Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know

Over the years most of my research has been about science fiction and related genres, or film, and whilst this has required researching new topics or periods, a lot of information has just seaped in over the years.

Whilst this project is not entirely from scratch, there’s an awfully lot of things I feel that I need to know even if it is never relevant (although I have various facts already acquired):

  • pubs (taverns, inns, alehouses, beerhouses)
    • locations, names, publicans, ties of specific pubs
    • licensing laws
  • ale/beer
    • types
    • duty and excise
    • legislation
  • hops
    • species, cultivation, harvest
    • transportation
    • hop exchanges
    • storage
    • Wye and hops
  • malt
    • species, cultivation, harvest
    • transportation
    • regulation and taxation
    • malt houses
  • water
    • sources
    • Burtonisation
  • yeast
    • types
  • breweries
    • location and ownership
    • products
    • markets
    • marketing
    • estates
    • mergers

photo (9)

  • railways
    • links to London
    • links to coast
  • Canterbury
    • economic context c. 1750-present
    • paper
    • leather
    • tourism
    • revisions to town plans
    • 1930s planning
    • Post-World War II rebuilding
    • ring road development
    • relation to Kent
    • Kent and Canterbury identities
  • overseas markets
    • Baltic states/Russia
    • Napoleonic Blockade
    • Africa
    • India
    • Australia

Kent Beer Festival: 40 Favourite Ales

In the run up the the fortieth CAMRA Kent Beer Festival, they called for people’s nominations for favourite beers. Forty beers were chosen, and it’s an often depressing list. I’m thinking that I can probably only sample five or six pints, so there’s no point having something I could drink elsewhere. I’m also aware the poltical background to some of the breweries, so some might leave an ideological aftertaste…

 

Adnams: Broadside; Southwold Bitter

These are fine, but pretty universal – my objection is that I’m someone who would rather try something new. Ghost Ship is better than either of these.

 

Canterbury Brewery: Red Rye

I like this, but I can often get it at the mother ship, the Foundry. Do try it if you have the chance.

 

Black Sheep: Best Bitter

Offshoot of the Theakston’s family. It’s ok, but not great.

 

Brains: SA

Fairly well distributed, but I’ve never had a great pint of it

 

Brakspears: Bitter

And the same. From the Marston’s stable.

 

Bristol Beer Factory: Independence Ale

Now you’re talking. I’ve had bottles from this brewery, but I want to try this

 

Burning Sky: Devil’s Rest

A new-comer, from the ex-head brewer of Dark Star. For what was meant to be fairly limited, this is getting in all the good pubs. I’ll give it a miss for now. (I prefer Plateau and Aurora.)

 

Butcombe: Bitter

Had a pint of this last night. Likable.

 

Dark Star: Hophead

Yes, please, but perhaps over familiar.

 

Fullers: ESB; London Pride

Fairly universal, but the parent company’s attitude to austerity means it’d have a sour taste. The potable is political.

 

Goachers: Fine Light Ale; Gold Star; Real Mild Ale

I don’t get Goachers as often as I like – more west Kent? Tempting to go with the Light Ale.

 

Greene King: IPA

Seriously? Andy in the New Inn keeps a fine pint of this, and it’s his bestseller, but I wouldn’t pay to go to a beer festival to drink it. Plus, Greene King’s attitude to tax is … awkward.
Harveys: Sussex Best Bitter

An old fashioned beer, faitly universal in the south east.

 

Hopdaemon: Golden Braid; Green Daemon; Incubus; Skrimshander

I used to drink a lot of Hopdaemon, but not recently. These are all fine.

 

Sarah Hughes: Dark Ruby Mild

I’ve always missed this brewery when I’ve been to pubs that Perfect Pint or the GBG claim have it – very tempting but I’m not a mild fan. One for later in the evening.

 

Oakham: Bishop’s Farewell; Citra

I think one of the earliest Citra beers. I’d happily drink either of these.

 

Old Dairy Brewery: Blue Top

My first Old Dairy was a Blue Top and it wasn’t good, but I’ve had better since and better Blue Top. Tempting.

 

Portobello: VPA

I like these beers. VPA is great, but I’ve had it a lot recently.

 

Ramsgate: Gadds No 5; Gadds No 7

Fairly common round these parts – again, I’d be wasting a pint to have one but they are good.

 

St Austell: Proper Job; Tribute

Fairly common in the New Inn; I think I prefer the Tribute, but again, too common.

 

Sharps: Doom Bar

Really? Seriously? You’d buy this at a beer festival? Yawn. I’d start ranting, but save it for…

 

Shepherd Neame: Master Brew Bitter; Bishop’s Finger

Fifty percent of pubs in Kent and Sussex must be Sheps. If you want to drink this, stay in your local. Bishop’s Finger is the better of the two.

 

Skinners: Betty Stogs

People rave about it, but I guess I’m not buying into the Cornish marketing. I’ve leave it for those who appreciate it.

 

Timothy Taylor: Landlord

An old favourite, but I’ll pass this time.

 

Thornbridge: Jaipur

Tougher to get than it used to be, one of the best beers ever. Fairness would make me squint at the link from the brewer’s owner Jim Harrison to the former CEO of A4E, Emma Harrison. Tough call. I may well be swayed, but my guess is it’ll go quickly.

 

Tonbridge Brewery: Rustic

I don’t see Tonbridge that often; tempting.

 

Wantsum: Hengist

Wantsum is frustrating, a bit hit and miss. Tempting.

 

Whitstable: East India Pale Ale

A former regular, which I’ve not had for a while. Very tempting.

 

Woodfordes: Wherry

Another old-fashioned beer, but is often at the New Inn.

Kentish Updates/Updates of Kent

Abigale seems to have ceased production.

New boys:

I thought there was one more – in Medway – but it’s resisting my googlefu (unless it’s Brupart, Cuxton, Rochester). I’ve read about so many in the county recently I’m forgetting what’s current and what’s gone. There’s Pig and Porter, but that’s Sussex, still to be listed.

Ah, I was right: Kettledrum, Rochester, with no web presence I can yet spot. There is talk of the Phoenix, Canterbury, setting up brewing.

Canterbury – 1838

A listing thanks to Edward Wilmot’s Eighty “Lost” Inns of Canterbury:

  • George Ash (36 Watling Street)
  • William Beer (St Augustine Brewery and 65 Burgate)
  • John Saunders Bennett (Longport Brewery)
  • Charles Benham (St George’s Place)
  • Flint & Co (Stour Street)
  • George Fortune (35 Watling Street)
  • George Hacker (Watling Street)
  • William Rigden and Harriet Delmar (Hawkes [sic? Hawks?] Lane)
  • Francis Saunders (North Lane)
  • William & George Wall (Northgate Brewery, Duck Lane)
  • Flint & Kingsford (St Dunstan’s Street)

I think Flint & Co is the only premises surviving – there’s a business centre called The Old Brewery Business Centre (or similar), with a first floor with slats that looks as if it could be a hop-drying room, and a courtyard.

Rigdens also had premises on Beer Cart Lane. There are a couple of surviving buildings with first floor hatches – assuming this is a clue to their use – but I don’t know enough about brick work to judge age. One of them has a CJW 1865 stone on the side. The former George & Hoy inn closed in 1918 (Wilmot 31) and was pulled down to make way for an electricity substation. The premises were run by Beers (George? Alfred?). Next to this is the Beer Cart Arms and on the other side of the road is 1970s-vintage former council building.

Would it make sense for the Beer Cart Lane brewery to back onto Rigden and Delmar on Hawks Lane? There’s one building surviving that looks faintly industrial, but the frontage is more reserved, as is everything on that side of the road until the corner (the restored Capital House, I think once a pub, the City of London, but I’m not convinced).

I need to spend a few days going through city directories and city centre maps (I’m sure I have an OS map for Canterbury from the nineteenth century) – I also need to go to Duck Lane to see if I can spot anything there. There seem to be most breweries in the Whitefriars quarter of the city – the tannery takes up the Greyfriars, of course.

Beating Around the Bush and Cheers to Chiswick

Having gone east, now west, to Westfield Stratford’s eviler twin, Westfield London in White City/Shepherd’s Bush. We’ll skip over Manet exhibition as irrelevant (absinthe?), and the walk via the Haunch of Venison to Bond Street underground and the Central line. Indeed we’ll skip over the greasy spoon breakfast I’d been aching for for a couple of weeks.

The main thing is a long walk in dusk through to Goldhawk Road – which enduring Googlemap and iMap fail as I could quite orientate the map with the territory and went three quarters of the way around a major roundabout. I’d planned to walk to Notting Hill and Chiswick, clearly not smart to do from Shepherd’s Bush, so settled for an off-license that sold Mocada (Notting Hil) and the long walk to Chiswick. I have a vague memory that I would be paying homage to The Falls. So be it.

The Duchess of Cambridge appears to be always on the point of becoming a brewpub – the opposite of always already – and have still not reached it, but have a number of handpumps and a CAMRA discount. Whilst Sambrook’s is local, and Marlow Rebellion is tasty, I ended up with a Shardlow England, marking some sporting event. Okay, but not great. Quite a large pub, I suspect several rooms knocked through.

Darkness settled as I left Goldhawk Road for Stambrook Road, and the left turn at Turnham Green, that revealed, as I feared, that the District Line was out of action, but at least gave me the opportunity to check out an Oxfam Bookshop. The offle, an Oddbins, had a range of Moncada, so I settled for a Notting Hill Golden Blonde. I need to return here in daylight, to check out the Hogarth and his Dog statue, and perhaps another look at the Lamb, hidden away down Barlew Mow Passage. This is an L-shaped bar, part devoted to food, and the brewery at the end closest to Chiswick High Street. A row of empty pumps didn’t inspire confidence, nor did two or three Shepherd Neame brews, but there was a Lamb Dark Ale. I wasn’t impressed, I have to say.

I worked out that I was two hours’ walk from Victoria, and whilst I could walk back to Shepherd’s Bush, it made more sense to walk to West Kensington for the District Line. I had an increasingly insistent bladder, but the toilets were closed in the shopping centre I found. It was a relief, as it were to find Hammersmith was open for the Picadilly Line, and I got back to Victoria, missing a train by a minute.

Time, then, for the Cask Pub and Kitchen, a pint of Redemption Urban Dusk – dark, smoky – and Redwillow Faithless XVII – a beetroot stout, of all things. Still, I’m no stout fan. Plenty of time for a stroll back to the station, and a bottle on the train. Next up either north or south – Highgate or Herne Hill… Although Haggerston is tempting.

Hack to Tap

On Friday I set out to Stratford as a means of tracking down some of the East London beers – and it made sense to get the Overground from Stratford So-Called International. (It would make sense to walk, but the Olympic legacy means you need to circumambulate the Olympic Village, tripling the distance.) Having by instinct sat at the front of the HS1, I exited the station by a difference escalator than usual and, in search of Caffe Nerd, realised I had found Tap East. I’ve been here twice before, but both times had taken rather longer routes back to the station. This may not be a useful recovery.

Hackney Central is convenient for the Cock Tavern, Mare Street, a single square room on a corner, entry through the corner. I’m guessing the space was subdivided at some point, but it’s a cavernous space dominated by dark wood. I didn’t count the hand pumps, but there were four Howling Hops, two Redemption, a Brodies, and something from the west country, along with five cider pumps. Tempting though the Redemption was, I decided to focus on two of the onsite beers – the Session Wit, which was delicious and it hardly felt like 3% and the Chocolate Stout 5.2%, which tasted okay, but I’m no stout fan. Rather than continuing with the Mild or the other stout, I decided to risk a Brodies Mocha, ticking off a second new-to-me brewery, but weighing in at a hefty 9% and tasting like MDF in a glass. Smoky, coffee, chocolatey, but dusty and not entirely pleasant.

I hit Mare Street and headed south – walking past London Fields where there is another brewery and buying a couple of their bottles for the train. I began to recognise where I was, having stayed in the area for a couple of nights, and cut left toward Victoria Park and the Britannia, where I was hoping for something from the Hackney Brewery. It’s a wide, shallow pub, with an area curtained off but clearly knocked through into a single room. It was one of those pubs that doesn’t seem to have enough tables for its size, but there was friendly dog visiting. The empty beer pumps were unpromising, but at opposite ends there was Laines Best and Hackney American Pale Ale. I risked something from Sussex – it’s Brighton – having had a poor Laines before. This, alas, ran to form – if this is Best, I don’t want second best – but the Hackney American Pale Ale at 4.5% was also poor. The Laines had a flavour of pear drops, and there was something off (sour) about the Hackney, making me wonder if this was a cellaring issue. I must try one elsewhere, but I’m in no mood to retry Laines.

Heading further east, into industrial decline, I located the Crate on the edge of the Olympic Park and next to what I take to be the river Lea. This has a post-industrial vibe, but of a 1980s municipal leisure centre feel, large white bricks, improvised seating in an l-shape around a slanting bar in front of the pizzeria cookery area. I think this place would be fun to come to; at least four beer pumps, with chalked pump faces. I went for the Golden Ale, which, although not unpleasant, had a bit of a generic craft beer taste at 3.8%, and their IPA at 5.4%, which was much more pleasant. I would definitely come back.

I walked to Hackney Wick station, noting a more direct route, and dropped some money drunkenly, and watched a train go by with an open door. Another arrived ten minutes later, packed, and I caught this back to Stratford. After some calories and a coffee, I found the Tap East and had a Tonic Ale 3% and had an IPA of some description. Whilst I like their three stouts, there’s something I don’t like about their ales. There’s a certain… soapiness… about them which doesn’t work for me.

And then, back to the train, and a bottle of London Fields, a Marynka IPA which was very tasty. (I understand marynka is a Polish variety of hops.)

So, four new breweries tried, but in retrospect staying in the Cock Tavern would have been smarter.

Breweries in Canterbury – A Start

These are just some notes on former breweries in Canterbury – partly taken from a useful webpage http://www.machadoink.com/The%20Breweries.htm, partly from Lesley Richmond and Alison Turton, The Brewing Industry: A Guide to Historical Records (Manchester: Manchester University Press), with contradictions between them. Primary research is called for, as well as much more.

No doubt there were more brewers in Canterbury. I’m guessing Bass had interests here in the late nineteenth century, but whether they brewed here or just owned a property, I don’t yet know.

ALFRED BEER & CO.
1770 founded by Mr Hill in Augustine’s Abbey gatehouse
1796 John Sauders Bennett partner with John Hill (founder’s son). William Beer replaces Hill.
1816 Bennett and Beer partnership dissolved
1844 Abbey bought and brewery moves to 9 Broad Street, son George Beer is partner
1850 Alfred new partner of William
1891 brewery bankrupt
1894 Alfred Walton sells brewery to Black Eagle Brewery, Westerham
1899 premises sold to Idris Mineral Company
1978 premises demolished for Magistrate’s Court

DANE JOHN BREWERY
c. 1840 J. B. Jude, Kent Brewery, Wateringbury, Kent
1875 corner of St John’s Lane and Watling Street sold by Michael Bass to George Ash
1878 Jude, Hanbury & Co.
1919 Jude, Hanbury & Co limited liability company
1923 acquire Ash’s East Kent Brewery (East Kent Brewery had been in Sandwich?)
1924 brewing transferred from Wateringbury to Canterbury
1929 acquired by Whitbread
1933 stops brewing
1936 brewery closed?
Now site of St Andrew’s Church

DEAN & SON??

LONGPORT BREWERY
c. 1826 by John Saunders Bennett who had co-run Alfred Beer

NORTHGATE BREWERY
On St John’s Hospital site
1923 acquired by Fremlins

RIGDEN AND DELMAR’S BREWERY
c. 1750 Rigden founded in Faversham
1824 Rigden, Pierce & Co., Beercart Lane
c. 1829 Rigden and Delmar, Rigden, Delmar and Pierce associated with Canterbury
1922 merges with George Beer, trade as George Beer and Rigdens
1932 Charles Rigden dies

STAR BREWERY
c. 1845. built by George Beer against the wall 112 Broad Street – George was son of William Beer of Alfred Beer.
1877 George Beer & Co
1883 sold to William Charles Newton Chapman, Stanley Hamilton Lound and Francis Gibbon Oliver as the George Beer Company
1887 acquire Dover Brewery Company
1919 George Beer & Co Ltd
1922 merges with W.E. and J. Rigdens, trade as George Beer and Rigdens
1927 public company
1931 acquire Breeds and Co, Hastings Brewery
1949 acquired by Fremlins
1935 demolished

ST. DUNSTAN’S BREWERY
1780 Robert Fenner’s brewing at Stour Street purchased by son-in-law Thomas Flint
1797 founded at Roper House, 33 St Dunstan’s Street by Frederick Flint and Sons
1892 Flint & Sons Ltd as limited liability company
1903 bought by Flint & Co Ltd
1904 acquires F.A. White, Stourmouth Brewery, Stourmouth, Kent
1923 acquired by Alfred Leney & Co Ltd, Phoenix Brewery, Dover
1929 stops brewing
1939 becomes hotel
1959 company liquidated