Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Berlin in London

The early history of Lager in Britain I find fascinating. So I was delighted to discover another Munich beer hall in Victorian London.

I already knew about the Spaten place of Piccadilly Circus. But it turns out around the corner in Leicester square there was another, this time serving Pschorr beer.

"BERLIN IN LONDON.
Londoners who wish to spend an hour in a German brasserie will have no occasion to go to the Fatherland; for the palatial restaurant and hotel, which has been opened this week by Messrs Baker and Co., in Leicester-square, will, no doubt, be one of the great attractions and novelties of the metropolis. The new Grand Hotel and Brasserie de l'Europe offers to the public a combination of the cafe-restaurant and the beer-hall on the same lines as the brasserie which Parisians and Germans so much admire.

In the basement is a large lager beer hall, where, together with the finest brews from Munich, a number of German dishes and "delicatessen" will be served. The beers come from the vats of the famous Pschorr Brauerei at Munich and from the Burgerliches Brauhaus Pilsen. On the ground floor is the grand cafe, which both in appearance and in style will be found quite continental, while above is the Italian room, which it is intended to use as an a la carte restaurant.

This last achievement of the well-known architect, Mr Walter Emden, is the best thing he has ever done. The elevation show a freely-treated design in granite, with pilasters of green, while the upper portions of the structure is in terra-cotta. A noticeable feature will be found in the projecting corners, surmounted with turrets, which are covered with gilt copper - an effect quite new to London. The ornamental portions of the terracotta are picked out in gold, and the granite pilasters are finished with bronze sags and ornaments. From basement to roof the building is of fireproof construction, but an additional precaution has been taken by the erection of an outside staircase from the top floors. The lager-beer hall in the basement is decorated in Alhambra style, the walls being panelled out and filled in with mirrors, while the dado is of marble. The grand cafe on the ground floor is elaborately decorated in the style of the German Renaissance, the panels of the walls being filled in both with mirrors and with pictures representing events famous in German history. In this room a striking effect is obtained by hanging from the beams and columns festoons of leaves and flowers in repousse copper, the fruit on these imposing garlands being represented by electric lamps. Generally speaking the colouring of the decorations is similar to that of a German cafe. gold being largely used in the ornamental portions. On the first floor is the Italian Renaissance room, which will be used as an a la carte restaurant. The panels on the walls are filled in alternately with silk and mirrors, and the general colouring is ivory white and gold. Columns and pilasters of Pavonazze marble and a dado of American maple are also features in the decoration of this apartment. A reception room in the Louis XVI. style adjoins the Italian Renaissance room. In the upper portion of the building are the sitting rooms and bedrooms of the hotel. These are all decorated and furnished in the most complete and modern manner. The main entrance of the hotel is in Leicester-place, and both the entrance hall and staircase are decorated in the style of the German Renaissance. Pictures illustrative of familiar German legends here play an important part in the architect's scheme. The hotel, which will be open this evening for business, is equipped with an elaborate lift, while the electric lighting and the sanitary arrangements are planned upon the most approved principles. The place bids fair to be as popular as the Taverne Pousset, on the Boulevard des Italiens, Paris. "
The Era - Saturday 23 September 1899, page 18.
I believe this is the earliest mention I've found of Pilsner Urquell on draught in London. Why did they have that and Pschorr beer? Probably because Pschorr didn't brew a pale Lager at the time.

A couple of decades later, after all the animosity to Germans during WW I, I can't imagine anyone would have opened such an openly German establishment. Even now there's still a smouldering resentment of Germans in Britain and few restaurants or pubs s that style themselves as German.

What were the beers on sale like? Luckily I've analyses of both breweries' beer from around the same period:

Pschorr beers 1885 - 1901
Year Beer OG FG OG Plato ABV App. Attenuation Acidity
1885 Export 1057.0 1017.9 14.07 5.00 67.31% 0.140
1895 Bock 1074.5 1041 18.10 4.28 44.93%
1896 Export 1057.8 1024.0 14.26 4.34 57.08% 0.108
1897 Export 1056.7 1020.5 14.00 4.64 62.57% 0.045
1901 Export 1053.5 1017.2 13.26 4.65 66.82% 0.072
Sources:
Wahl & Henius, pages 823-830
Brockhaus' konversations-lexikon, Band 2 by F.A. Brockhaus, 1898.


Bürgerliches Brauhaus beers 1885 - 1898
Year Beer OG FG OG Plato ABV App. Atten-uation Acidity
1883 Export 1049.9 1014.4 12.40 4.60 71.14% 0.180
1886 Pilsener 1047.8 1015.4 11.89 4.19 67.75%
1886 Lagerbier 1047.3 1012.7 11.78 4.49 73.15%
1886 Pilsener 1043.3 1014.5 10.83 3.73 66.51%
1886 Winter Beer 1044.9 1013.83 11.20 4.02 68.21%
1887 Lagerbier 1047 1012.61 11.72 4.47 72.27%
1888 Pilsener 1048.5 1015.0 12.07 4.34 69.07%
1888 Export 1048 1013.79 11.95 4.44 70.29%
1890 Exportbier 1054.6 1014.45 13.51 5.22 73.53% 0.320
1893 Pilsener 1053.2 1013.2 13.18 5.20 75.19% 0.320
1898 Schankbier 1043.0 1011.5 10.76 4.09 73.26% 0.112
1898 Lagerbier 1047.3 1012.6 11.78 4.50 73.36% 0.103
1898 Export 1055.9 1014.78 13.82 5.35 72.50%
Sources:
"Chemie der menschlichen Nahrungs- und Genussmittel" by Joseph König, 1889, pages 806 - 851
Wahl & Henius, pages 823-830
"Handbuch der chemischen technologie" by Otto Dammer, Rudolf Kaiser, 1896, pages 696-697
Chemie der menschlichen Nahrungs- und Genussmittel by Joseph König, 1903, pages 1102 - 1156

You can see that Pilsner Urquell hasn't changed much in terms of gravity and ABV. While Pschorr's Export is very different from a modern Dunkles: higher OG, much lower rate of attenuation and ABV.
Emden was a famous theatre architect, who designed many in London.

"Mr Emden's early commissions in theatrical work were to reconstruct the Globe, to alter the St. James's and the Royalty, and to build the Court Theatre - which in the meantime he has rebuilt. In 1872 Mr Emden was appointed architect to the Dublin Exhibition. He designed an opera house for Rome, which was not built, the Italian Government eventually declining the expenditure; but incidentally acquired a most useful experience of Italian styles. Terry's Theatre was a notable achievement of Mr Emden's - Mr Charles Wilmot, who was the original owner, committing himself unreservedly to the architect's ideas as to a fireproof structure, as Terry's Theatre undoubtedly is. Mr Emden was, by the way, one of the judges of the first firemen's exhibition. The original plans for the Garrick, the Trafalgar-square, and the Tivoli were Mr Emden's work; and he reconstructed the English Opera House, which we now know as the Palace Theatre. Mr Emden has also done a great deal of work in the provinces."
The Era, 6th of November 1897.

So there you go. Dead famous. Emden died in 1913. The building still stands on Leicester square, though it's no longer a hotel.

2 comments:

BryanB said...

Interesting - a Bock at 4.8%! By the look of it, the Pschorr Bock and Export were the same thing - a rich and probably quite sweet dark beer. Did Bocks get stronger later on or was this a weak period?

But WTF did they headline a piece about a Bavarian beer hall with a reference to Berlin?! I'll bet the food was Bavarian too.

Jeffrey Bell said...

There isn't a smouldering resentment of Germans in this country - probably one of the more popular European nationalities among Britons. And even if it was that wouldn't a reason for a lack of German restaurants - we hate the French yet there are Frenchified eateries everywhere you look.