“You may like to serve only beer at your party. It is very good with hot cheese savouries, or with hot dogs. Choose your beer carefully if you have only one sort. Some of the light ales chill excellently and have better flavour than many lagers. Ladies seldom like the dark varieties, so have an alternative drink for them. You may like to buy a cask of beer, in which case ask for a Pin which hold 4½ gallons. Beer consumption is the most difficult to calculate, but 1¾ pints per head would be an average to base your guess upon. You know your friends best.”
From Len Deighton’s Action Cook Book, 1965, reprinted as a Penguin paperback in 1967.
From the 1950s to the 1970s several new lager brewing plants were set up in Britain and Ireland, usually under the management of, or at least with guidance from, Continental lager-brewing experts.
We’re fascinated by the stories of these people who left great European cities to live in places like Northampton or, in the case of today’s case study, Dundalk, Ireland, pop. 37,000.
We had read about Dr Hermann Muender before but our interest was renewed when we came across this picture of him (photographer uncredited) in the Autumn 1968 edition of Guinness Time, the staff magazine for Guinness’s London brewery at Park Royal:
It accompanies a lengthy article on the development of the Harp Lager brand from 1958 onwards which says:
For the technical expertise which would be required at the top Guinness decided to look to the Continent for a brewer and Dr. Hermann Muender, a distinguished Braumeister, was engaged to produce a lager which would as excellent in its own way as their stout. Eminently qualified, he had worked with the scientific research department of the Institute of Fermentation in Berlin, an din Cologne where he directed the rehabilitation of the war damaged breweries in the Ruhr. He had been the large managing director of a large brewery in Cologne.
These wonderfully colourful covers for editions of the Guinness London staff magazine remind us of cartoons and children’s books from our childhoods, but could just as easily grace the sleeve of a Kinks LP.
For the ObserverMagazine published on 7 July 1968, Cyril Ray (who we wrote about yesterday) assembled a crack team to taste beer.
The tone of the feature as a whole is a little uncertain: Mr Ray’s text argues that beer is really worthy of respect only to be undercut by an illustration (Watney’s pale in a wine basket) and sub-headline (borrowed for this post) which suggest there is something faintly ridiculous in the exercise.
Because he didn’t think it would be fair to ask professional tasters from brewery quality control departments to take part, he recruited Michael Broadbent, head of the wine department at Christie’s auctioneers, and Douglas Young, a professional tea-taster.
Michal Broadbent learned after a couple of lagers… to taste in mouthfuls rather than in his customary sips, realising that beer is meant to be quaffed, and that this is how it best shows its character. Douglas Young was soon isolating specific characteristics of each beer, and asking the brewer who looked after us, in Whitbread’s hospitable tasting-room, for the brewers’ phraseology with which to define them.
Batsford published a whole series of guides to pubs in the South and East of England in the 1960s. Vincent Jones wrote the guide to East Anglia and here are some nuggets that caught our eye.
→ Introduction:‘Houses owned by all sorts of brewers are here; but there is a preference for those which belong to East Anglian breweries and sell East Anglian beer. This choice is purely personal.’ Buying local, resisting monopoly — the SPBW-CAMRA tendency?
→ Sorrel Horse, Barham, Suffolk:‘Those who fear that the bread and cheese and pickles pub has altogether disappeared may take courage for here one is and a very fine one too.’ We can’t recall the last time we found a pub like this though we remember them from childhood.
→ Queen’s Head, Blyford, Suffolk:‘Among the snacks he is noted for his Scotch eggs.’
→ Lord Nelson, Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk:‘They are mainly drinkers of mild ale in this area: it is drawn from the cask.’ More evidence of the East Country as mild territory; interesting to note cask, draught and ‘drawn from the wood’ are used interchangeably throughout. (More on the development of the language around cask/keg here.)