Amateur Night

New Year's Beers

New Year’s Eve, like Christmas Eve, is amateur night, only more so. Those people who only drink once or twice a year, who therefore haven’t put in the requisite training, come out to drink. The bars are too crowded, too many people don’t know how to get served, there’s an air of desperate fun.

And then, once oblivion has been almost reached, a long walk home through cold and ice and fog and…

I’ve done my fair share of New Year’s Eves and, whilst I often fear we jinx each year, the thought that the hangover on 1 January marks the point from which things can only get better is not reassuring.

I have in a Angels and Demon’s Racing Tiger 4.2%, a Gaddis Black Pearl Oyster Stout 6.2%, a Canterbury Belgo Russian Imperial Stout 9.1% and a ‘t Kolleke Jheronimus 7%, with Crème de Cassis, sloe gin and a run of whiskies if that doesn’t do the trick.

And nibbles. And the bedside lamp already on.

Advertisements

The Cremorne of Plenty

Rob and I have been going through an old document which lists pubs, trying to pin down every location we can. There are clearly mistakes — repetitions, a confused name (probably). Not only have most of them gone, but their streets have gone too — I reckon a dozen were on the ring road, with the Flying Horse the last to go (it is now The Corner House).

In one case, the handwriting defeated us. It begins Cre–, but after that, I’m not sure.

After a bit of head scratching, I wonder if it might not be “Cremona”, as in violins. The duchy was conquered by the French in 1701, before becoming Austrian. Is it a pub name commemorating a battle?

And then googling around, I stumbled across the word “Cremorne”.

As it happens there is a pub of this name in Sheffield, The Cremorne, on London Road.

There was a horse, Cremorne, who ran twenty-races 1871-73, but was based at Rufford Abbey in Nottinghamshire.

There was also a clipper, The Cremorne, active from 1863 and missing in 1870 en route to Liverpool.

But, more to the point, there were pleasure gardens in London (and Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney) called Cremorne Gardens. They were painted by Whistler and little survives. I recall mention of pleasure gardens attached to one of the Canterbury breweries, then located within the abbey grounds and one witness writes:

The tea-gardens connected with the public-house adjoining the brewery, and part of the sacred building of St. Augustine, on Lady Wootton’s Green, presented, at the time I am referring to, a kind of Cremorne on a small scale. The tea-gardens connected with the public-house adjoining the brewery, and part of the sacred building of St. Augustine, on Lady Wootton’s Green, presented, at the time I am referring to, a kind of Cremorne on a small scale.

I don’t think we have an address, I haven’t found any other mention yet, but I wonder if this is it.

Alternatively, The Cremorne was a porn magazine published in 1882. You never know.

 

 

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

A Beginning…

I’ve been claiming I’ve been researching beer and breweries for at least four years now, and I’ve probably spent more time in meetings about !impact! than I have doing yer actual research.

I’ve downloaded articles on real ale and I put together a list of Canterbury breweries — which was superseded by the Kentish Brewers and the Brewers of Kent volume — and I wandered around Canterbury in search of evidence of those breweries. I borrowed volumes of writing by Habermas to understand some of the critical frameworks and … renewed them and returned them. I tried to understand Kentishness (and ishness of Kent…(

The problem seems to be that with research topics overflowing on science fiction and the daily grind of teaching, I keep finding the headspace to find out what I want to research. Given I tend to work by stuffing my brain and finding what gloms together, it is slow work.

And now I’ve been offered some money to employ someone to do some research for me — mainly to find things I need to research — although what with it being the end of the year the last thing I need is more work…

Still, in April Robert Mcpherson and I put together a poster comparing two pubs and their drinking styles for a conference and the ideas are beginning to flow.

I note, in no particular order:

  • the cultivation of barley in Kent and in particular Thanet;
  • the likely first use of hops in Kent outside mainland Europe, the tradition of Kent(ish) hops and the (former) Wye hop research centre;
  • the end result of mergers and closures that left Shepherd Neame as the only brewery in Kent by about 1978 and the microbrewery renaissance post-2000;
  • the micropub movement which began near Canterbury and seemed to be centered on East Kent (but I see has spread);
  • the urban myth that Canterbury had a pub for every day of the week.

I think in the long term that I want to explore ideas such as:

  • local vs global;
  • connoisseurship vs binge;
  • craft vs mechanisation;
  • heritage vs innovation;
  • festival vs session

in relation to real ale and real ale drinkers in the Canterbury area.

In the mean time, I want to get a historical context. I’m putting 1800 as a starting date as a point at which the industrialisation of brewing is likely to have increased, with steam power and railways coming along in the 1830s.* There is the Continental Blockade from 1806-14 that damaged the trade with Baltic ports and led to new markets being sought. It is likely to cover the rise and fall of breweries and pubs.

I started a week or so back, with a map of Canterbury from the 1870s and started to note the locations of pubs — some still there, some repurposed, many missing with no trace. I found the locations of some of the breweries and malt houses. TwoThree of these even seem to survive (ETA: the one behind the Maiden’s Head survives only as I single wall, I suspect, if that).

And I set Rob off looking at catalogues of archives.

The first port of call, of course, is the cathedral and its archive and a bundle that looked of immediate use. First, of course, I needed my CARN card:

card

This makes me feel like a proper researcher.

And so we spent several hours, making notes of scores of pubs, building up the picture piece by piece. I’m hoping that I’m going to find a name for every pub on my map. And there are clearly nuggets of gold to be panned for.

 

* A little knowledge, of course, being a dangerous thing.

 

 

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.

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.

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