And you know me and my relationship with British Lager. Never drink the stuff, but keep writing about it. This is a fascinating period for Lager in Britain. When it starts breaking into the mainstream. That’s very evident from a glance at the brewers in the table.
Some are the pre-war pioneers, who went out on a limb to build specialist Lager plant as a time when demand was very limited. I’m thinking here of Tennent, Barclay Perkins and Red Tower. Graham’s probably belongs in that list, too, as I’m pretty sure that was being made at the Alloa Brewery at this point.
Then you’ve got Charrington and Flowers, large regional breweries clearly keen to get in on the Lager act with their own branded products. I’m not so sure either had the equipment to properly bottom ferment at this point.
Carling Black Label is an example of another trend, an emerging national group bringing in a foreign brand. Despite billing itself as Canadian Lager, the example in the table was brewed in Sheffield.
Once again, the examples neatly divide themselves into two groups: 1030º - 1037º and 1040º - 1050º. Interestingly, the whole group comes out with an average OG about identical with the average for all beer consumed in the UK: 1037º.
|British-brewed bottled Lager in the 1950's|
|1957||Graham's Golden Lager||Pilsner Lager||0.04||1030.4||1007.3||3.00||75.99%||11|
|1956||Red Tower||Pilsner Lager||32||0.03||1031.2||1005.9||3.29||81.09%||10|
|1954||Steel Coulson||Lager Beer||30||0.04||1032||1004.3||3.60||86.56%||11|
|1957||McEwan & Younger||"MY" Export Lager||30||0.04||1033.6||1006.3||3.55||81.25%||13|
|1957||McEwan & Younger||"MY" Export Lager||42||0.02||1033.8||1010.9||2.96||67.75%||13|
|1958||McEwan & Younger||MY Export Lager||50||0.05||1034.3||1010.5||2.97||69.39%||9|
|1957||Barclay Perkins||Pilsner Lager||36||0.02||1034.3||1006.1||3.67||82.22%||6.5|
|1957||Barclay Perkins||Pilsner Lager||0.04||1035||1006.3||3.73||82.00%||9|
|1957||McEwan & Younger||"MY" Export Lager||0.04||1035.2||1007.3||3.62||79.26%||13|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.|
It’s hard to say much about attenuation, other than that the ones specifically called Pilsner tend to be more highly attenuated.
In terms of value for money, Lager was very poor. The average OG for this set is about the same as Ordinary Bitter, 1037. But that averaged just 16.8d per pint, as opposed to 36.7d per pint for Lager. Even taking into account the difference in price between bottled and draught beer, Lager was still way more expensive than Bitter.
The very low level of acidity is a dead giveaway that these beers were pasteurised. And dead as a door nail in the bottle. Um, yummy boiled sweets flavour.
Imported Lager next, perhaps.