Thursday, 7 June 2018

Beer History: London Calling - Thrale's Exports to Dublin in 1771

(So it's been a couple of months since my last post, this was due to a number of reasons but mostly a mixture of apathy towards blogging and perhaps a little lethargy due to 'real life' work, family and other personal issues. I've always wrote for myself and not for others, so it didn't bother me greatly that I hadn't posted something new here in a while, as I knew I'd return to it ... and when I spotted my page views go over the 100k count (Meagre compared to others, I know!) it prompted me to dust off my account and put something new up. I'm not sure how often I'll post in the future but let's take it one at a time.)

Here's an interesting advertisement from March 1771 that deserved more than a tweeted reference so I decided to put it here, as it will hopefully have a little more longevity and permanence. It shows the prices and styles of John Grant's imports from Thrale's Brewery into his store on Jervais Street, Dublin ... London Porter, London Brown Stout and London Pale Stout are all listed.

There's nothing new here in the wording if taken as separate pieces of information, from the beers to the sizes listed - even to the mention of a Winchester Gallon, which preempted the imperial gallon I believe - but taken all together it's still, perhaps, an interesting snapshot into what beers were being imported and their relative costs and volumes.

Freeman's Journal 1771

Some of the wording is interesting too, I read 'NEAT as imported' to mean not diluted, which sounds like it was a common practice back then. 'Allowance for casks returned sweet' meant you couldn't return a dirty or infected cask, a 'clean as you go' ethos perhaps in action in the late eighteenth century! The Pale Stout is described as having 'a bright Amber Colour', which is my first time reading a colour description for such a beer, as vague as it is. (Don't forget stout just meant strong at this point in time...) He specifies his casks are all made in London, is this a dig at Irish coopering abilities? Probably not, more to do with sizes/volume I'd imagine...

What we are missing of course is what they tasted like exactly, if only we had a time machine we could order some from William Halligan? Although if we did possess a time machine then getting beer samples would probably be low on our list of things to do...

Anyhow, it's nice to be back!


(With thanks as ever to my local library...)