There are many dozens – probably hundreds – of brewing traditions around the world, from the umqombothi of South Africa to the tiswin of the Apache, the kveik beers of Western Norway to the chicha of Latin America. Most are pretty much unknown to the barley beer drinkers of the Western European tradition. Few are… Read More Traditional brewing in Myanmar: an amazing heritage
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
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
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 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?
Happy anniversary: 299 years ago today the word “porter” appeared in print for the first time (as far as we know) as the name of a type of beer. The passing mention came in a pamphlet dated Wednesday May 22 1721 and written by the then-23-year-old Whig satirist and polemicist Nicholas Amhurst (1697-1742). Amhurst implied… Read More Today is 299 years exactly since the first known mention of porter
There is not a lot will make me drop everything and rush 200 miles north to Blackburn, but a message saying that the recipe for the legendary Mercer’s Meat Stout had been discovered in an attic and the beer was being brewed again got me on the first available train out of Euston. Mercer’s Meat… Read More The legendary Mercer’s Meat Stout returns after 75 years
I was thinking of ignoring the “what does sessionable mean” debate, even through I was dragged into it by my ear by having my research quoted. Then I saw a tweet yesterday from someone talking about “a sessionable 5.5 per cent smoked oatmeal stout”, and the world swam and dissolved before me as I plunged… Read More Yes, it’s VERY possible to define a ‘sessionable’ craft beer
I apologise for greeting the new edition of Camra’s Good Beer Guide, with a spittle-flecked rant. A little. But not much. Because SIX YEARS after I pointed out that the “British beer styles” section of “the UK’s best-selling beer and pub guide” was choked with errors, the 2020 edition of the guide, just out, is… Read More Why oh why is the Good Beer Guide STILL getting British beer styles so totally, shambolically wrong?