Mann started off as a modestly-sized Ale brewery, but grew rapidly in the course of the 19th century. By the start of WW I it out-produced all of the large Porter breweries except for Whitbread.
|Mann output 1850 - 1913|
|"The British Brewing Industry, 1830-1980" T. R. Gourvish & R.G. Wilson, pages 610-611.|
To have grown in the years 1900 to 1913 is particularly impressive. They were difficult years for the brewing industry, with consumption falling and taxation rising.
Mann's Albion Brewery was built speculatively by Richard Ivory, landlord of the Blind Beggar pub, in 1808. It was initially leased by John Hoffman but he struggled to make it past and was declared bankrupt in 1818. The lease went up for auction and was bought by Philip Betts Blake, who had been brewing at the Strandbridge brewery in Lambeth. He transferred operations to the Albion Brewery at the same time changing the name of the firm from P. Blake and Co. to Blake and Mann. James Mann was a brewer and the partner of Blake.*
Like several other London brewers, Mann also owned a brewery in Burton. Which means there's a good chance the beers in the table weren't brewed in London. Truman brewed mist of their Pale Ales in Burton, but did brew an Ordinary Bitter at Brick Lane. Mann might have done something similar but, judging by the high gravity, I'd put money on these having been Burton-brewed.
This is an example of a 9d/8d Pale Ale, or Best Bitter. The high degree of attenuation means that it's the strongest of all the Pale Ales sampled, even though its gravity is very similar to other beers of the same class.
Mann scored very well for the other beer types we've looked at. Its Mild came first with a score of 1.33 and its Burton joint second with 1.25.
|Mann Pale Ale quality 1922 - 1925|
|1922||PA||1012||1059||6.13||79.66%||rather grey||v good||3||9d|
|1923||PA||1007.6||1053.6||6.01||85.82%||hazy||very dark not nice||-3||9d|
|1925||PA||1007.6||1042.1||4.49||81.95%||bright||sour and without character||-3||8d|
|1925||PA||1009.4||1054.9||5.94||82.88%||bright||good but highly hopped||1||8d|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001|
This is a much poorer showing from Mann. Only five of fourteen examples were bright. That so few were clear is no longer a surprise - it's a trend we've seen across all breweries and all styles. Exactly half of the examples had a positive score for flavour. And three get a maximum score of three . . . but there are the same number with the worst possible score.
Again there's no correlation between clarity and quality. Two with the best flavour were "grey" and a really bad one was bright.
* "Albion Brewery 1808 - 1958" by Hurford Janes, 1958, pages 10 - 14, 26 - 27.