Friday, 27 January 2023

239 Seconds? When the Guinness pour sped up ...

In 1965 The Belfast Telegraph carried the following advertisement for draught Guinness Extra Stout...

'Guinness Extra Stout on Draught. Served the new way. Ulster's draught drinkers can't get enough of it. Because when they ask for it in their favourite bars they know they'll always get a pint that's well-drawn. Perfectly conditioned. And in half the time it used to take. Draught Extra Stout is finding its way into more and more good bars every day. Look for it in your favourite, and try the smooth creamy goodness of it. And see if you don't ask for more.'
Ignoring the emphasising on 'conditioned' in the advert - which was possibly a way of making the kegged product sound more 'legitimate' - we will focus instead on the words 'in half the time it used to take,' and although it is unclear if they mean 'new' draught Guinness is now quicker to serve than when it was first launched in 1959 or just quicker compared to the older cask porter, we can see how at this time the speed of the pour and serve is seen as an important selling point by the marketeers in the company.

A far cry from a few decades later when Guinness's marketing emphasis changed to slow being better than fast. A quick poured Guinness was by then - and still is - seen as an abomination.

I guess we can put it down to them finding out that 119.5 seconds is the optimum pour time, can't we...?!

Liam K

(I was reminded of this advert during an exchange with The Beer Nut on Twitter.)

All written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and can not be reproduced elsewhere without full credit to its source and a link back to this post.

The page that carried this advertisement was marked © Independent News and Media PLC and I have received permission to reproduce it here. All rights reserved. Sourced via The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).

Friday, 13 January 2023

More Rare Old Dublin Beer Labels - Manders' Brewery

If you mention a brewery on James' Street in Dublin to most people they will automatically think of Guinness and probably just of them. But back in the late 19th century the street, and this general area of Dublin, was home to quite a few breweries. Indeed Alfred Barnard noted in his famous history-recording books on the breweries of these island back in 1889 that from the top of the nearby-ish Anchor brewery he 'could distinguish half-a dozen-breweries', and almost certainly one of those was the Manders' site, although it had been bought a couple of years previously by its near neighbour The Phoenix Brewery . (Phoenix relaunched Manders as an ale brewery in the middle of 1896.)
Robert Manders & Co. (known as Manders & Powell until 1851) operated from 112-116 James' Street - quite close to its more famous rival - and these stout labels were registered in 1876 and were in use for 'more than 15 years previous' according to to their source - The Brewers' Guardian from June 21st 1881. They show the breweries trademark of a dove and olive branch and also - seemingly - Robert Manders' signature. They pay more that a passing resemblance to Guinness's labels but in truth many labels looked quite similar at that time.

They are yet another nice find and again worth pulling back into our lost brewing history, Manders brewery itself deserves more of its own history to be recorded too but that's a subject for another post ...

Liam K

The referenced volume was sourced via Google Books. All written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and cannot be reproduced elsewhere without permission, full credit to its sources, and a link back to this post. In other words, don't be that guy ...

Wednesday, 11 January 2023

D'arcy's Extra Stout - A Found (Again) Irish Beer Label

I'm easily pleased.

Actually, that isn't true at all, but there are certain things that do bring a child-like grin of surprise to my face, such as finding the facsimile of a label for a long lost Irish beer. (Acquiring the actual label might even cause a small giggle of pleasure to escape.) I guess we all have our wants, needs and desires ...

So imagine me sitting at my computer researching D'arcy's brewery in Dublin for a new project and suddenly the above image pops up. Okay, so I have posted this image before, but that was a poor quality version from a newspaper source, which I cleaned and sharpened as best as I could. This is a wonderfully crisp and verifiable copy from an interesting source - The British, Foreign, and Colonial Tradesmarks' Directory from 1866 which also contains labels from English and Scottish breweries.

Anyhow, I felt it was worth creating a new post for this new version of the label - now I just need to find the actual recipe and brew it!

Liam K.

(Directory link is here.)

All written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and cannot be reproduced elsewhere without permission, full credit to its sources, and a link back to this post. In other words, don't be that guy ...


Tuesday, 20 December 2022

Brewing History: An Early Mention of (West) India Pale Ale...?

A couple of interactions on social media recently regarding the term 'India Pale Ale' both - East and West - got me digging into references to the term, and the earliest I could find via my go-to newspaper archive was this advertisement in a Barbados newspaper from March 1824:

It is certainly a nice early reference to to the term 'India Pale Ale' although it is with regard to the West Indies version, and Edd Mather has asserted it was darker than the 'East' version as referenced in the below-linked post by Gary Gillman. (I will list all references flagged during that interaction at the end of this post too, including one from Alan McLeod and from Martyn Cornell regarding EIPA.)

It does make me wonder if the term West India Pale Ale - purely as a descriptor - predates the use of East India Pale Ale? It is probable of course that both terms were in use well before this time but seeing it in print certainly gives, at the very least, a time-stamp to its use and perhaps how its meaning was perceived. (I have no doubt we will come across earlier examples as more printed material is digitised but it is important to record these these references when we find them.)

What is certainly of interest to me and Irish brewing history is that Lane's of Cork were using the descriptor for their West India Porter - a product they were relatively famous and well-known for - earlier in print, as this advertisement from the same newspaper but from March 1821 shows:


Again this is meaningless in a way but it is good to record these things, and it is certainly of interest to see it in print. (Incidentally, I have a huge amount of scans of documents from the Murphy's Archive in Cork University, and in a few brewing logs there are references and recipes for 'West India' beers that need analysing and time spent on them, they don't show which brewery they are from but the could be from Lane's given the movement of personnel between all the Cork breweries and their more recent merges? I need to get back into those soon.)

Anyhow, there is lots of more information written by others for you to read through but it certainly is a subject that needs more digging into, if quite carefully given the geography, history and other implications of the commercial enterprises.

More reading that came from that original interaction:

Gary Gillman: 1829 Canadian References to India Pale Ale & a follow up here West and East India Madeira: Lessons for Beer

Martyn Cornell: The earliest use of the term India pale ale was … in Australia?

Edd Mather: J & R TENNENT : ALES 1830 - 1831

Alan McLeod : More References To That Shadowy Taunton Ale

Also:

I have posted previously about Lane's Brewery in Cork.

Liam K

West India Pale Ale mention - Barbados Mercury and Bridge-town Gazette - Saturday 27 March 1824
Lane's Porter mention - Barbados Mercury and Bridge-town Gazette - Saturday 24 March 1821
(Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Licence.  Attributed to the National Archives of Barbados)

All written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and cannot be reproduced elsewhere without permission, full credit to its sources, and a link back to this post. Newspaper image © The British Library Board - All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) from whom I have received permission to display this image on this site.

Thursday, 15 December 2022

Pub History: More on Mulled Porter - Rare Recipes & Mulled Beef?

In my last post on the subject, I established that mulled porter was certainly something that was available in public houses in Ireland - and elsewhere of course - the 19th century. I even discovered that specially designed or adapted mulling 'machines' sat on the bars of public houses for serving the mulled porter itself, but I did not discuss in any great detail what recipe was being used to create this hot drink.

Finding clear information on what mulled porter actually contained, apart from the heated beer itself, has proved to be a little tricky, as although there are many recipes for mulled porters and ales in old (and new) recipe books, pinning down what exactly was in the versions sold in bars in Ireland in the 1800s has been almost impossible.

One point to make is that sometimes 'mulled' just meant heated porter with nothing added to it, akin to the old much-mentioned method of just sticking a hot poker into the beer and hey presto there you had mulled porter. I have no doubt that this may have been the case in certain establishments - with or without the poker - but I did come across some other Irish non-recipe-book references that mention ingredients.

A Louth enquirer in The Farmer's Gazette from 18th of January 1868 regarding a recipe for mulled porter or ale gets the response that it contains sugar and nutmeg or ginger. Also, in Saunders's News-Letter from the 28th of July 1854 there is a brief mention in a published letter of a 'mulled porter you used to make when we were in Dublin, with plenty of nutmeg grated on top of it.' A few other online references mention both ginger, nutmeg, and sugar as well as - less often - cinnamon, which would lead to us to believe that if and when it was spiced it was mostly with these ingredients, either mixed or on their own perhaps? Hardly definitive proof but we can see that there is at least some record of these spices being used in general in Ireland if not specifically in pubs unfortunately. 

Mulled porter was not a uniquely Irish drink of course, and I am certainly focussing more so on Irish public houses here, but in Scotland and England there are quite a few mentions of sugar alone being used in mulled porter, and no spice at all is recorded. More interestingly, there were also specific mixes for adding to porter available in England, and possibly in Ireland too given the close trading ties. For example, an advertisement in The Bristol Daily Post on the 26th of October 1864 carries the following claim:

The only Genuine and Original
Lemon and Spice Extract
for making
Mulled Porter and Wine

An earlier advertisement from the same company but in the rival Bristol Daily Post in August of the same year names the mix as 'Caird's Lemon and Spice Extract' but unfortunately does not give us the recipe, just mentioning that it 'combines in soluble form the quintessence of the most esteemed Spices with the fragrance and agreeable acidity of the Lemon' and that it 'comes cheaper than using spice in the ordinary way'  - it could also be used in plum puddings and cakes, and all for just 1s a bottle!

And The Morning Advertiser from the 30th of January 1860 has this:

I'll Warm Yer. - Fettle for Mull'd Porter 8s per gallon, Ale Spice, 10s. 6d.

This was a spiced syrup that could be added to the porter for an 'instant' drink. (The word 'fettle' has a similar meaning to mulled, but seems to be more used in England as I could not find many references to the term in Irish publications.)

I did find a bar-related recipe for Porter Spice in the London printed New Guide for the Hotel, Bar, Restaurant Butler, and Chef by 'Bacchus' & 'Cordon Bleu' from 1885 that lists cloves, lemon rinds, cinnamon, allspice, coriander seed and caraway seed to which was added spirit, which was filtered after a fortnight and that spiced spirit added to syrup and bottled. It was suggested that a teaspoon be added to a pint of porter and then it could be sweetened to taste. I would imagine that this might be quite close to the proprietary syrup mentioned above, but no doubt there were a few variants of the actual spice mix.

This recipe certainly seems like one worth trying out and I am sure it would work in a hot whiskey too!

So to sum up, I could find no exact recipe for what was added to the hot porter in Irish public houses - it may have been just heated, possibly with sugar added - but I suspect it was also slightly spiced with ginger and/or nutmeg. Maybe it had a little lemon added too, and perhaps some used an instant syrup mix. In truth it was probably served a number of different ways depending on the pub and on their customers' tastes.

Incidentally, a mention in The Enniscorthy News & County of Wexford Advertiser on the 30th of May 1863 mentions that some cattle that had to swim for shore after a boat capsized were given a 'plentiful supply of mulled porter, sugar and ginger' to get them back to rights. The giving of mulled porter as a restorative to beast as well as man seems to have been quite common given the number of mentions I came across in veterinarian advice columns in newspapers around this time. So it looks like giving beer to cows is not just for certain Wagyu farmers, it was used here too and I suspect for similar reasons - as an appetite stimulant to get, in this case, sick cows to eat more, which would hopefully help with what ailed them!

Liam K.

(If you want further old recipes for spiced beers you could seek out Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks by William Terrington, as well as this post by me on the subject.)

All written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and cannot be reproduced elsewhere without permission, full credit to its sources, and a link back to this post. Newspaper image © The British Library Board - All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) from whom I have received permission to display this image on this site.

Thursday, 8 December 2022

Bottled Irish Beer History: Farewell my Handsome Friend

I am sure that most pubgoers in Ireland are familiar with The Large Bottle of Guinness - or Smithwicks, Macardles, Harp and even Bulmers - and many might think that this bottle is around for ages, and indeed it has been - but perhaps not for as long as you think.

I found and advertisement from January 1976 (which I need to remind myself is a long time ago to many) that pinpoints the change to these 'new' style of bottles from the chunky, squatter earlier version.

The advertisement is quite nice to see as it shows the old pint bottle and the new one side-by-side, illustrating the shape and size comparison:


The wording reads:

Everything changes, even the Guinness bottle.
Everything changes.
Except Guinness,
And so we say farewell, sadly, to yet another old friend.

The Guinness bottle with the handsome shoulders. We loved it for the Guinness inside. And that remains unchanged.
So, let's toast farewell to an old friend, with an old friend. Guinness.
It was probably phased in over a few months, so possibly from late 1975 to early 1976 but at least we now know when those 'handsome' shouldered pint bottles sadly disappeared.

(Incidentally, The Small Bottle, the half pint version, disappeared here in 1995, according to an article in The Enniscorthy Guardian of that year.)

Liam K.

All written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and cannot be reproduced elsewhere without permission, full credit to its sources, and a link back to this post. Image © Independent News and Media PLC created courtesy of The British Library Board - All Rights Reserved - and via  The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) I have received permission from both parties to display this image on this site as non-commercial and informative content.

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Pub History: A 'Summut' - Plain, Stick & Hinion ...

One aspect of pub snacking that I have a minor issue with is the pairing of a pint of stout with a packet of cheese and onion crisps, with the implication that one makes the other better. The cheese is perfectly acceptable of course but onion with a nice stout - or any good beer - clearly ruins the flavour profile of the beverage, changing it completely as your palate is assailed and altered by the harsh onion compounds. Admittedly this is less of an issue with one of the blander of the macrobrewed stouts, and it does not mean I have never partaken of such a combination, but it is certainly not a mix that any 'Craft Beer & Food Pairing Guru' would be happy with I assume - or at least not if they are being entirely honest about how such a strong flavour is workable with any fine and flavoursome stout or porter.

But it appears this combination of onions and stout is not new, so let me transcribe here a report that appeared in a couple of newspapers in May of 1837:

DUBLIN POLICE - Henry-street Office.
Pleasant Salute. — Thomas Mulvey preferred a charge of assault against Thomas Pleasant and Ellen Beverly. He stated, after having performed his daily business, and received his daily hire, he stepped into a public house to get pint of summut.
Mr. Blacker — What do you call a pint of summut?
Mulvey — Lord, your worship! not know what that is! My eyes! Every one knows that — a pint of porter with a stick in it, and a raw hinion.
Mr. Blacker — Mercy on me! — you beast! What you want the onion for, and what do you call a stick in it? 
Mulvey — Blessed are the ignorant, for they know nothing! A stick means a crapper of strong water, and the hinion to give it flavour.
Mr. Blacker — Very well, Sir; go on with your charge. 
Mulvey — Well, after taking a drop of natheral refreshment, I was coming out, when this here man and this here woman came up, and without any more ado, set on me and beat me in the manner you see; the female little devil got stones in her hand, and beat my head with them.
Ellen Beverly — No, your worship, it was only a key. 
Mr. Blacker — I will fine you and your husband 10s. 
Pleasant — She is not wife — she is better off; she is under my protection. 
Mr. Blacker—How dare you, Sir! It makes your crime worse. Get out of my sight.

There is quite a bit to take on board here. Both a 'stick' and a 'crapper' are terms for a measure of spirits - usually whiskey but a 'summut' is a new term for me, and I am assuming the word is an alternative version of 'something' as common in certain northern English dialects. How it appeared in Dublin I do not know and perhaps it has a separate meaning.

Leaving all of that aside the big thing here is an onion being served in a pint of porter and whiskey - or at least that is implied by the comments of Mr. Mulvey. This seems odd to the extreme and I can find no other reference to either a 'summut' or the practice of serving onion in a beer anywhere else - as of yet.

We have all probably had IPAs that certainly had a garlicky flavour from the hops, so maybe this is not as bizarre as it sounds - providing it is true of course, and Mr. Mulvey our witness was not making up the drink for comical reasons, although it would be a strange place and situation in which to do so. 

There are also onions that are quite mild and can be eaten a little like apples, and perhaps they were less 'oniony' in the early 19th century anyway. Certainly pickled onions are still acceptable in certain places as a pub snack but the act of pickling does tend the mute the onion flavour, and they are usually a special variety too.

I think we need to take the whole reference with a pinch of salt - to introduce another savoury element - and it is certainly not a recipe I plan to recreate, but it is certainly a thought-provoking , or perhaps stomach-churning, combination.

Perhaps I have discovered the origin of the need for some of you to have that packet of cheese and onion flavour crisps with your pint of stout!?

Liam K.

All written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and cannot be reproduced elsewhere without permission, full credit to its sources, and a link back to this post. Newspaper image © The British Library Board - All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) from whom I have received permission to display this image on this site.