The BBPA (formerly the Brewers' Society) has just launched a website called Beer Genie. I unwisely looked at the History of Beer page. What did I find? A strong contender for the Protz Shield:
Porter Ales made the accountants and porters happy.
This delicious dark beer, the weaker forerunner to stout, was the first beer in Britain to be brewed on an industrial scale. It was the chosen drink of all the thirsty porters who unloaded ships, carried goods and did what DHL and the internet do today. It was originally a blend of three different beers and often aged for over a year in vast barrels, the size of a house."
One word. That's how far they got before the first mistake. "Porter Ales" - aaaaaaagh! Porter was a beer, not an ale. Forerunner of Stout? Not really. Porters who unloaded ships? That's partly right. It was named after the Fellowship porters and ticket porters. At least they didn't say station porters, as some idiots have. The former unloaded ships, the latter carried stuff around London. A blend of three different beers? I thought that one had been well and truly kicked to death.
Not all beers were pale before IPA. Pale beers had been around for a couple of hundred years at least before the first IPA was brewed. No-one effing invented IPA, and certainly not because of the sudden appearance of glass drinking vessels. By the time IPA appeared, ALL British beers except Porter and Stout were pale. And the switch to glasses for drinking beer was much later, towards the end of the 19th century. Glasses didn't make beer get paler. They made it get darker. X and K Ales started getting darker when glassware was introduced. High in alcohol? No it wasn't. Barely average strength. Analyses show IPA and brewing records show early IPA was 4.5-7% ABV. Not strong at all for the period.
India Pale Ale, the Chardonnay of its time.
The wood and straw used to roast barley had made all beers dark; but as the beer was drunk from pewter or earthenware, nobody saw its colour. The arrival of commercially produced clear glassware meant you could see your drink. So they invented India Pale Ale, high in alcohol, pale in colour and with massive quantities of hops to help it endure the months at sea on its way to India. It went beautifully with curry too."
So IPA was strong at 4.5-7% ABV, but Mild at the same strength was weak? Bit of inconsistency there. Mild wasn't weak. It wasn't strong. It was brewed to a wide range of strengths, from 5% ABV to more than 10% ABV. Low bitterness? Not according to the brewing records I've seen. The Truman's 1832 XXXX that Pretty Things recreated had more hops than most modern IPAs. It wasn't just drunk by industrial workers. It was drunk by just about everyone.
Mild ales are a hit with industrial workers
Today, the only thing we hit our deadlines are space bars. But back then, British workers used to hit actual stuff for a living working in mines, foundries and other places that made you proper thirsty. Low alcohol beers at 4-6% with low bitterness and reassuring malty quality were a hit with the sweating workers and provided much needed refreshment and re-hydration at the end of a hard, hot day."
The first British Lager was much earlier - John Muir brewed it in Edinburgh in the 1830's. And why the assumption that early Lagers were pale? The Wrexham Lager Brewery initially brewed Munich-style dark Lager.
England, Wales and Scotland brew their first pale lagers.
Forty years after the first pale lager was brewed in Pilsen in the Czech Republic, the lager beer style was brewed in Britain. "
Impressively inaccurate. That's all I can say.