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
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
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?
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?
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
This is probably the toughest time the breweries of Britain have ever faced, tougher than the restrictions of the First World War, tougher than the fight against the temperance fanatics of the 19th century. Cut off from their customers because of the lockdown caused by the covid-19 pandemic, brewers are having to find innovative ways… Read More Brewers of Britain: hugely tough though this is, you’re making history right now – so if you have a moment when it’s all over, do please try to find time to record for posterity how you coped
It’s a huge thrill to uncover facts that totally rewrite history. You’ll read in a great many places – here, for example, in a book published in 2014 – that the first porter brewed in America was made by Robert Hare, son of a London porter brewer, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775. So when in… Read More How I uncovered the long-forgotten story of America’s first porter brewery and then sat on it for three years
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
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
Anything they do in That London, Manchester can do as well, including the catastrophic collapse of a giant vat full of maturing porter. Admittedly the Great London Beer Flood of 1814 was rather bigger than the event in Lancashire 17 years later, with the vat that burst at Meux’s brewery, off Tottenham Court Road, containing… Read More The Great Manchester Beer Flood of 1831