Thursday 22 September 2022

Regional Beer Styles ca. 1900

One of the frustrating aspects of old brewing manuals is how little they talk about specific beers. Other than when it's something very new. Like IPA.

Frank Thatcher's book is an exception. It has a couple of pages discussing the types of beer brewed in the different parts of the UK. Regionality was still very much a thing: Hes starts with the well-known brewing regions and the beers they brewed.

"Much might be written upon the important question of the blend of materials employed in the mash-tun and copper for the production of various classes of beers in the different brewing centres of the United Kingdom. Burton is noted for its pale and strong ales, London for mild ales and stouts, Edinburgh for the special type of Scotch ales of which pale ales form a large percentage of the output from the different breweries there. Other parts of Scotland also produce similar beers, particularly Alloa, etc. Then we have Dublin and Cork noted for Irish porter and stout, and I must not forget the well-known beers produced in the West of England, whereof Oakhill stout and the Anglo-Bavarian beers of Shepton Mallet are familiar examples."
"A Treatise of Practical Brewing and Malting" by Frank Thatcher, The Country Brewers' Gazette, 1905, page 293.

Burton was famous for Strong Ales long before the first Pale Ale was brewed there. 

London and Mild may have long lost their association, but it was once very strong. It was the capital's favourite for getting on for a century. 

Edinburgh was, by this point, as well, if not better known, for its Pale Ales. Their Scotch Ale was still quite a thing in some markets.

A bit more obvious is Cork and Dublin brewing Stout. Both still are.

Some more detail on the West Country stuff would be nice. Other than one Stout.

Most of the rest seems to refer to mild Ale.

"In districts where miners consume the beers produced, it is usual to aim at luscious palate-fulness, and a sweet type of mild ale. In other districts, dry beers are desired, and then we have the colour of the beers varying from a dark nut brown to a very pale amber. We also have stouts and porter produced with a large percentage of sugar, such as is usual to the London and Northampton stouts, while the Irish porters and stouts are produced, as a rule, from all malt and hops."
"A Treatise of Practical Brewing and Malting" by Frank Thatcher, The Country Brewers' Gazette, 1905, page 293. 

That seems to be saying that Milds were very diverse, some being sweet and others dry. While the colour varied from pale to dark.

From what I know, he's right in saying Irish Stout usually contained no sugar.

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