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Yarmouth Ale, sweet and salty

Great Yarmouth in 1851

A festival-full of regional ales were available in Britain in the 19th century, including Reading Ale, Windsor Ale, Dorchester Ale, Stogumber Ale and Alton Ale, of which only two or three – notably Burton Ale and its close relative Edinburgh Ale – achieved much lasting appreciation. One regional style of ale that is effectively unknown today, despite it being mentioned briefly in William Marchant’s collection of aley anecdotes from 1889, In Praise of Ale, was Yarmouth Ale. Brewed in the Norfolk Suffolk fishing port of Great Yarmouth, Yarmouth Ale found a wide and enthusiastic market in London in the first 50 years of Queen Victoria’s reign, before vanishing entirely.

No recipe survives, as far as I know, for Yarmouth Ale, but enough evidence exists that we can say it was a strong mild, around 6.5 per cent alcohol, probably pale, considerably sweeter than most ales, and very much more salty, so salty that it was specifically mentioned in Parliament when MPs tried to draw up limits on salt in ale and beer. Continue reading Yarmouth Ale, sweet and salty