Beer history pubs

Beer geeks and buying local

Beer advert: Magee Marshall & Co, Bolton

The Mass Observation book The Pub and the People continues to offer eye-opening nuggets which suggest that beer and pubs aren’t so different now to how they were nearly eighty years ago.

1. Some landlords prided themselves on buying from small, local producers

The landlord here says he gets his beer from a small brewery in Derby Street. He doesn’t care for large breweries, he says: “It’s all done with chemicals”… beer from big breweries goes off in no time…

And why was this particular landlord so fussy? Because he’d identified a new market.

2. There were a small number of beer geeks

Most pub-goers simply drink the cheapest available beer, while a minority exist for whom quality is most important.

This statement is backed up an account from the same landlord quoted above of  the word-of-mouth buzz which surrounded a particularly well-matured barrel of bitter which sat in his cellar for six months before being tapped when a stranger visited the pub.

The stranger said that it was wonderful — ‘like wine’. This man took to calling in regularly for it, until the barrel was finished. It went soon because he told his friends, and they came in for it too.

Did he use Twitter or the Ratebeer forums? Or maybe he wrote about it on his blog?

Another drinker made this statement to the survey team:

There is, I think, many different brands of beer which so far I have not had the Pleasure of Tasting. Those I have, such as: Magee’s, Walker’s, Hamer’s, Cunningham’s, and one or two others, all have a nice Flavour… The Price question I will not Dispute, because I do not Drink Excessively, so I don’t favour any particular Beer.

Idiosyncratic prose style aside, isn’t that a familiar sounding beer geek statement?

3 replies on “Beer geeks and buying local”

I would wager that there are dozens or perhaps a hundred old notebooks around the country, slowly decaying in a box in the shed or the attic marked “Grandad Sid’s stuff”, containing extensive notes of beers drunk and pasted-in labels. Each compiled by a man who thought he was the only person in the world with this hobby.

That’s really funny—a few months ago I wrote a post about the menu from Stanwix Hall, a hotel operating in Albany during the 19th-century. Their menu from June 21, 1880 offered 6 kinds of beer—both ale and lager, like Bass, Guinness and Younger’s—but none made in Albany even though there we, at least, ten breweries operating in the city at that time .

My guess was that because Stanwix Hall was a fancy-pants kinda’ joint, and as is now, so was then—everything that’s not from where your from is always better, right?

Here’s the original post, with a pic of the menu and the hotel.

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