The W's start with Watney, probably the most notorious of the capital's breweries. In the 1920's it was one of Britain's largest breweries. The company in its then form had been created in 1898, when Watney merged with Combe and Reid. It was the first big brewery merger I can recall. The Combe and Reid breweries closed pretty much immediately with production being concentrated at Watney's Stag Brewery close to Victoria station.
Watney's fondness for
One of the biggest mistakes when looking at the past is to project the present onto it. To assume that little has changed. What am I leading up to? It would be easy to assume Watney's beers had always been shit. Their Mild placed second of seventeen, with an average score of 1.25. Their Burton was only ninth of fourteen, but still had a decent average score of 0.77. How will their Bitter do? We'll see in a minute.
Let's look at this particular beer first. It's a 9d/8d Best Bitter and is about bang on spec-wise for this type of beer: 1054 OG, 5.5% ABV, 80% apparent attenuation..
Here's how it scored:
|Watney Pale Ale quality 1922 - 1925|
|1923||PA||1012.8||1053.8||5.33||76.21%||fairly bright||v fair||2||8d|
|1925||PA||1011.2||1054.2||5.60||79.34%||fairly bright||v fair||2||8d|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001|
That's damn impressive. The lowest score is a two. Nine of fourteen samples were bright, which, if you've been paying attention, you'll realise isn't bad. Only two of those sound like they had real problems. But look at those flavour scores. No surprise that the average score is a very high 2.21.
This feels really weird, but it's my genuine advice: seek out Watneys pubs next time you're visiting 1920's London.