Brown Ale. One the favourite styles of the 1950’s. Which is why I’m surprised there are relatively few examples, a mere 17. 16, really, because Southwarke Ale (as it’s really spelled) is an Old Ale. Not difficult to work out. That’s how it’s described on the label. Their Brown Ale was called Doctor Brown. Which for some reason doesn’t make the list.
Flowers had a whole bunch of Brown Ales – Poacher, Brownex, to name two – though some were from the J.W. Green portfolio. At this point the two were still separate companies. Whitbread also had another Brown Ale, Double Brown. That was their original Brown Ale, stronger and more bitter than was usual by the 1950’s. It was already taking a back seat to Forest Brown, a more typical type, and would be phased out within a couple of years. Forest Brown continued through the Whitbread period as the group’s flagship Brown Ale.
Simmonds Berry Brown Ale was a big brand in its day, brewed not just in Simonds’ own Reading brewery, but at other plants they owned, too. It was a big enough brand to survive the Courage takeover, though with the name changed to Courage Berry Brown Ale. I wonder how long it lasted? That got me wondering: what was Courage’s own version called? About as dull as you could get: Courage Brown Ale.
What’s left of this lot? Double Maxim. Though even that has long left its home brewery. Will Brown Ale die out? Probably not as long as Newcastle Brown still retains popularity. But I can’t see it becoming part of a brewery’s standard range again.
|Branded Brown Ale in 1953|
|Barclay Perkins||Southwark Ale||Brown Ale|
|Fremlins||Double Elephant||Brown Ale|
|H. & G. Simonds||Berry||Brown Ale|
|John Smith's||Tawney||Brown Ale|
|Meux's Brewery||Winter Ale||Brown Ale|
|Mitchells & Butlers||Sam Brown||Brown Ale|
|Star Brewery||Old Star||Brown Ale|
|T. Losco Bradley||Red Lion||Brown Ale|
|Thompsons Brewery||Bell||Brown Ale|
|Tomson & Wotton||Double Thatch||Brown Ale|
|Westoe Breweries||Lifeboat||Brown Ale|
|Wm. Younger||Castle||Brown Ale|
|Vaux||Double Maxim||Brown Ale, bottled|
|Higson's Brewery||Double Top||Brown Ale, bottled|
|Yates's Castle Brewery||Cobnut||Brown Ale, bottled|
|Brewery Manual 1953-1954, pages 382 - 394.|
Stout next, I think.