I've been enjoying my (virtual) time in Dorchester. I should maybe drop by the real one sometime. When was I last in the West Country? It must have been the last time I visited Swindon, which was around 20 years ago.
My first impression of this set is: what a lot of beers of 3% ABV or less. I think I understand why there are a few strong beers in the lineup, too: they had to supply something that was intoxicating. You'd have to be very determined to get pissed on most of the standard beers
Let's go through them in alphabetic order by style. Just because I can't be arsed to think of another order. Which means we begin with Dorset Brown Ale. At 1025.5 and not much over 2.5% ABV, they're taking the piss a bit. The Mild has a fractionally higher gravity, but a similarly puny ABV. We'll learn in the next instalment how much (or little) the recipes differed.
Notice the way an IPA has magically appeared? I assume it was introduced in the mid-1950's as a Best Bitter to offset the drop in gravity of, er, their Best Bitter. It's something you see at lots of breweries. With all the stiffing knocked out of their Bitter by the war, many breweries introduced a new, stronger Bitter when the pressure on gravities began to ease in the 1950's.
What did they mean by IPA? Nothing in particular. They jsut needed a name to differentitate it from Best Bitter. They could have gone for Special Bitter, as some Londone breweries did. Or some locality-based like Dorchester Bitter (they used that trick later). But instead they chose IPA. It doesn't imply that it was hoppier or any crap like that. It was just an alternative name for Bitter plucked from the air fairly randomly.
Strong Old Ale and XXXX, I suspect, are the same beer*. I know that I've allocated them different styles, but, hey, as Martyn and I keep saying, there is no definable difference between a Strong Ale and an Old Ale. It seems to be the direct descendent of their 19th-century XXXX. So quite the survivor. I'm not sure if it was bottled, draught or both. Strength-wise, it looks very much like a London Burton of the day.
It brings a tear to my eye to see AK still soldiering on, albeit under the trade name of Crystal. At this time, I think it was exclusively a bottled beer, being sold as Light Ale. It later also made an appeearance as a keg Bitter.
Best Bitter is not really "best" by anyone's definition. But that's what happens to a beer after decades for gravity cuts. I remember that, in my early drinking years, the standard Bitter and Mild of breweries in the West Country were very low, even by British standards. Eldridge Pope's look pretty typical.
BPA is, I assume, a bottled version of IPA. Probably sold as Pale Ale to Crystal's Light Ale.
I'm impressed that they still had two Stouts on their books. Though "Stout" is a bit rich for a beer of just 2.5% ABV, like the Oat Malt Stout. Double Stout is a bit better and might actually have got you tipsy, if you drank enough.
And finally what I would have ordered in one of their pubs, Dorset Special Ale. Mixed with a half of draught Mild it would have given you something with a reasonable poke and some suppability. For the first few pints. A pint or two of straight Dorset Special Ale to finish would have put a nice twist in the walk home.
Here's the table of fun.
|Eldridge Pope beers in 1964|
|Year||Beer||Style||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||lbs hops/ qtr||hops lb/brl||boil time (hours)||boil time (hours)||boil time (hours)||Pitch temp||max. fermen-tation temp||length of fermen-tation (days)|
|1964||Dorset Brown Ale||Brown Ale||1025.5||1006.4||2.53||75.00%||5.77||0.60||1.5||61.5º||68º||8|
|1964||Dorset Brown Ale||Brown Ale||1025.5||1005.5||2.64||78.26%||6.86||0.68||1.5||1.5||61.5º||68.75º||7|
|1964||Strong Old Ale||Old Ale||1051.2||1013.0||5.06||74.59%||5.10||1.04||1.5||1.5||1.5||59º||69º||8|
|1964||BAK (Crystal)||Pale Ale||1030.2||1007.8||2.97||74.31%||5.10||0.61||1.5||1.5||1.5||61.5º||68.75º||7|
|1964||Best Bitter||Pale Ale||1030.2||1007.5||3.00||75.23%||6.72||0.80||1.5||1.5||61.5º||69.5º||8|
|1964||Oat Malt Stout||Stout||1030.2||1009.4||2.75||68.81%||7.78||1.00||1.5||60º||70º||7|
|1964||Oat Malt Stout||Stout||1030.2||1011.6||2.46||61.47%||7.36||0.95||1.5||60º||69º||5|
|1964||Dorset Special Ale||Strong Ale||1074.8||1024.1||6.71||67.78%||5.10||1.52||1.5||1.5||1.5||60º||77.5º||7|
|Eldridge Pope brewing records|
Next time we'll be looking at the grists of these beers.
* On closer observation, this turns out to be bollocks.