OK, it's a question I've asked myself. A bit rhetorically, admittedly. Until I discovered the Whitbread Gravity Book. Because in the early years they didn't just note down the vital statistics of a beer. They also commented on its appearance and flavour.
Life's a funny thing. I never imagined a few years back that I'd be writing at such length about Watney's Mild. But I am. What will I be doing in ten years' time? Probably pushing up daisies.
Where was I? The quality of Watney's Mild. That was it. And its quality or lack of it. Let's look at appearance first. There's only one which wasn't bright and another which was pale in colour. That last one also has a gravity higher than any of the others. I wonder if some Bitter slops had been poured into it?
As for flavour, there's only one that's out and out bad - "curious flavour". Three are "only fair" which I guess means just about acceptable. I happen to know which pubs the two "only fair" from 1923 came from: Queens Arms and Admiral Napier in Deptford. Neither seems to still exist. At least not under the same name.
|Watney's Mild Ale quality 1922 - 1925|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001|
A positive score, using my system of 13 to +3, implies a reasonable degree of consistency.
My verdict? Watney's was generally in reasonable condition in the 1920's. Phew, that's a relief. No need to dodge their pubs when I take a day trip to the 1920's.