Friday, 16 May 2014

Lion Brewery Pale Ale quality 1922 - 1925

Back to my interminable series on London beer quality in the 1920's

Let's kick off with a random newspaper article:

On Saturday morning, shortly after three o'clock, a determined murder was committed in the Belvedere-road, near to the foot of Hungerford Bridge, on the Surrey side of the water. It appears from the information at present obtainable that a man named George Merritt, a stoker, was on his way to his work to attend to the fires at the Lion Brewery. Just before he came to the gates he was stopped by a man who presented a pistol at him, and at once fired it. He managed to turn his head from the assassin, and the shot missed him. He at once began to run, and call for assistance, when a second shot was fired after him, which also missed. Whilst still running a third shot was fired after him, winch struck him in the neck. The assassin then came up to him, and, attacking him with a dagger, stabbed him several times. The reports of the pistol attracted the attention of the neighbourhood, and as the assassin was running away he was met at the top of Tenison-street by a policeman, who stopped him. He was taken back to the place from where the reports proceeded, and the unfortunate man was then found weltering in his blood. The assassin then said, when the light of the policeman's lantern was turned on his victim, "Why, that is not the man I wanted," The wounded man expired almost immediately, and the assassin was taken into custody.

From inquiries made it is stated that the assassin is an American by birth, respectably connected, well to do, and studying the medical profession. He came over to this country from New York about seven weeks ago, and at his lodgings conducted himself in every way as a gentleman. It is rumoured as a cause for the commission of the crime that he had lately been induced to visit some of the houses of ill-fame with which Tenison-street abounds, and in which many robberies of gentlemen are said to be committed ; and that a short time ago he himself was the victim of robbery in which a man for whom he was lying in wait took a prominent part. Instead of meeting and killing this man, as he intended, he met and killed the unfortunate victim, who was quietly proceeding to his work, and leaves a widow and six children to mourn his loss.
Lion Brewery and Tenison Street in 1896

Another account says:-

It would appear that last Christmas a man of gentlemanly appearance, and of fair complexion, presented himself at the door of No. 41, Tenison-street, York-road, Lambeth, and said that he wanted apartments. When asked who he was, he said that he was an American doctor, and that he had just come from America, via Liverpool. In manners, money, and address, he seemed, it is stated, a gentleman. He took the apartments he required, and he used to reside in them three days a week; the other days and nights he was absent from home. Whenever he went out he always carried with him a bowie-knife, a six chambered revolver, and a box of surgical instruments. For the last three days he has been in the habit of calling at the Lion Brewery, Belvedere-road, Lambeth, and asking whether a man named Pollington was employed there, and at what time he came to work. The inquirer's conduct was so curious, that it was deemed advisable to ascertain his name, and it was then discovered that it was W. C. Minar. On Saturday morning, at a quarter-past two o'clock, a policeman saw him standing in the doorway of the King's Head Tavern, Tenison-street. The constable passed on, and in a short time he heard three shots fired, and upon turning round he saw Minar coining towards him with a revolver in his hand, and he asked him whether he had shot any one, and added, "Is it a woman?" Minar replied, "No, I am not such a coward as to shoot a woman ; but I am afraid that I have shot the wrong man." He was at once arrested and taken to the Tower-street police station. When the police went to the spot from whence they heard the shots proceed they discovered, lying dead upon the stones outside the King s Head, the body of George Merritt, aged 36 years, a stoker, employed at the Lion Brewery Company. He had received a wound on the right temple caused by a bullet, and another wound right through the gullet. The latter wound was caused by a bullet which had gone right through the neck. The third bullet fired had broken off a piece of the stone of the public-house wall."
London Standard - Monday 19 February 1872, page 6.
The King's Head Tavern must be the building marked P.H. at the northern end of Tenison street. You can see how close it was to the brewery.

You'd have thought would be it for Minar. It was a pretty open and shut case of murder, with the gallows waiting.

This is a report of the trial:

"At the Kingston Assizes yesterday, William Chester Minor, an American surgeon, was indicted for the wilful murder of George Merritt. The deceased, it will be remembered, was employed at the Lion Brewery, Lambeth, and on going to his work at about two o'clock on the morning of the 14th of February was shot dead by the prisoner, to whom, however, he was an utter stranger. Witnesses from Connecticut were examined to prove that the prisoner had had sunstroke, and was subject to insane delusions. The jury acquitted him on the ground of insanity, and he was ordered to be detained during her Majesty's pleasure."
London Standard - Friday 05 April 1872, page 4.

The jammy git. He got off for being crazy. Though I'm not sure being locked up in a Victorian nut house was better than being hanged.

Right, on with Lion's Pale Ale. You can see that it's of the Ordinary Bitter type, with a typical gravity in the mid-1040's. To recap, Lion's Mild was ninth of eleven with a score of 0. Their Burton was eighth of fourteen with a score of 0.78. Pretty middle of the road.

Lion Brewery Pale Ale quality 1922 - 1925
Year Beer FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation Appearance Flavour score Price
1922 PA 1011 1046.5 4.61 76.34% bright good 2 8d
1922 PA 1009.9 1046.9 4.81 78.89% bright fair 1 8d
1922 PA 1011.7 1047.7 4.68 75.47% bright good 2 8d
1922 PA 1010.8 1046.8 4.68 76.92% hazy fair 1 8d
1923 PA 1010.8 1046.3 4.61 76.67% not bright hard -1 8d
1923 PA 1011.2 1045.7 4.48 75.49% bright rank bitter -3 8d
1923 PA 1011.2 1046.7 4.61 76.02% hazy gone off -3 8d
1923 PA 1010.4 1044.4 4.42 76.58% brilliant v fair 2 8d
1923 PA 1010 1046.5 4.75 78.49% fairly bright sour -3 8d
1925 PA 1009.6 1047.1 4.88 79.62% fairly bright v fair 2 7d
Average  1010.7 1046.5 4.65 77.05% 0.00
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

What a mixed bag that lot of samples are. Five of ten clear, which is about par for the course. Six of ten got a positive score for flavour. Which isn't too bad, but because three of the negative scores were -3, the average score was just 0. Don't know what to make of that. Did they just have some really incompetent landlords? Or maybe some of their pubs didn't sell much Bitter.

My advice: be very careful which of their pubs you drink in.

1 comment:

Ed said...

Mr Minor later became one of the largest contributors to Oxford English Dictionary. And the subject of a book, "The Professor and The Madam" by Simon Winchester.