Sunday, 30 December 2012

Evolution and Ale

It isn't about what you think, the evolution of Ale. It's much more literal than that.

TUESDAY, APRIL 11th, 1922.

"The Kentucky Legislature has now before it a Bill to prohibit the teaching of Evolution in any State aided school, college, or university."— The Nation."

This, coming from the land of progress and freedom, is side-splitting. Some fifty — or is it sixty? —years ago a troublesome follow called Darwin published a book on Evolution. It caused a mighty fluttering amongst our grandfathers, but long, long ago the "pernicious doctrines" voiced by that great brain have passed into everyday life, and now opposers of the theory are classed with other small bodies of cranks, among whom may be included the gentlemen who sternly hold that the world is flat. All the investigations of modern science have only gone to prove how amazingly correct Charles Darwin was in his main facts.

The average man knows little Kentucky. He believes it is one of the Western States, somewhere near Tennessee, where rag-time comes from, but it is, incidently, even further from light than was popularly imagined.

If the Americans did not speak a language so closely resembling English, it might be more easy for us to understand them — at least we might make greater efforts. Is it, for instance, a general thing in America to have this fear of the awful doctrine of Evolution? It was generally understood that Professor Einstein suffered no great boycott when he explained his Theory on the other side of the Atlantic last summer. Kentucky must have been sleeping then. As an example of democracy, the United States seem singularly conservative. Although we have no authority for doing so, we say without much fear of contradiction that even Sir Frederick Banbury in this country would raise no fierce objection to Evolution being taught in English schools.

If Mark Twain were alive what a subject it would be for his pen! The best advice for Kentucky is to reintroduce a reliable brand of mild ale, and with it would probably go little breadth of outlook, and just a smack of toleration.
Hull Daily Mail - Tuesday 11 April 1922, page 4.

I loved this line "If the Americans did not speak a language so closely resembling English".

Once again, the smart advice is: Drink Mild!


BryanB said...

Plus ça change....

Anonymous said...

I will take your advice.I've already had a drink of mild this morning. For lunch it's going to be beef braised in mild ale.

Gary Gillman said...

Actually, the complacent little piece has its own limitations of knowledge, in that Kentucky precisely had done what was asked of it and not just that, but created a mild ale that was recognized as a separate star in the firmament of top-fermented drinks by the eminent Wahl & Henius some 20 years before. It's called Kentucky Common Ale. One might have said to the Hull scribblers, look it up boys.

National Prohibition had, true, precluded the continued sale, but that was not just a Kentucky phenom, nor even an American one, as contemporary developments in Scandinavia, say, would have disclosed to these ale-bibbers. I doubt they would have taken on these less-distant northern lands as vigorously, though.

Thus, without in any way disagreeing with the substance of the piece, the point sought to be made ended as somewhat of a damp squib.


Ron Pattinson said...


the text says: "reintroduce a reliable brand of mild ale". Sounds like the Hull scribblers did believe they once had Mild in Kentucky.

The Mark Twain reference displays a sympathy for US culture.

And I think they're using Mild Ale as a symbol of a mildly intoxicating drink. Something not to get hammered with, but to have a friendly discussion over.

Ron Pattinson said...

Marquis, I'm out of Mild, save for one bottle of Meantime XXXX Ale, which I'm saving for a special occasion.

I do have some Grodziskie. That's only 3.3% ABV. Sort of Smoked Wheat Pale Mild. That style must surely exist? If not, it will in year or two.

Gary Gillman said...

Ron, I saw the word "reintroduced", but that surely referred, as I had indicated, to National Prohibition, not to any knowledge that Kentucky was known in beer circles for having introduced a reputed style of mild ale. One might say, why should journos in Hull, England have known that? But then they seemed knowledgeable in matters of far-away legislative developments, so they might have taken note that Kentucky had distinguished itself in one area of the brewing arts.

Even if we forgive them that, little Kentucky again happened to invent yet another alcoholic drink - bourbon, one better known even then. It's ironic they invoked the name of Mark Twain to make their argument, given he was a staunch admirer of bourbon.

I'm glad you brought this curiosity to light but it failed rhetorically, one might say, in its object, IMO.