Hunting for Burtons

For the second time this week, we find ourselves thinking about Burton Ale, a type of beer that doesn’t exist, at least according to some taxonomies.

We didn’t like McEwan’s Champion when we tried it at the weekend. Martyn Cornell suggested that this might be because Burton is an acquired taste; if it wasn’t, it might not have disappeared from the British drinkers consciousness so rapidly and completely after World War II.

We want to test that theory by finding and drinking some. As step one in that mission, we need a list of currently available beers that might qualify. (Few are described as such on the label or pumpclip.) Here’s a first, very short attempt, awaiting your additions and corrections.

  • Young’s Winter Warmer (5%)
  • Bristol Beer Factory Exhibition (5.2%, based on a recipe from the defunct Smiles brewery)
  • Fuller’s Past Masters XX (7.5%) and 1845. (We already know these well.)
  • Old Dairy Brewery Snow Top (6%)
  • Blue Anchor Spingo Special (6.5% — “Dark in colour and sweet in taste”) and Extra Special (7.5%)
  • And McEwan’s Champion, of course.

UPDATE 06/03/2012 — suggested by commenters

  • Marston’s Owd Roger (7.6%)
  • J.W. Lees Moonraker (7.5%)
  • Porterhouse Brainblásta (7%)

That’s not a very long list. Are there are any specific Old Ales which are really/also Burtons? Are any of Harvey’s huge range of beers Burton-like? We are eyeing their Christmas and Elizabethan Ales with suspicion.

Of course, thinking about it, we might have more luck hunting Burtons when the season opens in the autumn...