Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Branded Brown Ale in 1953

Enjoying this series? I think I am. Not totally sure. Let me get back to you in a day or two.

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
Brewery Beer Type
Whitbread Forest Brown Brown
Barclay Perkins Southwark Ale Brown Ale
Flowers Anchor 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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've liked reading the branding articles, and they lead me to wonder to what extent the current disasters of style guides out there are the result of confusing brands with styles.

For instance, I see that beeradvocate.com's style guide has styles for ESB and Winter Warmer, which seem to be more about a company's branding than a style. I get the sense that the early definers were looking at beer labels and didn't really think how brewers were acting like canned soup makers who happily put the words "natural" or "home style" on their labels. It's still going on full force, of course, which leads to funny outraged comments by people insisting that a brewer's use of Imperial or Session on their labels is violating some arbitrary style rule.