Friday, 24 February 2012

Tennent's India Pale Ale

It's time to swap those breweries up a bit. As an antidote to all those Edinburgh an Alloa brewers here's . . . . one from Glasgow,

The text is just an advert. But one that shows it wasn't only those in Alloa and Edinburgh who dove into the crystal clear pool of Pale Ale.

THE SUBSCRIBERS have the pleasure to inform their Friends, and all admirers of the above article, that they have made arrangements with Messrs. DODS, BROTHERS, Wine Merchants, 63 Buchanan Street, Glasgow, to take the Sole Agency, for Home Consumption, of their INDIA PALE ALE, both in Bottle and in Wood.
Wellpark Brewery,
19th June, 1849.

With reference to the above, we beg to recommend Messrs. TENNENT'S INDIA PALE ALE to our Customers, from the high character which it sustains in the India Market, and the increasing demand for it both here and there. Its excellent quality ought to insure for it a large consumption in Glasgow and neighbourhood. It is especially well adapted, in Casks, for use at the Coast.

Price in Bottle, Quarts .......... 4s. per Dozen.
 Do.   Do.       Pints ............2s. 6d. Do.

Hhds., Half-hhds., and Firkins always in Stock, at proportionate prices.

We take the present opportunity of drawing the attention of the Public to our very Extensive Stock of PORT WINE, of great age, in Bottle, of the highest class, and very dry; and to our Stock of SHERRY, CLARET, MADEIRA, CHAMPAGNE, BURGUNDY, HOCK, MOSELLE, FOREIGN SPIRITS, and Finest ISLAY and CAMPBELTON WHISKY-all of the Best Quality, at Moderate Prices.
Wine Vaults,
63 Buchanan Street. Glasgow.
Glasgow Herald - Friday 22 June 1849, page 3.

That agreement with Dods Brothers is a bit odd. They were appointed sole agents for domestic sales? For the whole of the UK? Oh, hang on, I may be misinterpreting "Home Consumption". I think they mean sales to individuals rather than to pubs. It still seems a valuable concession.

I left in the rest of the advert, with the plugs for wine and whisky, for a good reason: to show you what company IPA kept. None of the other drinks are what you would describe as down-market or cheap. It's a demonstration of the status of IPA that it's mentioned in the same breath as Champagne, Burgundy and Islay whisky. Sounds just like my kind of shop.

The ad claims that Tennent's IPA was sold both domestically and in India. I just so happen to have some proof of that:

Beer.—Allsopp's and Bass's beer may be quoted at 60 rupees per hhd. Sales of 100 hhds. Saunders's at 50 rupees per hhd., and 175 hhds. Tennent's at 45 rupees, have been reported.
"The Indian mail, vol 1, 1843-1844", 1844, page 571.

Though you can see that it brought only three-quarters of the price of Allsopp or Bass. They were the two brands with the best reputation in the 1840's.


Jeff Renner said...

Wonder why they thought it was "especially well adapted, in Casks, for use at the Coast"?

Gary Gillman said...

Interesting colour, definitely not yellow, more a lightish amber. It's quite like Bass was (or maybe still is).

Pale ale recipes of today, in craft brewing anyway, frequently call for additions of carastan or black patent. Is this to adjust the colour and perhaps flavour to deliver what pale malt did alone in the old days?

Otherwise I cannot understand why so many modern pale ale recipes call for two or three malts the dark ones of which are associated historically with porter or brown ale brewing.


Barm said...

I would be wary about drawing too many conclusions from the colour perceived on a photograph of a label printed 60 or 70 years ago when colour printing technology was much more primitive than it is today. It's not even a photo on the original label, but a painting of the beer.

Notwithstanding that, pale ale malt of today will still produce a significantly darker beer than pils malt.

Rod said...

"Notwithstanding that, pale ale malt of today will still produce a significantly darker beer than pils malt."

Yes, that's right. 95% Maris Otter, Tipple or Flagon (or any mixture of these) and 5 - 10% slightly darker malt such as Fawcett's pale Crystal or (my preference) Caramalt will give a very nice medium copper/amber colour, without any roasty flavours. The Caramalt will give some dextrins and body too.
The addition of patent black will, of course, give a deeper colour, shading towards mahogany, and perhaps some roastiness of flavour.