Ron Pattinson has recently been sharing tons of data on the quality of mild in the 1920s, including its clarity, as judged by assessors at Whitbread.
As pointed out by one commenter on our post about beer clarity from last week, that can give us an insight into whether hazy beer necessarily tasted better, or was thought to taste better, in the past.
- Beers being rated on a scale of -3 to 2, of the 84 beers rated 1 and 2, some 22 were described as hazy, cloudy or variants thereon.
- Of the 60 beers scoring between -1 and -3, some 23 were described as bright or brilliant.
- Some beers described as hazy or cloudy were recorded as having ‘poor’ flavour, while others tasted ‘very fair’ or ‘good’.
- Beers described as brilliant were generally also found to taste good, though one was ‘poor’ and quite a few others were ‘fair’ (acceptable, with an overall score of 1).
UPDATE 13/2/2014: Ron has clarified in a comment below that the numerical scores are his addition, based on Whitbread’s more-or-less standardised flavour descriptors.
In other words, Whitbread’s tasters didn’t find any particular connection between clarity and flavour. Hazy beer wasn’t somehow better or more virtuous, but nor was it necessarily bad.
What we’d really like to know is whether customers in the pub would have shown a preference for the beer that looked ‘bright’ but had ‘unpleasant flavour, going off’.