It’s Baltic Porter Day — a good excuse for punching a few Baltic Porter myths in the face …

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 forgotten love of rural Jamaicans for draught porter

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 don’t like cider. There: I’ve said it

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

How important were hop varieties to pre-20th century brewers?

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?

So what happens if you mix the new Guinness 0.0 with Guinness Foreign Extra Stout?

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?

The most dangerous brewery in the world

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

Will the real Cecil Guinness please stand up?

You have, I think, to be a particularly hardcore Guinness nerd to know that the first Earl of Iveagh, the man who floated the St James’s Gate brewery on the London stock exchange in 1886, and headed the company until his death in 1927, a few weeks short of his 80th birthday, while generally known,… Read More Will the real Cecil Guinness please stand up?

So, er — when WERE brewers banned from using unmalted grain?

It’s an excellent idea for a historian never to make a claim that cannot be backed up with actual evidence. In particular, it’s a terrible crime to assume, without verifying. Forgive me, therefore, Clio, muse of history, I have sinned: for many years I have been asserting that British brewers were banned from using unmalted… Read More So, er — when WERE brewers banned from using unmalted grain?

Manufactured outrage and the missing facts in the Small Brewers’ Relief debate

There is no subject in the world of beer right now that creates more heat and less light than the issue of reforming Small Brewers’ Relief, with vitriolic attacks, calls for boycotts of old-established family brewers and accusations of attempted bullying after the Treasury responded to calls for reform of the system with a proposed… Read More Manufactured outrage and the missing facts in the Small Brewers’ Relief debate

The brewer and the slaver gang

Serendipity – I love it. I was searching for something else entirely when I came across this advertisement in a Kentucky newspaper, which is how I discovered that the first successful keg beer in Britain was called Flowers Keg because an English teenager successfully led an armed posse in Illinois in the early 1820s against… Read More The brewer and the slaver gang