Monday, 3 February 2014

Hoare Mild Ale quality 1922 - 1925

Hoare's Red Lion Brewery was another very old one, founded in 1492*. It was located on Lower East Smithfield (now called St. Katherine's Way) just to the East of St. Katherine's Dock.

It was another of the big 18th-century Porter breweries, though it was never quite in the Premier League. Its output peaked at 97,600 barrels in 1796**, when it ranked 6th amongst London brewers. After that, production fell and by 1830 it was down to 57,073 barrels***.

Charrington bought the Red Lion Brewery in 1933 and ended brewing there in 1934*. Charrington nicked Hoare's Toby jug trademark, which they used even after their brewery on Mile End Road had closed.

The brewery must have been demolished soon after closure because the site is now occupied by what looks like a 1930's block of flats.

Not long ago I bought a history of Hoare, which was published recently. Quite odd to write the history of a brewery 70-odd years after it had closed. I really should fish some more historical salmon from it. But, you know what it's like, you start 30 projects and have little time for reading.

You can see that they were another brewery with a relatively weak X Ale. Milds of this strength sold for 6d a pint in 1922, dropping to 5d in 1923 when the tax was lowered from 100 shillings to 80 shillings per standard barrel. Milds in the low 1040's sold for a penny more a pint.

Hoare Mild Ale quality 1922 - 1923
Year Beer FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation Appearance Flavour Score
1922 X 1007 1033.9 3.44 78.17% not bright poor -1
1922 X 1008 1033.5 3.31 76.12% bright fair 1
1922 X 1009 1034.3 3.31 74.34% bright fair 1
1922 X 1010 1033.2 2.98 69.28% bright fair 1
1922 X 1011 1034 2.97 67.65% bright fair 1
1923 X 1012 1034 2.84 64.71% bright v fair 2
1923 X 1012 1034.3 2.91 65.60% bright thin -2
1923 X 1010 1033 2.98 69.70% fairly bright American wood -3
1923 X 1009 1033.7 3.17 72.70% not quite bright v fair 2
1923 X 1009 1034.1 3.24 73.31% bright fair 1
Average 0.30
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

They seem to have the brilliancy of their Mild sorted out, because there's only one that wasn't bright.

Flavourwise they don't fare quite so well, with three out of ten getting a negative score. I love the way "American wood" is used as a serious flaw. British brewers didn't usually use American oak because of the flavour the wood imparted to the beer it contained. One exception was Guinness, but they only brewed Porter and Stout where any taint would be much less noticeable.

Hoare is another brewery to get a small positive average. This is going to be really close.

* "A Century of British Breweries Plus" by Norman Barber, 2005, page 86.

** “The Brewing Industry in England 1700-1830”, Peter Mathias, 1959, p 551-552.

*** Whitbread brewing log, document LMA/4453/D/09/023.


Phil said...

How do you know 'American wood' was being cited as a serious flaw? It would have been a flaw, certainly, but would it be right down to a -3 on your scale?

Ron Pattinson said...


because of what I've read in technical publications. They all unequivocally say American oak spoiled everything other than Porter or Stout.

Alan said...

So that is where it was from. In Ontario in the 1990s you could still buy Toby Charrington, a beer involved in the EP Taylor swap that brought our local brand, Carling, to the UK.

Jeremy Drew said...

This series is making me begin to think that perhaps keg wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Ron, does the Whitbread Gravity book cover other draught beers? Where it can be identified where the sample was from, would it be possible to compare mild/bitter/burton from the same pub?

I am thinking that mild was the style that was abused most by the licensed trade and this would prove that it had an impact on the quality of the product.

I'm convinced that one landlord I worked for was still adding the pull-through (but not slops) to the mild in the mid-eighties.

Ron Pattinson said...


yes, it does include other styles. Which is where I'll be heading once I'm done with Mild.

Only in a few cases is the pub identified. Weirdly, all the named ones were in Deptford.