Mentioning Bentley's Yorkshire Breweries got me thinking: surely I must have details of some of their beers? Unless you haven't bothered reading the title, you know the answer.
Bentley's conjours up odd emotions. It closed just about at the moment I started drinking beer, in 1972. It had been bought by Whitbread in 1968, presumably purely for its pubs, as they already had a brewery in Leeds, the Kirkstall Brewery. It owned 380 pubs, which would have made it a nice, juicy takeover target*. (I wonder where they all were? I can't remember there being many Whitbread pubs in West Yorkshire.) I also remember seeing the brewery from the train line when I lived in Leeds in the mid-1970's.
Considering how recently it had closed in my early drinking career, it had left remarkably few traces. I can't remember ever seeing an old Bentley's window or other signage.
Enough of my dull (in bothe senses of the word) recollections and on with the beers. First point: note how little the gravity of the Dinner Ale fell between 1930 and 1959. That's more an indication of how low the gravity was in 1930 than anything else.
Strong Ales called Old Something were common in Yorksire in the 1950's. Bentley's OldTimothy is fairly typical - a gravity in the 1070's and dark brown in colour. Oddly, the Dinner Ale, which I would have expected to be a sort of Light Ale, is also dark. Whereas the Mild is only barely darker than a Bitter and Paler than Newcastle Brown.
The overall level of attenuation is pretty high, with the lowest being 74%. It's particularly striking that the Old Timothy is 80% attenuated. Much more than you'd expect for a dark Strong Ale.
Time now to pass you over to the numbers.
|Bentley's beers 1930 - 1959|
|1930||Dinner Ale||Pale Ale||pint||bottled||0.06||1005.3||1033.9||3.76||84.37%|
|1931||Pale Ale||Pale Ale||pint||bottled||0.06||1009.1||1040.6||4.14||77.59%|
|1953||Old Timothy||Old Ale||1/3d||nip||bottled||0.07||1014.7||1075.6||15 + 40||8.07||80.56%|
|1959||Old Timothy||Strong Ale||15d||nip||bottled||0.06||1015.1||1074.5||65||7.43||79.73%|
|1959||Special Pale Ale||Pale Ale||11d||half||bottled||0.04||1006.2||1038.5||26||4.04||83.90%|
|1959||Eshald Ale||Dinner Ale||12d||half||bottled||0.04||1004.4||1031.8||60||3.43||86.16%|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002|
There used to be some of Bentley's brewing books in the Whitbread Archive at Chiswell Street. Where did they go when that collection was broken up? Somewhere safe, I hope.
* "The Brewing Industry: A Guide to Historical Records" by Lesley Richmond and Alison Turton, pages 67 - 68.