Had the brewery closed a couple of decades earlier, they would probably never have brewed a Brown Ale. There's the odd example from before WW I, but it was only in the 1920's that it became a mainstream style and every brewery produced one.
In the early days in particular, Brown Ales were a diverse bunch. It's only after WW II that they mostly became tweaked versions of Dark Mild. Beers like Whitbread Double Brown had no connection at all with Mild. It was brewed single-gyle with a grist unlike any of their other beers. At over 5% ABV, it was also stronger than any interwar Mild. Apart from in the Northeast of England, stronger Brown Ales had pretty much disappeared by 1960.
That's one of the reasons I was so keen to get Pretty Things to brew Double Brown. It looked an interesting beer, unlike any contemporary beer, and I wanted to try it. I wasn't far wrong. It was a lovely beer, especially in cask format.
The first two examples in the table below look like this stronger type of Brown Ale. They certainly have too high an OG to be a slightly modified Mild.
The gravity, unsurprisingly, plummets after 1931 (Snowden's emergency Budget, remember) and by 1933 it looks very much like the classic post-war Brown Ale: a gravity in the low 1030's and an ABV of around 3%.
I'm slightly confused by the draught Brown Ale. For starters, the style was usually exclusively in bottled format. Second, what makes it different from Dark Mild? It has about the same gravity as Hoare's X Ale. Was is really a different beer? As all their brewing records are gone, we will probably never know.
|Hoare Brown Ale 1927 - 1933|
|1930||Nut Brown Ale||7d||pint||bottled||1011.2||1036||3.21||68.89%|
|1931||Nut Brown Ale||pint||bottled||1033|
|1931||Nut Brown Ale||9d||pint||bottled||1010.4||1030||2.53||65.33%|
|1931||Toby Brown Ale||9d||pint||bottled||1009.8||1034.9||3.25||71.92%|
|1933||Golden Brown Ale||8d||pint||bottled||0.05||1007.2||1030||2.96||76.00%|
|1933||Nut Brown Ale||8d||pint||bottled||0.05||1009.4||1032||2.93||70.63%|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001|
|Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252|
Next time we'll look at X Ale, that staple of the public bar. And a beer these Brown Ales were probably often mixed with.