You can see that we have here an 8d per pint (falling to 7d in 1923) Ordinary Bitter. It's almost spot on in its specs for an average beer of its type. Which was around 1046, 4.8% ABV and 80% apparent attenuation. I think that's a clear indication that Whitbread wasn't the only brewery keeping a close eye on its competitors.
It's noticeable that Whitbread took many more samples in times of uncertainty and change. There are loads from the early and mid 1920's, when British beer was starting to take its post-war form. There's a lull at the end of the 1920's when things had stabilised, then loads 1931 to 1934 when a tax increase caused chaos in brewing.
Anyway, let's look at City of London's Pale Ale:
|City of London Pale Ale quality 1922 - 1925|
|1922||PA||1008.2||1045.7||4.89||82.06%||bright||rather bitter, fair||1||8d|
|1923||PA||1010.3||1045.8||4.62||77.51%||hazy||not quite sound||-1||8d|
|1925||PA||1010||1044||4.42||77.27%||fairly bright||v. fair||2||7d|
|1925||PA||1010||1044||4.42||77.27%||fairly bright||v fair||2||7d|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001|
The contrast with the other beers of theirs we've looked at is considerable. Though clarity is a problem again, just five of thirteen samples were fully bright. Ten, however, got positive scores for flavour, with none worse than a minus one.
I can't help wondering if they brewed the Pale Ale themselves or, like Courage, got it from elsewhere.
The advice for time travellers is simple: stick to Bitter in City of London Brewery's pubs.