Thursday, 9 August 2012


My time in Leeds last week wasn't all spent mourning the demise of one of my favourite breweries. I got to eat a curry, too. Just joking. There were other beer elements to my stay.

I didn't drink any Tetley's. I only had one chance, in the Scarborough Hotel. But I bottled it and went for something else. After all, it it wasn't brewed in Leeds, it isn't proper Tetley's. At least in my book. And it was only Bitter. Had it been Mild, no doubt I would have succumbed to temptation.

While I may not have drunk any of their beer, I did get to look at some of Tetley's brewing records. There's an excellent set in the West Yorkshire Archives. Pretty much a full set from 1844 to 1948. I didn't have time to look at them all, but I did get something from every decade. They're a weighty club With which I'll be beating you into submission over the coming months. I'll be starting my assualt with a few gentle blows today.

Beer names, more specifically brewhouse names can be tricky little devils. Especially matching them up with their real-world names. With Tetley, there's an extra level of complication. They used characters which don't exist for names. I'd try to explain, but why with fumble with words when pictures can do the job so much better?

Instead of the usual multiple X naming convention, they've gone for an X with a different number of lines through it. Except that there is an XX. Brilliant. Exactly how am I going to put those beer names into my spreadsheet? I'm still pondering that question.

While we're on the topic of brewhouse names, I've noticed something with their Pale Ale. It's called PA in the logs, but I keep finding adverts for a Tetley beer called East India Pale Ale. PA is the only candidate in the logs for EIPA. Yet another example of the inconsistency in the use of the terms PA and IPA.

First impressions are that Tetley brewed quite a lot of Pale Ale in the second half of the 19th century, but not much Porter and Stout. Which I guess isn't that much of a surprise. Predictably, the majority of their output was different strengths of Mild Ale.

I'll be back with more details of the beers themsleves soon.


Arctic Alchemy said...

Those look more like alchemical symbols than anything else, look forward to the Tetley stuff, especially the mid 19th century records.

Ron Pattinson said...

Chris, hopefully I'll have time to look through them soon. I've already made a start on the ones from the 1850's.

Anonymous said...

How about X1, X2, X3 and so on depending on the number of crosses through the Xs?

Ron Pattinson said...


that's not a bad idea. Why didn't I think of that. Come to think of it, they did have a beer called 4.

But what about the one like an asterisk? Should I call that X?