Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Shore Brewery, Alloa (part four)

I promised you we'd finally get to Calder's sampling cellar. Well here we are, a raging thirst ready to be quenched.

What types of beer can they offer? I wouldn't mind a pint of Mild myself. Or maybe a glass of Twopenny

"After inspecting the maltings, we returned to the brewery, to complete our investigations, and to taste some of the firm's celebrated ales. Messrs. Calder & Co. export largely ; we therefore took the opportunity of examining their "Bee Brand," both in cask and bottle, and were much struck with the fine flavour and beautiful appearance of that beer. We next sampled their great "Home Trade" specialty—viz., their finest quality of pale ale, which constitutes a large and increasing proportion of their business. Although chiefly pale ale brewers, Messrs. Calder & Co. also brew large quantities of stout and mild ale, specimens of which were shown us before leaving. The "Five Guinea Ale," for which the brewery has been celebrated since its foundation, proved highly meritorious, it  being a rich and full-flavoured beverage of considerable gravity."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 4", Alfred Barnard, 1890, page 393 - 394.

I'm spoilt for choice. Except they don't seem to have any Twopenny. Funny that.

Pale Ale. Why does that never get a mention when Scottish beer is discussed? It was one of the specialities of Scottish brewers and the basis of the fortunes of most successful - William Younger, Geroge Younger, Clader, etc. Is it because it doesn't fit with the romantic fantasy of the Highlands and hop-shy Scottish Ales?

Once again the Scottish penchant for naming beers after their price is apparent. Though this time it's guineas rather than shillings. Why hads no-one ever written an article abouty the guinea system? No reason, really. Probably just never realised itexisted. Though, like the shilling system, it wasn't limited to just Scotland.

Here are some English beers, culled from old price lists, with guinea in their name:

Brewery Town Year Beer price per gallon
Queens Brewery Sheffield 1902 Guinea Ale 1s 2d
Waltham Bros. London 1898 The Half Guinea Ale 1s 2d
Flower & Sons Stratford-on-Avon 1890 Bitter Beer (or Guinea Ale) 1s 2d
Star Brewery Co. Ltd. Cambridge 1890 10 Guinea Ale (vatted)
Benskin & Co Watford 1887 No 2 Guinea Ale 1s 2d
Lucas & Co, the Leamington Brewery Leamington 1912 PA Guinea Ale 1s 2d

I'll be straight with you. Only the vatted 10 Guinea Ale looks similar to the Scottish Guinea Ales. The others all appear to be Light Bitters. The price of 1s 2d per gallon implies an OG of 1050º to 1055º. Or one step up from AK.

That's Calder done. Where should I turn mty attention next? Edinburgh? Or maybe Falkirk? Let me know if you have any preference.


BryanB said...

But - Guinea Ale and Half-Guinea Ale the same price? And why 18 gal a Guinea - was 18 gal a significant volume?


Ron Pattinson said...

BryanB, I hadn't thought about that.

The guinea clearly refers to the price of a kilderkin. Strange, because in England prices were usually quoted for a 36-gallon barrel.

No idea what the Half-Guinea name refers to. Unless it's the price of a firkin.

BryanB said...

Doh!! Of course it's for a kil - sorry, a bit of brain-fade there.

At 1s2d a gal, the half-guinea was also 1Gn/kil - unless Flowers sold it by 9gal firkins.

And as for the 10 Guinea Ale....

Barm said...

Edinburgh pubs are full of old mirrors proclaiming that this or that brewery made mild and pale ales. It's a primary source right there on the wall — why does nobody pay attention to this?

EdG said...

Were Scottish pale ales and milds different in general than English pale ales and milds? Maybe Scottish ales were written about just because they were another type of beer and thus added something new to talk about. Speculation, of course.

Maybe the Shilling system was written about because you see beers still named with it today, but the Guinea system is not used. Out of sight, out of mind?

Ron Pattinson said...

Barm, good point.

Ron Pattinson said...

EdG, I've not been able to see any significant difference between Scottish Pale Ales and Milds and the English versions. At least not in the 19th century.