How one Irishman’s ginger beard helped launch an entirely bogus style of beer

If a mediumweight French brewery had not been looking for another beer to add to its portfolio in the early 1970s, and if the owner of a drinks distribution company in County Wexford had not also owned a striking ginger beard, we probably would not now have that totally fake beer style, Irish Red Ale.… Read More How one Irishman’s ginger beard helped launch an entirely bogus style of beer

The one where I start an argument with a professor

It’s not necessarily a great idea to start arguing with an actual professor of history over matters historical when one is, let’s be frank, an amateur with no actual qualifications in the subject. Still, here we go: Richard Unger, distinguished scholar, professor of medieval history at the University of British Columbia, former president of the… Read More The one where I start an argument with a professor

Believing the name porter comes from the Dutch word ‘Poorter’ is only a short step from QAnon

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

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 …

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?

When 200,000 pints of beer went overboard to save a ship

If you are ever in Picton, at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, take a two-minute walk along the foreshore from the Cook Strait Ferry terminal to Dunbar Wharf, and marvel at a unique survival: the Edwin Fox, last remaining wooden sailing ship to have carried India Pale Ale from London to the thirsty… Read More When 200,000 pints of beer went overboard to save a ship

AB Inbev’s new 1840 London porter and the hornbeam question

I am green – viridian. Ron Pattinson has been dropping hints every time I see him about his secret big new project with Goose Island in Chicago, and it’s now been revealed: a reproduction of a London porter from 1840, including authentic heritage barley, properly “blown” brown malt, and blending a long-vatted beer with a… Read More AB Inbev’s new 1840 London porter and the hornbeam question

Everything You Don’t Want To Know About Guinness: ten Guinness myths that need stamping out now

Millions of words, and dozens of books, have been written about Guinness, the beer, the brewery, and the family, and a perhaps surprising amount of inaccurate mythology (and sometimes pure nonsense) has crept into the story. Here is a short list of some of the “facts” that writers, some of them supposedly authoritative sources, most… Read More Everything You Don’t Want To Know About Guinness: ten Guinness myths that need stamping out now

The Tipperary, Fleet Street: It’s a Long, Long Way from Accurate History

The Tipperary, in Fleet Street, has a fair claim to “oldest pub in London” status. You wouldn’t know this from the information you will find about it on the web, in books and magazines, and even the noticeboard outside the pub, which makes much of its storied past. Unfortunately, almost everything written about the history… Read More The Tipperary, Fleet Street: It’s a Long, Long Way from Accurate History

Did Michael Collins drink a pint of Clonakilty Wrestler the day he died?

Today is the 96th anniversary of the death of Michael Collins, the Irish revolutionary who played a major part in the Irish War of Independence, which saw the establishment of what was known as the Irish Free State, and who was then killed in an ambush during the civil war between those that accepted the… Read More Did Michael Collins drink a pint of Clonakilty Wrestler the day he died?