Sunday, 1 May 2016

Historic Williamsburg day three

It’s me Paul, Jamie and Martyn Cornell for breakfast again.

I won’t bother telling you what I’m having. You know by now. Here’s a hint: it may contain bacon. It takes a while again. Meaning for the second day in a row we’re a bit late hitting the auditorium. Except for I’m-just-having-a-muffin Cornell.

I’m on today. But luckily there are several speakers before me. Starting with Frank Clark, who works at Colonial Williamsburg and set up the conference. Working here, Frank gets to wear 18th-century gear. Always good to have at least one speaker in costume.

After Frank it’s Martyn’s turn with a look at the industrialisation of London’s brewing industry in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It’s a topic very dear to my heart. Though, as usual, Martyn comes up with some stuff I’ve not heard before.

After a quick coffee break, Martyn is followed by Mitch Steele, who discusses the history of IPA. Another one of my pet subjects. And very entertaining the talk is. He mentions that he suspects 19th-century IPAs shipped to India contained Brettanomyces, though he has no evidence other than suspiciously low FG’s. Ah. I think I can help there.

Now it’s my go. In a departure from my usual talks, this one isn’t full of tables and numbers. It’s mostly about people. But I break from my scheduled gumph to tell Mitch that Brettanomyces was found in Bass IPA in the 1930’s. Thought he’d like to know that.

When I say my talk - International Cooperation in the 19th-Century Brewing Industry – is mostly about people, it’s about a few specific characters. Gabriel Sedlmayr, Anton Dreher, Michael Thomas Bass. It’s difficult to overestimate the influence of Sedlmayr on world brewing. He was key to the spread of modern brewing and specifically modern Lager brewing throughout the globe. Intrigued? Get me to come and give the talk.

I always enjoy presenting especially when I get a few laughs. I’ve timed it well and finish just about spot on time. Not that it matters so much as lunch is next.

Though me and Mitch can’t directly go and eat. We’ve a book signing to do in the museum bookshop. A few people drift up and we scrawl in their books. I doubt anyone can ever read what I write. I probably couldn’t.

Once the punters have dried up, we head over to DoG Street Pub for some food. It’s nice to have a chance to chat with Mitch. I’m particularly fascinated with life within a macro brewery.  Mitch has some good tales of labour relations in different AB plants, prompted by me recounting the disaster of Bass’s Runcorn brewery.

Mitch has to pick up his family at the airport and unfortunately misses the remaining presentations: Brewing Historic Beers for a Modern Market by Tom Kehoe of Yards Brewing Company in Philadelphia; Brewing History by the Pint by Tanya Brock of Carillon Brewing Company, Dayton Historical Park; and, to end the event, The Past and Future Beer by Randy Mosher. And we’re done.

Even though my hotel is booked until tomorrow, Paul, Jamie and I are driving back to Washington this evening. It’s handy having the room still, as I can tinker on my computer and pootle around in privacy for a little longer.

We meet up with some of the other in the hotel bar for refreshment before leaving. While my laptop tries to download several hundred Windows updates in my room. It turns into a frustrating experience. Having joined a table of people who had just settled up, the waiting staff don’t seem to think I need serving. Moving to another table where they’re still actively ordering doesn’t improve affairs much, I end up having my tongue hanging out for upwards of 40 minutes. I think my second longest ever wait for a drink*.

I eat a hamburger, drink Devil’s Backbone from jam jar, and say many farewells. Then we load up our stuff in Paul and Jamie’s car and hit the road.

It’s late when we get back to Pail and Jamie’s. I’m totally knacked and go straight to bed. Tomorrow I fly back to Amsterdam.

* Hofbräuhaus in Munich, at well over an hour, is easily top.

DoG Street Pub
401 W Duke of Gloucester St,
Williamsburg, VA 23185.

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