over Ireland in the bottled state: candour calls for the acknowledgment that it is equally praiseworthy in draught. And while satisfying himself of this fact, the philosophic observer cannot but ask why ale should not be as good elsewhere as at Drogheda: is the water of the Boyne the only water in Ireland whereof ale can be made?"
"The works of William Makepeace Thackeray, Volume 14" by William Makepeace Thackeray, 1869 , pages 263 - 264.

More about Drogheda Ale to follow, I hope.


Oblivious said...

Here is something on Bière de Strasbourg, it looks it may be about the brewing process.

Looks like it was a lower alcohol are around 2.5-4% according to the second reference

An here

The Beer Nut said...

I would assume that the "water of the Boyne" remark makes as much sense as other commentators talking about Liffey and Thames water being used for brewing. Am I right in thinking no urban brewery actually used river water for brewing?

Oblivious said...

I wounder was Drogheda ale the Irish equivalent of Burton ale

Ron Pattinson said...

Oblivious, thanks for the links. Based on the strengths given for Porter, Burton and Edinburgh Ales, that looks like ABW. So that would make Bière de Strasbourg about 3 to 5% ABV. Quite weak by British standards of the time.

Ron Pattinson said...

Beer Nut, not in the last 200 years.

Oblivious said...

"Am I right in thinking no urban brewery actually used river water for brewing?"

I think some London brewers in the 19thc where switched over to using "New river water'(aqueduct) even when it was been marked at Thames water

Even fullers stopped using their own wells at the start of the 20th Century due to contamination

Martyn Cornell said...

The New River is a man-made watercourse that brings spring and (from the Lea) river water from Hertfordshire to supply North East London: it was built in the 17th century, and Whitbread certainly used it at one time to brew porter with, as did, I believe, other breweries on the north side of the City, but it's not "river water" in the strict sense of the word.

Ron Pattinson said...

Oblivious, "I wonder was Drogheda ale the Irish equivalent of Burton ale?"

Sounds to me like it was.