Beer history quotes

Changing Tastes, 1968

“Overall the trend in beer tastes seems to be away from the sweet dark beers towards bitters, but there is the strange anomaly of the increase in both sweet and bitter stouts, the trends of which vary surprisingly from time to time… [And] there is evidence that the public is moving from the highly hopped bitter beers to a smoother and blander palate. Young people particularly seem to prefer this kind of beer, and their popularity has been boosted by the strange belief that light-coloured beers are alcoholically weaker and therefore safer with the breathalyzer.”

J.A.P. Charrington, President of Bass Charrington, The Times, 22 April 1968.

6 replies on “Changing Tastes, 1968”

there are still oddballs out there who believe a dark beer is stronger because it is, er, darker. Maybe it is something anthropological bouncing around in our skulls from the past when the darkness of the cave could have made people feel safer from predators and strong/dark beer makes us feel somehow safer from the travails of life hence the reason why we like dark pubs — on the other hand, reading what that guy says, nothing is black and white and you can draw on whatever stats you like to try and prove a point and sell whatever crap you want, whether it’s bread, beer or small bouncing balls.

When we spoke at the Eden Project the time before last, someone asked us if dark beer was stronger. It can have, or seem to have, more body, so perhaps that’s where the confusion comes from.

For many years there was a widespread belief that Guinness was much stronger (and more calorific) than it actually was because it was thick and dark.

Many people still think Guinness is “heavy”. That it is actually a “light” beer due to the large adjunct presence and low ABV is not understood and even when you tell people specifics, e.g. based on calorie counts, they don’t believe it. I think colour does have a lot to do with it but also the folk memory may retain the idea that stout is a heavy beer since at one time, it was.


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