Showing posts with label 1845. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1845. Show all posts

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Other Burton Beer

Despite the fact that the making of beer has been part of the human experience for at least 6000 years, indeed one of the marks of being civilised in the Epic of Gilgamesh was to be a beer drinker (though I am sure ancient Sumerian 'beer' was a very different beast from the modern stuff), there are places which are renowned for their beer throughout the world, for various reasons. Whether it is Plzeň for its pale lager, which spawned endless imitations, Dublin and the stout porter that would define not just a beer style but an entire country in the minds of many, or Munich for its dunkels, there are some cities where beer is the very stuff of life.

One such city is Burton upon Trent in the English Midlands, an area rich in the history of the Industrial Revolution. At one point the city was home to more than a dozen breweries including such world famous names as Bass, Allsopp and Ind Coope. To put that into context, Burton is about the same size as Charlottesville and in the city proper there are currently 2 breweries. When people think about the Burton brewing industry they think of a style of beer which has come to embody in many way the modern brewing industry, India Pale Ale. However, when in 1948 The Brewer's Art listed the four main types of beer being brewed in Britain they were 'pale ale, mild ale, stout and Burton'.

Burton Ale is one of those beer styles which is almost extinct, I say almost because it would seem from my reading (mostly Martyn Cornell's 'Amber, Gold and Black', various of Martyn's blog posts and magazine articles, and naturally Ron Pattinson's blog) that the style lives on in the Winter Warmer genre of strong English ales. In common with many beers, Burton Ale evolved. Over the years it went from being a super strong nut brown ale shipped to the Baltic region to the Victorian era beer made to a recipe of pure pale malt and Kentish hops to create a beer which was about 6% abv and slightly less hopped than the IPAs being sent from Burton to India. Seemingly, and again most of this information is from Martyn, as the Victorian age gave way to the 20th Century Burton Ale became darker again and then in the decades immediately after the Second World War, the style practically died as the public turned away from dark, sweet beers in favour of pale, bitter ones.


According to Martyn's book though, there are still some beers out there which meet the description of a Burton Ale, whether the paler 19th century version or the darker 20th. Fuller's 1845 is apparently based on a Burton style recipe from the Griffin Brewery, Timothy Taylor Ram Tam is an example of a lower strength dark Burton, and is, according to Martyn, a 'classic of the Burton Ale type'.

Of those three, I have only had the pleasure of the Fullers 1845, and a mighty great pleasure it is, but I have it in mind to try creating some clone recipesof the various stages in the development of Burton Ale for my homebrewing this year. Brewing old beers is one of my favourite types of history (and history is probably one of my favourite things in general), the type you can drink.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nostalgic Beer Photos

Mrs Velkyal and I love taking trips. When we lived in Prague we would quite often, as in every other month or so, go off on a jolly. Most of the time we stayed in the Czech Republic, going to places like ?esky Krumlov or Liberec, sometimes though we would jump on a plane, such as we did for Ireland and the UK. We haven't done much of that kind of thing since we got to the US, usually if we take a trip it is down to South Carolina to visit family. This weekend though we are staying in Virginia but getting out of town for a couple of days and going to Williamsburg.

We first went to Williamsburg with my parents earlier this year, and we liked it immediately. We've been back a couple of times since, in order to go to the water park, but this weekend we'll be wandering around the town itself a bit more. Naturally there is a beer activity planned for the trip, well possibly two if you include maybe meeting up with fellow blogger and homebrewer E.S. Delia in Richmond on our way back. On our first trip down there I picked up a mixed case of beer from the Williamsburg Alewerks, including the brown ale I wrote about some time ago. At the recent River Bend Beer Festival, Williamsburg Alewerks had the best beer of the 13 I tried, an imperial stout with coffee - if I remember rightly it was called Coffeehouse Stout and bloody marvellous it was too! Hopefully then at the weekend I will pick up some more, and maybe fill a growler or two with it, we'll see.

Thinking about this trip got me in a slightly nostalgic mood, and I was looking back at some of the beer related pics Mrs Velkyal and I took on our various trips, and so here are some of them....


The bar in Dublin's Bull and Castle


The amber lager from Hotel Pegas in Brno


A lovely pair at Purkmistr near Plzeň.


The bottom of a glass of Fuller's 1845, drunk in Bicester.

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