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Gambrinus Waltz: First Review

Our short e-book about the rise of lager beer in Victorian and Edwardian London, Gambrinus Waltz, has been reviewed in the latest edition of the journal of the Brewery History Society.

The editor, Tim Holt, very kindly describes it as ‘well written and superbly researched’ and suggests that we ought to continue the story at book-length. Perhaps it’s time to dust off that draft proposal for a history of lager in Britain and have another go at touting it round?

In the same issue (Winter 2014, No. 160) there is a complementary article about the lager brewery in Tottenham, North London, in which Mr Holt has compiled various pieces from 1880s editions of the Brewers’ Guardian. They confirm what we found to be suggested in census records — that the entire staff of the brewery was of German origin — and add much more detail besides, such as the fact that the brewery was kitted out by Noback Bros. & Fritze of Prague.

And here’s a comment on the beer from 1882 which goes some way to explaining the appeal of lager in Britain:

A bottle of lager beer has been confidentially shown to us, and we must admit that its brightness and clearness really surpasses everything we have hitherto seen about beers.

Any brewers wanting to produce an authentic historic 19th century London lager could do worse than start by mining these pieces for details of, e.g., mashing procedures.

You can get Gambrinus Waltz from the Amazon Kindle store.

2 replies on “Gambrinus Waltz: First Review”

The Brewers’ Guardian certainly changed their tune or maybe they just tasted better beers: this is their report from the opening of the Brewers Exhibition in 1879:
‘We have no desire to speak disrespectfully of German beer, but the samples offered to the public were such as we feel sure will never replace home-brewed beer in this country; the thinness on the palate, the absence of all flavour of malt extract, the artificial aeration, the peculiar taste described by most of the public as resembling garlic or onions, are all characteristics which, however agreeable to the German taste, will take a long time to be acclimatised here; when such beers are offered at prices ranging from 2s to 3s per gallon, we think English brewers have not much to fear from competition from that quarter, at all events so far as our home trade is concerned.’

I enjoyed your short tome on the rise and fall of German lager beer in London. Gambrinus Waltz has the honour of being my first e-book purchase. Yes, I am slowly moving into the 21st Century!

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