William Henry Hudson’s Afoot in England (1909) is a memoir/guide book, which takes a snooty tone in places. This passage (from the Project Gutenberg etext) caught my eye because it mentions the Anglo-Bavarian brewery in Shepton Mallet, Somerset:
I went on a Saturday to Shepton Mallet. A small, squalid town, a “manufacturing town” the guide-book calls it. Well, yes; it manufactures Anglo-Bavarian beer in a gigantic brewery which looks bigger than all the other buildings together, the church and a dozen or twenty public-houses included. To get some food I went to the only eating-house in the place, and saw a pleasant-looking woman, plump and high-coloured, with black hair, with an expression of good humour and goodness of every description in her comely countenance. She promised to have a chop ready by the time I had finished looking at the church, and I said I would have it with a small Guinness. She could not provide that, the house, she said, was strictly temperance. “My doctor has ordered me to take it,” said I, “and if you are religious, remember that St. Paul tells us to take a little stout when we find it beneficial.”
“Yes, I know that’s what St. Paul says,” she returned, with a heightened colour and a vicious emphasis on the saint’s name,”but we go on a different principle.”
The Anglo-Bavarian brewery opened in 1864, making pale ale, but is really notable as the first brewery in Britain to make lager. It employed German brewers from 1873 onward, and won awards worldwide for it’s German-style beer. Of course, when World War I kicked off in 1914, they changed the name to “The Anglo”, but it was too late: the Bavarian flags and symbols all over the building led to it being trashed. It closed in 1920. The building is still there, but in bad shape (read more at English Heritage).
Nowadays, the most famous drink being made in Shepton Mallet is Babycham.
4 replies on “The Anglo-Bavarian Brewery”
Hello! Welcome to the blog world. Can you tell us something about yourself? Who are you and what do you aim to do?
I like your articles
Thanks! There are two of us, one of whom is a gentleman. The other is a lady. We live in London. We’re not really trying to do anything, other than exorcise our obsession with beer and brewing.
I always tell people I come from where Babycham is made!
I went to school outside Shepton Mallett for 6 years and my parents live just down the road and I had no idea about this brewery. I worked for the Ashvine Brewery in Frome (just down the road) for a summer cleaning the barrells. There’s nothing quite like knocking the cork out of a half empty barrell which has been sitting in the sun for a week and being showered with stale beer and yeast!
Hi, I am researching the Davison family of Lodon and Morpeth in Northumberland.
I have come across a reference to George Scamell and Chares E Davison forming a partnership in 1864 – 1865 to produce Anglo Bavarian beer.
Any information on this partnership would be welcomed and iI wonder if the G Scamell comes from the family that made Scamell lorries. The information has conme from a branch of the Davison family living in Australia