Beer history

History of Burton-upon-Trent


The official history of the county of Stafford[shire], available through the excellent British History Online, has lots of fascinating information on Burton-upon-Trent and the history of brewing. For example, this evocative passage on the birth of India Pale Ale:

Although the Baltic market was not completely destroyed by the Napoleonic blockade, it came to an end in the mid 1820s as the Baltic countries acquired their own breweries and imposed high tariffs on English imports. Burton brewers, therefore, had to develop other markets, especially in London and South Lancashire, and further afield in North America and Australia: in 1822 the Wilson-Allsopp brewery advertised for sale a quantity of ‘rich pale and fine-flavoured Ale, of uncommon strength’ which it was unable to export to Russia. Also in 1822 Samuel Allsopp’s head brewer succeeded in reproducing a bitter, sparkling ale which London brewers had been for some time exporting to India. The qualities of the local water made the pale ale brewed in Burton especially suited to longdistance transport, and other local brewers followed suit, with the result that by 1832 the Allsopp and Bass breweries dominated the exports to India. Burton pale ale also became popular in the home market.

Rich, pale and fine-flavoured, of uncommon strength… so, a kind of English answer to a maibock?

5 replies on “History of Burton-upon-Trent”

Please could you blog about the role of carbon dioxide in beer making. My opinion: no real beer should have carbon dioxide pumped into it. CO2 is not listed as an ingredient in the Reinheitsgebot.

I’m in a bad mood and all I’ve got to drink is freezin, fizzy, Australian beer.

Also you should go and visit the Hop Exchange near London Bridge. It’s offices now but the building is still quite impressive.

Hi Charlie, nice to hear from you. I’ve been considering something on the subject of carbonation so perhaps there will be something shortly…

PS – Have you seen (on our blogroll) – he blogs about Australian stuff as well as New Zealand

Hello, Charlie. Good idea re: the hop exchange. We’ve got a post about good places to drink near London Bridge in the pipeline, so maybe we’ll include it as a sightseeing diversion in that.

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