Monday, 29 June 2015

Is there a stout that’s really strong?

Beer advertising isn’t what it was. You can’t say hardly anything about the product any more. Several now totally unacceptable slogans are burned into my brain for 1960’s TV ads.

“A Double Diamond works wonders – so drink one today.

“Mackeson: it looks good, tastes good and by jolly it does you good.”

Speaking if which, it’s Mackeson that features in today’s, unacceptable by modern standards, ad.

Is there a stout that’s really strong—yet richly smooth?
There is. When friendly voices welcome you in your favourite bar, or at home after the day's work is done, it's time for a drink that'll put new strength into you - rich but smooth, smooth but oh, so strong - a stout that's as mellow as mellow can be.

Whenever, wherever you pour it out. Mackeson’s, bottled only by the brewers, is always in perfect condition.

Bombed in 1942, and rebuilt in 1951, the Bitterne Brewery is today one of finest inns in the Borough of Southampton. Many of its regulars enjoy their Mackeson’s whilst relaxing in the spacious gardens behind the building. Mr. and Mrs. Vic Sly. the proprietors, are firm supporters of Mackeson's. Says Vic: "Mackeson's is rapidly becoming one of the most popular drinks I serve. I think it is probably the smoothness that appeals to many of my customers - that and its rich flavour and full-bodied strength."



So strong - so smooth.

On sale throughout the country.”
Portsmouth Evening News - Thursday 17 September 1953, page 6.

Before you ask, the answer is yes. The Bitterne Brewery pub does still exist. Though not under that name. It’s now called The Big Cheese (dreadful name) and is part of some Greene King chain of food pubs called the Hungry Horse.

The Sly family had a long association with the pub and had been running it since before WW I, when it had still brewed its own beer.

It’s quite possibly true that Mackeson was one of the most popular drinks. There was a renewed surge in demand for bottled beer after WW II and Mackeson was an incredibly popular beer. Whitbread brewed it all over the place, it seems in every brewery they controlled. It seems quaint today that a style as unfashionable as Milk Stout could be so popular. I think you’d struggle to find a pub selling it nowadays. Other than one of the new breed of American inspired hipster Milk Stouts. (Which in my opinion don’t actually taste like Milk Stout at all.)

Was Mackeson really that strong? Of course it wasn’t. Not unless you call 3.5% ABV strong:

Mackeson Stout 1954 - 1959
Year Beer Price per pint d Acidity OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1954 Mackeson Stout 31 0.04 1046.6 1019.5 3.49 58.15% 1 + 20
1957 Mackeson Stout 32 0.06 1046.3 1015.9 3.93 65.66% 250
1959 Mackeson Stout (Chiswell Street gyle 248) 32 1046.2 1020.8 3.27 54.98% 250
1959 Mackeson Stout (Stockport gyle 289) 32 1046.7 1019.7 3.48 57.82% 275
1959 Mackeson Stout (Kirkstall gyle 117) 32 1046.5 1020.4 3.36 56.13% 350
1959 Mackeson Stout (Hythe gyle 168) 32 1046 1017.8 3.64 61.30% 400
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.
I really should get around to going through the bottled Stouts of the 1950’s properly. Just a shame I’m so lazy.

The Big Cheese
128-130 West End Road,
SO18 6PH.

1 comment:

Wendell Related said...

The best slogan of all time still belongs to New York's Schaefer Beer " The One Beer to Have When You’re Having More Than One." Of course, like many of the old American brands, they're now just a name in Pabst's portfolio, with a run of can's produced for some small markets of regional nostalgists.