Monday, 15 February 2010

Beer genealogy

Why am I so drawn to Edwardian brewing? What makes it so fascinating? I think I might have worked it out.

Edwardian beers are familiar, yet alien. The same names for quite different beers. Their obvious connection with modern British beers gives them resonance. Studying them is like investigating your family tree. Great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents. Relatives resting in their graves long before your birth, yet not totally disconnected. Perhaps your grandfather had met one.

It's more than nostalgia. Understanding the genealogy of our beer can only enrich us. Make us appreciate it even more as we learn of it hard times and bitter struggles.

This isn't just a disguised plug for mine and Kristen's book. Really. Not even a link, see?


Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

"Understanding the genealogy of our beer can only enrich us."

here here!

Gary Gillman said...

Thanks for reproducing that evocative label, Ron. I can only shake my head that a renowned specialty going back to one of the founding concerns in the merged Courage was finally abandoned in the 1990's.

I understand the Courage labels belong today to Wells and Young. That is an outfit that knows something of tradition - I know because Wells IPA that we get here in Canada is excellent and it meets the taste description in the old books regularly discussed here. I hear too that Young's beers are still meeting the high standards people associated with the old Wandsworth operation.

Hopefully W&Y will see the justice of bringing the famed Barclay's Russian Stout back - the time to act is now while people are still with us who remember how it was made and matured.


Unknown said...

Hi Ron.. just picked up a copy of "1909 Beer Style Guide." I'll let you know how it is. ;)


Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, I don't know if they bought the rights to Russian Stout. The press release at the time of the purchase didn't mention it.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I fear the cost of production, maturation and so on would make it uneconomic for W&Y to revive IRS, even if they had the rights: see O'Hanlon's and Thomas Hardy Ale.