I remember exactly when and where I first ate a chocolate creme egg: in 1957, in the kitchen of my parents’ council house in Stevenage. My Uncle Bert, who had no children of his own, had clearly decided to treat his little nephew with an Easter novelty. My experience of chocolate Easter eggs to that… Read More A short and stout history of chocolate creme eggs
In 1898-9, Canada’s Inspectorate of Foods and Drugs analyzed beers from 33 Canadian breweries in four provinces, of which 27 brewed a porter or a stout, and one stout brewer sold a half-and-half. They also analyzed the extra stout from George Younger’s brewery in Alloa, Scotland, to give historians a useful comparison with stout brewing… Read More So what’s the difference between porter and stout – Canada 1898-99 version
I’ve never met Larry Hatch, but I’m sure he’s a great guy: kind to small animals, regularly helps old ladies cross the road safely, buys great bagloads of girl guide cookies. However, he’s written some dumb nonsense about porter, and I’m feeling grumpy, so he’s going to get a kicking. I bought his publication Hatch’s… Read More Believing the name porter comes from the Dutch word ‘Poorter’ is only a short step from QAnon
There are some brands that no marketer should, would or could ever change: the Lyle’s Golden Syrup tin, for example, with its iconic — in the real meaning of the word — illustration of a dead lion surrounded by bees (which Victorians would have understood immediately), and its biblical quote. And there are some that… Read More The Anchor labels were never that great to begin with, and probably should have been changed long ago
Today is Baltic Porter Day, an event started by the Polish brewer and porter fan Marcin Chmielarz, and that gives me an excellent excuse to try to kill some Baltic Porter myths. A few facts: ● Baltic Porter, if you want to be historically accurate, should NOT be as strong as an Imperial Russian Stout.… Read More It’s Baltic Porter Day — a good excuse for punching a few Baltic Porter myths in the face …
The history of beer is largely working-class history, which means, given the status of working-class history, much of it is forgotten. When it’s black working-class history … Thus the long love of rural (and urban) working-class Jamaicans – and probably other West Indians as well – for draught porter is a subject you will struggle… Read More The forgotten love of rural Jamaicans for draught porter
I wish I liked cider. It ticks the same boxes as other passions I have: artisanal, local, historic, rooted in terroir, produced by dedicated enthusiasts, enjoyed by dedicated enthusiasts. I’m delighted that there are hard-working campaigners eager to promote the joys of cider, people pushing the attractions of a drink that has been part of… Read More I don’t like cider. There: I’ve said it
I was flattered to be asked to take part in one of the virtual symposiums (symposia?) at the Chicago Brewseum’s Beer History Summit last week, the panel I was on discussing “A History of Hops in the Western World”, and my particular brief being to talk about “An examination of hop production and use in… Read More How important were hop varieties to pre-20th century brewers?
I don’t normally believe in asking for free beer, but when a press release arrived with news of the latest product launch from Dublin, Guinness 0.0, and the only places to buy it were stores nowhere near where I live, I let eagerness to sample over-rule reluctance to blag. It’s not as if Diageo can’t… Read More So what happens if you mix the new Guinness 0.0 with Guinness Foreign Extra Stout?
Breweries can be deadly places: invisible, choking gases, boiling liquids, whirling machinery, fires, falls from great heights for the unwary. But no brewery can have offered more ways to die unpleasantly than the one in what was British Baluchistan, from deadly diseases to murderous tribesmen to devastating earthquakes. The brewery was opened in 1886 by… Read More The most dangerous brewery in the world