Thursday, 7 April 2022

Fitch & Wilson

I was looking for something completely different. Well, same thing, a price list, but for a completely different brewery. I hate to let any discovery go to waste

I set about extracting the details to my price list spreadsheet. Which is when I noticed something odd. The Strong Ales could be "Mild or bitter, as preferred". Does that mean either young or aged? Or just that one was more heavily hopped?

The X's are used inconsistently, too. XX Very Strong is more expensive, and hence stronger, than both XXX and XXXX. And what the hell does Osborne mean?

A - a designation usually reserved for the weakest of Mild Ales - here is used for something super strong. 2 shillings and sixpence per gallon is incredibly expensive. It implies something well north of 1100º. Queens Cordial I'm guessing was their brand name for it. Unless it was some generic name for a very strong beer.


Alcester Chronicle - Saturday 25 June 1881 , page 1.

 The warning and the end is very revealing, too.

"All the Strong and Pale Ales are season brewed, and well matured in cask, the finest qualities of Malt and Hops alone being used in their manufacture; the Dinner Ales are intended for ordinary use, and should not be kept too long in draught if perfection is desired."

It sounds like the Strong and Pale Ales were all Stock Ales and would keep well. While the Dinner Ales you'd best drink pretty quickly.

The Dinner Ales must surely be Mild Ales. Maybe they only called them Dinner ales for their home trade. Which is whom the advert is aimed at.


Anonymous said...

I assume the reference to Harvest Beer always in stock means it wasn't seasonal?

Was there much of a difference between Harvest and Table beers, or were they pretty much both the same kind of weak beer?

Chris Pickles said...

Osborne was Queen Victoria's residence on the Isle of Wight, so perhaps that is the origin of the name since Queen's Cordial seems to be the next step up, as it were.

Matt Boothman said...

In the Vintner's, Brewer's, Spirit Merchant's and Licensed Victualler's Guide (1826) there is mention of Queen's Cordial as:
"For three gallons - Cherry brandy one gallon and a half, Sherry two quarts, essence of cassia, nutmegs, carraway, and lemons, of each twenty drops, lemon juice half a pint, syrup two quarts, water sufficient to make up the quantity."

The advert states "Vintage Wines and Choice Spirits" - could this be related in some way? Does the price add up?