3… EARLY REFERENCES
4…TWELFTH CENTURY… THE CLINK OF THE ANCHOR
5…THIRTEENTH CENTURY… THE BREWER’S COMPANY
6…FOURTEENTH CENTURY… COLDHARBOR AND THE HOURGLASS
7…FIFTEENTH CENTURY…THE RED LION OF LOWER EAST SMITHFIELD
8…SIXTEENTH CENTURY… PARACLESUS AND THE TUDOR RAM
9…THE BREWING PROCESS
10… THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY… TRUMAN’S AND THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON
11..THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY… GEORGIAN TAVERNS AND WATNEY, COMBE, REID
12..THE NINETEENTH CENTURY…BURTON UPON TRENT AND GERMAN LAGER
13…THE TWENTIETH CENTURY…GLOBAL BEER CONGLOMERATES
14… MAP OF LONDON BREWERIES
London’s brewing tradition extends back through time for almost a thousand years, a period throughout which the consumption of alcohol has fluctuated radically in popularity, some eras being markedly devoted to the drinking of ale, others to have almost entirely abandoned it’s usage in favour of other recourse.
With reference to such a matter, beer was almost certainly imbibed in places like Southwark and Lower East Smithfield during the twelfth century, an era throughout which it was very possibly observed to be a useful dietary supplement for the city’s burgeoning penal system, a usage that, perhaps through association with criminal deprivation, seems to have resulted in an amount of ambivalence as to whether alcohol was stale or narcotic amongst the communities of medieval London,
This ambiguity was ultimately banished, perhaps through association with plague, in the late seventeenth century, a period which, in coinciding with the growth of puritanism, was observed to witness something of an abstinence from the customary conventions of alcohol consumption, drinking being practically entirely forsaken in favor of other pursuits.
As a result of such ambiguity and indeed censorship, the large-scale distribution of beer in London does not really begin in an appreciable sense until the brewing of Porter in Whitechapel during the mid eighteenth century, a popularity which, in incidentally presuming a number of advances in the German brewing industry and the mass production of lager, ultimately led to the commercial acceptability of alcohol as a recreational supplement that we presently take for granted.
Charting a span of almost a thousand years much of which remains largely unrecorded, ‘Brewery Lanes’ is a book for those intrigued by the peculiar heritage of London beer.
Including a study of the many wines and spirits which have, throughout history, circulated about the capital’s inns, coffee houses, and hostels, Brewery Lanes proposes to analogue the almost impossible quandary that alcohol represents to modern research, a substance which like the ether from which it is composed, forever lingers half veiled beneath the blank intractability of more formal affair, a zephyr mustering prospect for want of a fact, an unexpected ghost, a shade which, in proffering motive, yet eludes definition, casually smearing the distinctions of time and space.
‘Brewery Lanes’ begins in Mesopotamia, a land fully civilized before Europe existed and, in charting beer’s course through the viaducts and concourses of Greece and Rome, through the shattered half worlds of Troy, Jerusalem and Paris, arrives at Southwark and Cold harbour where alcohol once seethed in many sweetened forms and varieties, before continuing afresh, much as beer may, towards the thrice great enclave of Hampton Court and the Doctors of assize which, upon the city’s darkest day, stalked soberly through the streets of London dressed in the peculiar ibis masks for which they were to subsequently achieve a manner of ghoulish distinction.
And it is here that, in practise the tale of ‘Brewery Lanes’ both ends and begins, with the vast breweries of the Georgian era and the festivities of the Great Exhibition, a trend which, in accumulating gradual momentum finally witnesses what one may term a modern appreciation of it’s topic.
To conclude this foray amongst the vast dissipating horde of imponderable possibilities that a history of alcohol may be presumed to represent, I have included in the book, both a general chronology, a diagnostic of the brewing process, a list of beers as they presently appear in modern indexes and a cartography of the many new craft breweries which currently decorate the city’s commercial districts with their ware.
I hope that you enjoy it.
FIVE THOUSAND YEARS BEFORE CHRIST.
Brewing associated with sugar production and pickling in Mesopotamia, Iraq and Egypt. Tastes with regards to alcohol consumption were, through association with liquors like Absinthe, essentially observed to have been sweet.
Alcohol consumption conducive to the ritual madness of Bacchanalia in ancient Rome, an instance in which ‘Vindolanda’ in Northumberland quite possibly perceived beer to harbor an ecological potential long before cities like London did.
TWELFTH TO FIFTEENTH CENTURIES
Alcohol associated with the escapist Pilgrim cults of Thomas a Becket as a suicide drug that may yet survive misgiving. Hops, (a relative of the Cannabis plant), introduced in efforts to sterilise beer, a pretense beneath which, it’s narcotic properties were also very possibly valued raw. The consumption of alcohol in trifles and syllabubs would continue to indicate a preference for sweetness with regards to other dietary supplements, an instance in which the fermentation of Sweet Wort in Mortlake during the fourteenth century would have been soft rather than alcoholic and refined as Rum for inclusion in deserts rather than consumed neat.
Drinking considered foolhardy through association with violence, the brewing of strong beer being considered irresponsible, an instance in which Alcohol was generally used as a culinary aid rather than a recreational pleasure although, as was the case during the medieval era and the pilgrim cults to which it ascribed, exceptionally sweet liquors were deemed palatable through conjunction with narcotics usage.
Brewing largely abandoned in London due to the incident of plague although Gin was, in being a sterile distillate, observed to become popular through association with hygiene in about 1680, an instance in which the spirit’s flavor was distinctly astringent and not sweet.
Alcohol re-popularised as healthy, entire or medically significant by such people as Doctor Samuel Johnson who would, owing to the acceptability of Gin have theoretically been blessed with a substantial reservoir of beer intended for the purposes of spirit distillation at the time, a popularity which was ultimately observed to result in an amount of government legislation that effectively served to monopolise alcohol’s production in a general sense.
Legal prohibitions and temperance movements attempted to ban brewing through association with the disobedience and rowdiness which it was observed to cause, a dichotomy which, in many instances, was, by way of controversy, contrarily observed to popularise it’s consumption.
Alcohol consumption widely accepted in commercial terms and the brewing industry was noted to witness steady growth through association with British Rail and the National grid.
3… EARLY REFERENCES
Pertaining to a plethora of commonly sustained domestic conventions which extend backwards through time for countless generations, the true origin of brewing in human culture is practically impossible to estimate, the tradition being inextricably bound to virtually every aspect of man’s civilization since the dawn of history, the theme being so commonplace that, in many instances, it’s occurrence transpires unannounced, a ghost which, in almost circumstantially disguising it’s identity, is fated to stare silently back across the void, mocking all subsequent attempts to penetrate it’s mystery.
Resultantly research devoted to the topic of assessing and validating the earliest evidence of human beer production is limited to the written and pictographic proofs represented by fragments of recorded documentation that have, through some fluke of circumstance, been preserved for posterity.
With regards to this issue, although wine was reputed to have been fermented in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia five thousand years before Christ, an epoch which would have represented a fine opportunity for it to enter into Russian (or Colchian) culture long before records began, there is little more, beyond token references to the drug’s medicinal application during the ancient Greek era, than the implication of such practise to be found within the tome of current history, a deficit through which the modern chronology of event, as it presently appears is observed to begin some years later with the civilizations of North Africa and the Middle East.
With respect to these later conventions, the ancient Mesopotamians were known to have brewed at least twenty different types of beer approximately 3,000 years before Christ, eight from Emmer wheat, eight from barley and four from a mixture of grains, a selection which, in being demarcated for usage in conjunction with a number of different religious ceremonies, was also observed to have possessed medical properties.
“Sikaru”, a beverage composed of bread made from emmer wheat flavoured with honey and dates was, in this instance, thought to have been used for both ritual and medicinal purposes upon a regular basis in Mesopotamia,
The Mesopotamians were, in this instance, recorded to have worshipped a brewing divinity named ‘Ninkasi’, a woman, who in being the daughter of the King of ‘Uruk’. was assigned to prepare a variety of beer called “Kash” upon a daily basis, a beverage which in being consumed unfiltered through reeds left floating upon it’s surface, was apparently composed of fermented “bappir” bread flavoured with grapes and honey, a convention which, although unusual, was also observed to have been practised in the fifth century Armenian book the “Xenophon of Anabasis”, indicating that the trend remained popular for many thousands of years.
In being approximately 3,800 years of age the Mesopotamian “Hymn to Ninkasi” is potentially the oldest recorded beer recipe in existence, a tract from which it remains possible to deduce that, in possessing a strength of about two percent alcohol by volume, ancient ale was probably fairly weak and salty, an attribute which would hypothetically serve to distinguish it as a culinary aid rather than a recreational narcotic although straws were, interestingly observed to be used to drink many different types of beverage proving that the ancient world was not entirely averse to recreational experimentation..
The assertion that such beverages were unfiltered goes some way towards explaining why straws were used in their consumption, an instance in which both the Sumerians and Babylonians were renowned for being amongst the first users of the drinking straw, a utensil which, in initially being composed of little more than a hollow reed, evolved into a selection of fluted instruments crafted from bronze and even gold.
The “Tepe Garwa” a phenomenally old stamp seal of Mesopotamian extraction indicates that the practise of drinking through straws may have extended back for more than six thousand years, it’s detail depicting two figures casually engaged in straw usage around an open vat of uncertain content.
Somewhat more recently, “Lady Pu”, a woman who was recorded to have reigned over the ancient city of Ur two thousand years before Christ, was, similarly depicted drinking through a straw upon a number of stone tablets, a pastime confirmed by the observation that she was also buried with an ornate straw crafted from gold and lapis lazuli placed beside her.
There are, in this instance, a number of Babylonian artefacts which confirm the wide-scale usage of straws, representations of Babylonian kings employing elongated straws to supply them with drink from concealed reservoirs connected to their throne rooms, a term beneath which such instruments were often wrought into unusual shapes rather like modern children’s straws.
The Babylonians were, with respect to what it is that they chose to drink, similarly renowned for plying men with as much beer (or mead) as they desired during the first months of their betrothal, a practise from which the term “Honeymoon” is potentially derived.
Beer was also thought to have been rationed during the reign of the middle Eastern ruler Hammurabi, a term beneath which workers were recorded to have been allotted two litres of ale a day, a measure compared unfavorably to the allowance of civil servants and high priests who were respectively permitted three and five litres of ale upon a daily basis, a convention which, in potentially representing a perverse reflection upon varying degrees of social responsibility, was presumably also carried forth to encompass many other commercial articles.
Although references to Babylonian and Mesopotamian brewing are rare, there is a surprising account of inebriation in the ancient middle Eastern text, “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, an episode in which the hero’s ape like companion “Enkidu” is actually observed to experience euphoria after having consumed beer.
It remains uncertain as to what attitudes towards beer were throughout these periods, it being supposed that such beverages were primarily developed to capitalize upon their nutritional content, although the intoxicative effect of fermented alcohol was almost certainly also appreciated at a fairly early date, the general assumption being that it was frequently considered unsafe to drink untreated water, states of dilution and containment representing a primitive form of sterilization, although The lion headed Egyptian divinity “Sekhmet” was, during ancient times, perversely recorded to have been plied with alcohol to reduce his craving for slaughter, a convention which, in being observed to have been practised for much the same reason in medieval English taverns, would suppose that alcohol was, upon occasion, also employed as a sedative.
Beyond the usage of distilled spirit as either a preservative or a perfume, a convention which, in being of a cosmetic persuasion, can be traced back to the second millennium before Christ, potentially the first recorded usage of alcohol as a comestible resource pertains to a beverage known as “Wormwood”, a sweet liquor fortified with roots and herbs which, historical misinterpretation aside, possibly once resembled modern ‘Absinthe’.
The secret of ‘Absinth’s’ phenomenal anciency was, in this in this instance perceived to lie in the observation that it’s physical constitution is essentially a corrupted sugar, a mild acetate which, in retaining a commercially assailable apparel, is coincidentally noted to possess a subtle flavour unique to itself, a vaguely astringent pang that, in categorical terms, actually owes it’s origins to the fermentation of free alcohols within it’s chemical composition .
This flavour was, with regards to the historical premium which the drink was observed to set for itself, effectively noted to have been favoured by the Visigoth’s during the first years of the Akkadian empire on earth in the second millennium before Christ, a term beneath which it was, at this date, in fact believed to have been imported from a yet earlier epoch in the empire’s history, a period which could, within reason, potentially have extended back for an even greater time than that which is presently recorded to ascribe to it, being plainly apparent as a dietary supplement in an as yet unwritten chapter of the earth’s pre-history that will probably never be accurately appraised.
The ‘Ebers’ papyrus of ancient Egypt mentions the brewing of Wormwood wine as early as 1,550 B.C and there is further evidence to suggest that it was prepared in both India and China at approximately the same time, the beverage almost certainly having been imbibed by the ancient Greeks through until the Christian era, a period during which it was known as “Absinthites Oinus”.
Extracted from the ‘Artemisia Absinthum’ plant and flavoured with Fennel, ‘Wormwood Wine’ would, like Absinthe, have both tasted of Aniseed and potentially have contained the psycho-active drug “Terpene Thujune” that is present in the modern drink, a pretense beneath which it’s innate sweetness could well have been considered a desirable dietary attribute.
Conventionally consumed with three to five parts cold water filtered through a burning sugar cube placed on a perforated spoon, a process through which the spirit turns white, “Absinthe” was, beneath the name “The Green Fairy”, celebrated amongst artistic circles in Paris throughout the last years of the nineteenth century, a popularity which, in demarcating the hour of 5 o’clock as “L’heure Verte” or “The Green Hour” in certain bars, led the authors ‘Mark Twain’ and ‘Oscar Wilde’ and the artists ‘Toulouse Lautrec’ and ‘Vincent Van Gogh’, to experience the drink, a trend later followed by the occultist ‘Aleister Crowley’, the singer ‘Frank Sinatra’ and even the American president ‘Franklin D. Roosevelt’.
The subject of a study conducted by the pharmacological researcher “Valentin Magnan” in 1867, Absinthe was temporarily prohibited in Europe and America, a ban which, in being synonymous with the general prohibition of alcohol during the late nineteenth century, was often misinterpreted to pertain solely to the inclusion of Wormwood as an ingredient in liquor through association with it’s peculiar narcotic effects.
Subsequently revived in the form of “Pastis” and “Anis”, “Pernod”, is potentially the most well known brand of Absinthe currently available on the market, a formula which, in being acquired, in 1792 by the Swiss Doctor ‘Peter Ordinaire’, was later distilled upon a large- scale by a man named ‘Major Dubied’ and his son in law ‘Henry Louis Pernod’.
Sold in many countries beneath many names, French anisette liquor being known as ‘Brizard’, Spanish Absinthe as ‘Mono’ or ‘Chinchon’, Italian Absinthe as ‘Sambuca’ and Greek Absinthe as ‘Ouzo’, (the beverage to which the liquor’s incredible anciency may perhaps most immediately be ascribed), Absinthe is also vended beneath an equally venerable apparel as “Arak” or “Raki” in Mediterranean countries.
Although many recipes for Absinthe currently exist, the modern drink is conventionally prepared by the maceration of a selection of herbs including Florence Fennel, Green Anise, Star Anise, Hyssop, Melissa, Anjelica, Coriander, Veronica and “Grande” or “Petite” Wormwood in a distillate of wine, a process through which the liquor both develops a striking green colour as a result of it’s chlorophyll content and matures well.
As an artificially sweetened spirit, Absinthe became synonymous with the preparation of liquor throughout early history and frequently occurs alongside drinks such as ‘Benedictine’, ‘Chartreuse’ and ‘Drambuie’ in the canon of commercial alcohols, the formula being adapted in many ways, bottled with flakes of Gold to make “Danzig Goldwasser”, mixed with cream or eggs to respectively make “Bailey’s Irish Cream” or “Advocaat”, coloured, as in the instance of “ Bol’s Curacao”, or even used to fill chocolates, a form in which the drink proved to be particularly popular amongst nineteenth century Parisians.
The Egyptians were also recorded to have buried their dead with flowers and spices during the pre-Christian era, a practise which almost certainly resulted in the fermentation of wine, fragments of liquorice root being recorded to have been discovered in the burial tomb of the celebrated king Tutankhamun, a gesture that, in testifying some small part of Egyptian understanding, was considered to have represented a blessing which would continue to grace the young king’s soul with human virtue during it’s transition into the after-life.
Naturally such applications were not intended for consumption, however the preservative property of many substances were possibly of significance at a fairly early date, pickling potentially being one of the oldest general uses of alcohol on record.
Indeed the decision to use Absinthe to flavour chocolates stands to reason, many of the earliest references to the drink pertain to it’s usage as a confection, a distinction which it shared throughout early history with the better known delicacy, “liquorice”, an organic sugar extracted from the roots of the “Glycyrrizah Glabra” plant.
Frequently used to freshen breath, clear the throat and flavour both tobacco and snuff, Liquorice was, like Absinthe, occasionally used to sweeten alcohol, being present in the spirits “Calabria” and “Liquiz” and used as a foaming agent in many varieties of Porter, a term beneath which the substance potentially once served as the origin of the word “liquor”.
Estimated to be approximately fifty times sweeter than sugar, true liquorice acts in much the same manner as a concentrate when applied as an ingredient to food, commercial liquorice being dried, frayed, diluted in water and filtered before being mixed with a binder composed of Gum Arabic, starch, flour, molasses, ammonium chloride and bee’s wax, the finished product being heated, pressed and placed in a vacuum for cold storage.
Christened “Glukus Riza” or sweet root by the Roman physician ‘Dioscorides’, liquorice was also recorded to have been consumed to increase stamina amongst the works of the pre-Christian scholar ‘Theoprastus’, a term beneath which the substance was known as “Scythian root”, a preparation favoured by both the Macedonian general “Alexander the Great” and Hannibal’s troops during the Carthaginian invasion of Europe.
Used extensively throughout the medieval era, notably during the construction of London Bridge, liquorice production was recorded to have been taxed by Edward the First in 1305 the plant also being widely cultivated in England throughout the reign of Elizabeth the First, a process through which the confection found it’s way into many Jacobean apothecaries including those of the celebrated herbalist Nicholas Culpeper.
Considered synonymous with the less well known African Long Pepper or “Grain of Paradise” as a flavouring for beer during the Tudor era, “liquorice water” or “tea” was recorded to have been widely consumed in Southern Europe throughout the medieval era, a period during which it was, in accordance with the medical wisdom of that time, considered capable of purifying blood.
Perhaps the most resilient testament to such practise in England is that of the Pontefract region in the Yorkshire Dales, a location which in testifying a heritage of liquorice production which dates back to the medieval era, remains renowned for producing the confection to this day.
Recorded to have been introduced into Yorkshire during the fifteenth century by a contingent of Dominican Friars and Cluniac monks returning from the Crusades, liquorice was first observed to have been produced in Pontefract by the ‘Priors of St, John on Monkhill’, an interest which, in being substantially extended during the eighteenth century by a man named George Dunhill, ultimately led to the creation of the Pontefract Cake, a confection which, although frequently imitated, still withstands comparison to many recent examples of such ware.
Liquorice was similarly recorded to have been introduced into America during the sixteenth century by a man named ‘John Bosselyn’, a preparation which, in including elecampane, Aniseed, Sassafras and Fennel amongst it’s list of ingredients was prescribed to Indians as a cure for colds, the root ultimately finding it’s way into popular film culture with a depiction of “Charlie Chaplin” consuming a quantity of the substance convincingly disguised as a pair of bootlaces in the film “Gold Rush”.
Even today Bedouin women are known to sell both Wormwood and Liquorice as remedies for ill health in the markets of Cairo, proof of their continued popularity in the middle East.
With regards to extensive studies of the medical properties of alcohol, “The Shennong Bencao Jing” of first century China contains lists of herbs and spices within it’s catalogue, evidence to suggest that the Chinese at least were aware of the many pharmacological applications to which beer may be presumed to ascribe at the turn of the first millennium.
Beer residue consisting of Hawthorn berries, grapes, beeswax, honey and rice was discovered in a selection of 9,000 year old pots pots from the Jia Ho region of China and “Jiu Zao”, a cooking sauce made from rice pollinated with artificially cultivated mold was thought to have been consumed in China up to 7,000 years ago, concoctions which, in being the antecedents, of the comparatively modern drinks “Mijoii” and “Sake”, suggests a course of events that pre-date even those of ancient Egypt.
Both Ginseng and Liquorice were also recorded to have been prepared in the twelve regional medians of ancient China, a term beneath which the confection served as a traditional medicine, being thought capable of “harmonising” or improving the flavour of many recipes.
Traditionally used in conjunction with Soya sauce to flavour pork dumplings and sweeten corrupted meat, liquorice was recorded to have been both consumed beneath the ‘Quing’ dynasty in China and to have been favoured by the celebrated religious leader Buddha, a process through which the confection was ultimately inaugurated into the culinary practises of many ancient Hindu cultures, the root being employed as an aphrodisiac when mixed with milk and sugar.
With regards to such an issue, many of the earliest references to alcohol in history may be observed to refer to it’s usage as a medicine, an instance in which the employ of beer as an anesthetic can hypothetically be traced back to the celebrated Egyptian doctor, “Imhotep”, a man that, in potentially applying pharmaceuticals to medical treatment four and a half thousand years ago, must stand as one of the most ancient purveyors of the science on record.
However due to the anciency and resultant ambiguity of such evidence, the Greek doctor Hippocrates is, in generally being considered the father of modern medicine, also perceived to be the most obvious exponent of alcohol’s usage as a herbal remedy, a man who, in practising surgical science 480 years before Christ almost certainly incorporated pharmaceutical treatment into his methodology, references to the usage of “Valerian”, a pungent yellow plant extract notable for it’s ability to suppress anxiety and cure insomnia being derived from this era.
Although the term “Materia Medica”, (surgical refuse), was not used until the era of the Roman doctor ‘Dioscorides’, the physician “Galen”, was recorded to have earned renown for having perfected a complex narcotic called “Theriac” in the second century Anno Domini, a compound which, in fermenting sixty four ingredients including opium, hemp and viper flesh together for a number of months, was potentially physiologically stunning.
Adapted for usage by the emperor Nero’s physician ‘Andromachus’ from a recipe devised by the legendary pharmacological king “Mithradites”, ‘Theriac’ subsequently became associated with with animal lore due to the diversity of it’s ingredients.
Heralded as a cure for all ailments “Theriac” was, during the sixteenth century, introduced into England by the worshipful Grocer’s Company as “Venice Treacle”, an expensive active narcotic which, in being both composed largely of cane sugar and applied as a salve, was considered an effective antidote to poison.
Both Symposiums (large Kraters for mixing wine) and Attic cups, (jugs used in conjunction with pouring basins) were, in this instance, discovered amidst the remains of the pre-Christian “La Tene” culture, the moulded reliefs of barley were found printed upon pots exhumed from in the ruins of Knossos and the Etruscan civilization was known to have crafted flagons and wine jars from clay, a rather ambiguous testament to alcohol consumption perhaps, the existence of ancient cups does not alone signify the acceptability of inebriation. although Pliny the Elder was recorded to have made reference to grain based intoxicants in his writings and the Greek historian Herodotus was also observed to have mentioned the usage of laxatives, purges and emetics in his works, evidence to suggest that they were not unaware of such things.
Cypriots have also been recorded to have practiced the fermentation of wine for over three thousand years, a tradition which, in preceding that of Greece by about half a century, is currently preserved in the production of “Cyprus Sherry”, a drink, which despite it’s pedigree, was ironically favoured by the working classes in the mid-twentieth century.
The preparation of “Commandaria”, a sweet Cypriot dessert wine which include both the ‘Xynesteri’ and ‘Mavro’ grapes amongst it’s list of ingredients is mentioned both in the works of Pliny the Elder and in “The Hesiod” a term beneath which it was known as “Melitites”, a beverage which, in being composed of trampled sun dried grapes, was apparently used to appease discomfort.
“Commandaria” was subsequently recorded to have been brewed in substantial quantities by the order of the Knights Templar in the thirteenth century a term beneath which it was reputed to have been consumed by Richard the Lionheart during the Crusades, a man who famously pronounced it “the king of wines and the wine of Kings”.
“Zivania”, a distillate of ‘Commandaria’ frequently flavoured with cinnamon was also noted to have been produced by Cypriots in the fifteenth century, a brew which, in acquiring a strong raisin flavour when mature, was frequently valued for it’s age.
Despite such ancient references, the modern experimental scientific method is generally credited to “Abdul Abbas Ad Nabath”, a Moslem scholar, notable for performing a number of studies into the nature of chemistry, a period after which, to all intents and purposes, the practise of brewing was outlawed through association with the Nestorian Herecy during the early medieval era.
With regards to the enforcement of such restrictions, the Jewish dietary law of “Kashrut” was observed to require that only Kosher ingredients could be included in Jewish beer, beverages which themselves needed to be made by Sabbath observant Jews, a term beneath which many of the older methods of food preparation were noted to have been abandoned in favour of what would amount to an early form of standardisation.
Having said this, “Gall Wine”, a beverage extracted from Poppies was probably also used as an ointment, if not a narcotic during the biblical era, “Gall Wine” being thought to have been the substance that was applied to Christ’s injuries after crucifixion, a term beneath which it became associated with the grail lore of Arthurian England.
In terms of preparation, the juice of the Poppy used for Gall Wine was turned into a strong black tea, the plant’s head or “Ro’sh” being used to fortify the beverage and lend it body, a process through which “Gall Wine” would possibly have resembled raw or unrefined opium.
Although the actual antiquity of Samuel Solomon’s popular eighteenth century tonic, ‘Balm of Gilead’ remains questionable the concoction was, with regards to the brewing practices of ancient Israel notably recorded to have been marketed in London beneath the pretence that it originated in Judea more than 1,500 years before Christ, a claim substantiated by references to the preparation in the Old Testament of the bible.
Prepared using extracts of the Balsam fir, Samuel Solomon’s eighteenth century recipe included Sage Mace, Rosemary and Turpentine amongst it’s ingredients, the concoction further being flavoured with lemon and sold as a cosmetic aid and fertility drug.
Pine tar was also used in the preparation of “Tar Water”, a beverage which, in being recommended by the author Henry Fielding as a curative, was also popular amongst Norwegian trawlermen during the eighteenth century.
In 1868 a man named James Death pronounced a beverage known as “Wusa” to be the beer of the ‘Isrealites’, a bread based porridge like substance which, in being described as “manna from heaven”, was presumably viewed in a positive light.
With respect to the incredible antiquity of brewing practices in North Africa, Persia and Jerusalem and the evidence of cultural continuation which they may suppose, the Urnfield culture of Central Europe was, almost 3,500 years ago, observed to have both cremated the remains of it’s dead and buried their ashes in pots, and given the nature of such a convention, it would be difficult to imagine that they did not also brew beer
Indeed there is physical evidence to suggest that ditches were used as malt kilns in Germany up to 2,500 years ago, a tradition which would tally with the assertion that both the Urnfield and ‘Halstatt’ cultures were engaged in brewing at approximately the same time that the ancient Hittites and Greeks were establishing their empires.
In terms of British history, a brew known as “Fraoch” or Heather Beer was legendarily consumed in Scotland four thousand years ago, a formula which, in having been resurrected by the William brothers brewing company based in Scotland, is currently served at “The Rake” near Borough Market.
Mead or fermented honey is quite possibly of a similar pedigree to Heather Beer, a recipe recently revived by the Gosnell’s brewing company which is currently on tap at “A. Gold’s” next to the unearthed remains of the Bishop’s Square Charnel house in Spitalfields and also at “Reverend J.W Simpson’s” on Goodge Street.
The true antiquity of ‘Fraoch’ may remain a mystery forever, however a similar beverage was known to have been consumed in Marseilles during the pre-Christian era, a variety of Mead flavoured with Cumin in which bees were thought to have been drowned during fermentation, whether or not this particular recipe was intended as a boon or a poison remains a matter of conjecture, however the age of the reference remains noteworthy.
Celtic ale was, in this instance, almost certainly brewed in Britain somewhat later in 54 B.C, a period during which “Atrectus Cereusarius” was the name given to the first named brewer or ‘Cereuse’ in England, an individual who was effectively recorded to have plied the garrisons of “Vindolanda”, situated along Hadrian’s Wall in North East England, with beverages fermented from ‘Brac’ or Emmer wheat.
The term “Gustators Cervisiae”, (food server), frequently used by Romans in association with brewing, indicating that alcohol was, though narcotic, not considered a poison at this date and Romans were known to have used hypocausts as permanent maltings or corn dryers between the third and fourth centuries Anno Domini
The term “tavern”, an expression still used to describe public houses, is derived from the Latin word Taberna, a definition which although subsequently associated with beer drinking, was, during the Roman era, probably devoted almost solitarily to the consumption of wine.
A brew known as “Cervisa”, “Cerea” or “Caccia” was alleged to have been consumed in Spain and Gaul during the pre-Christian era, a drink which, in being known as “Brutus” or “Brytos” in Greece was probably similar to the Egyptian drink “Zythos”, a beverage which, in being composed of one third Barley, one third Safflower and one third salt, would, in keeping with the general consensus of pre-Christian alcohol usage, probably have served as a preservative rather than a narcotic.
However the Romans were also observed to have recognised Gods of beer amidst their pantheons, the divinities Dionysus and Bacchus being associated with the ritual madness of “Eleusis”, “Bacchanalia” and “the Epiphany”, celebrations which, in being typified by satyrs, phallic imagery and wild female acolytes known as “Maenads”, were recorded to have been devoted to “the feeding of the dead through blood offerings”, a euphemism through which beer was potentially considered to be a dead creature resurrected by consumption, an instance in which “the Tale of Zagreus” is notable for representing an account of a man drawn heavenward garbed in the flesh of those that he had consumed by the Greek God Zeus, a reference which, although, abstract, may be be observed to go some way towards explaining how brewing became associated with the clothing guilds of the early medieval era.
Amongst the many images which the cult of Dionysus chose to adopt were those of Fox skins, Fig Trees and “Thyrsese” or Fennel stalks, symbolism which, in appearing throughout the first chapters of the Old Testament would suggest some link with Judaism.
The Romans were, in this instance, also recorded to have imbibed the blood of gladiators slaughtered in conflict between the first and sixth centuries Anno Domini a convention potentially inherited from the practises of Hippocrates and Galen who observed that human health depended upon the balance of four constituent elements known as “Humours” within the body, a generalised term beneath which a correct quantity of yellow bile, black bile, phlegm and blood were deemed necessary to sustain metabolic function.
With regards to later evidence of brewing in Europe, The Flemish king “Gambrinus”, is, with respect to Roman dalliance in such matters, legendarily credited with the invention of beer 1,730 years Before Christ, a period during which it is unlikely that he would have occupied the European mainland, the analogy probably being adopted by the Dukes of Brabant sometime in the fourteenth century, although Gambrinus is notably mentioned in “the Aventius Chronicle” or “Austrian Chronicle Of The Ninety Five Seigneurs”, a medieval text which, in charting the ancestry of the Dukes of Austria through the kings of ancient Judea to Noah, remains one of the few accounts of the early European history still in existence.
Frequently depicted brandishing a tankard of ale, King Gambrinus was described as a giant descended from the prediluvian patriarch “Noah”, a man who, in being a paramour of the Egyptian divinity Isis, was initiated into the mysteries of brewing,
Although perhaps possessing an element of truth, the tale of Gambrinus was later re-interpreted to include a wager with “Beelzebub”, an addition which throws many details pertaining to his reign into doubt.
There are, in this instance, a number of Assyrian tablets depicting Noah stocking his ark with beer, records which, in being approximately four thousand years of age, indicate that, there may well have been a middle Eastern brewing tradition inherited by the first inhabitants of Europe at some immemorial date.
Beer was also recorded to have been brewed in Belgium throughout to the Crusades of the twelfth century, a period during which low strength alcohol was considered fresher than water, it being observed that Flemish Abbeys were granted permission by the Roman Catholic Church at this time to raise funds with the trade of alcohol but that such trade was also a punishable offence if the alcohol was too strong.
With regards to the historical truth of Belgium’s brewing heritage throughout the earliest epochs of European history, “Gampar”, an ancient British king was recorded to have founded the medieval cities of Cambrai, Hamburg and Flanders during the first millennium, communities which, in almost certainly brewing beer long before any comparable concern was recorded to have occurred in England, stand as a convincing testament to Belgium’s seniority in such matters.
Perhaps through association with ‘Gampar’s’`exploits, the oldest commercial brewery in Europe is presently observed to be the ‘Wiehenstephan’ brewery in Belgium, an establishment which, in having been operational since at least the eleventh century, pre-dates not only the oldest comparable establishments of it’s type in Britain, but also the entire genre of brewing in a contemporary sense.
In having been operational since 1366 the “Tay On Den Horn” brewery situated in the town of Leuven is some years younger than that of ‘Wiehenstephan’, however it’s status as the origin Stella Artois lager currently places it at the forefront of the Belgian brewing industry, a term beneath which, through association with the American trade giant Anheuser Busch, it is largely responsible for the current popularity of lager in Europe.
Despite such anciency modern “Saisoniers” or “session beers” derive from the late nineteenth century practise of brewing beer for consumption by farm workers, a convention through which such labourers were recorded to have been allotted five litres of beer a day.
Extensively researched by writers such as ‘Peter Cromberg’, ‘Gert Van Lierde’, ‘Erick Verdonk’ and ‘Michael Jackson’, “Saisoniers” were probably initially brewed in Belgian monasteries and ‘Wallonian’ farm houses as ingredients for meat dishes such as “Boeuf Bourgignon”, there being some indecision as to whether the word ‘saisonier’ refers to the time of year in which it’s ingredients are harvested or it’s usage in the marination of meat.
Subsequently served in specially designed “tulip” glasses and flavoured with orange zest, coriander and ginger, modern ‘Saisoniers’ are traditionally distinguished by their cloudy golden colour and spicy flavour
‘Abbey Dubbel’, a strong brown Belgian ‘Saisonier’ initially brewed for consumption by Trappist monks at the Abbey of ‘Westmalle’ during the mid nineteenth century, was, in earning reknown for it’s restorative properties, later imitated by brands such as “Chimay”, “Achel”, “La Trappe”, “Koningshoeven”, “Bruin”, “Orivel”, and “Rochefort”, a process through which “Saison Dupont Vielle” was ultimately recorded to have earned the distinction of being one of the finest beers in the world.
Brewing was, following, it’s inauguration into Belgian culture, later observed to have been practised amongst a number of monastic communities on the European mainland as early as the fifth century Anno Domini, a period during which monks were noted to have produced enough beer to become both self-sufficient and capable of effecting trade to finance their religious activities.
Most alcohol at this time was probably composed of mixtures of metheglin extracted from beech sap and cider or Perry, a sour beer sweetened into liquor, although wines from Gascony and the Rhine were recorded to have been imbibed at a fairly early date, Gascony earning renown for it’s Armagnac through association with the Norman counts of Aquitaine , the Rhine with that of Riesling or “wine from the Gau” a sweet beverage which possibly owed it’s popularity to the viti-cultural pursuits of Charlemagne in Germany during the ninth century.
The Benedictine Abbots of St. Gall were, in this instance, thought to have brewed beer in the eighth century, a practise continued into the ninth century with the preparation of hopped beer in a number of Carolingian abbeys, an era before which “Gruit” a mixture of herbs and fruit would probably have been used instead of Hops to flavour beer.
Primarily used as a preservative, hops was, at this date, recognised to contain a resinous oil called Lupulin, (a chemical similar to that which may be extracted from the active narcotic Cannabis), a substance which. in imparting a bitter flavour to beer initially proved unpopular, a consensus which was recorded to have been confirmed during the early medieval era by the Archbishop of Cologne, a man who, in enjoying a monopoly upon the cultivation of brewing ingredients during his term of office, notably attempted to ban the cultivation of Hops in France.
Charlemagne himself was recorded to have personally trained people in the art of brewing during his reign, a testament if nothing else, to beer’s acceptance by the Holy Roman Empire throughout the ninth century.
The origin of Brandy, a strong spirit repeatedly distilled until flammable, is, in this respect, as ambiguous as any of the Carolingian era although references to a siege weapon known as Greek fire exist and wood or coal fires were almost certainly used to produce the fabulous glass and metal work for which the period is renowned.
Armagnac was recorded to have been distilled in Gascony during the early fifteenth century, a strong spirit which although often misinterpreted to have spawned from the Victorian era, is frequently referred to in the works of English alchemists and physicians during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. the process of separating and blending the distillates and substrates of wine being constituent to the production of both Sherry and Brandy.
Although quite possibly pot stilled or bottle fermented in ceramic vessels during the medieval era, modern Brandy is conventionally matured for about four years in an oak barrel, a process through which it is both prized for it’s age and formally known as Brandy, a term which, in bring derived from the Dutch word “Brand”, meaning burnt, was undoubtedly first applied to the beverage during the seventeenth century.
There was, at this time, further evidence to suggest that beer was being transported by water, the ‘Graveny Boat’, an ancient viking vessel, being discovered to have contained beer casks within it’s hold an instance in which the preparation of alcohol was, in Scandinavian, mythology, correspondingly ascribed to “Aegir” the Norse God of the sea, a divinity who, with his wife “Ran” and her nine children, legendarily provided beer for the parties of the Gods, a pretext beneath which it may be presumed that Vikings were, in being the founders of the ‘cinque port’ system which served to build the first incarnation of London bridge, not entirely unacquainted with the recreational potential of beer.
4… THE TWELFTH CENTURY… THE CLINK OF THE ANCHOR
Although the invention of the popular sparkling wine known as Champagne is most frequently credited to the endeavours of the lay brothers of the Benedictine ‘Abbey of Hautevilliers’ in the sixteenth century, or even those of the Benedictine monk “Dom Perignon” in the seventeenth century, it was very possible that grapes of the Pinot Noir variety were being fermented in France during the medieval era.
In 1115 Clairvaux Abbey in France was granted to the Knight Templar, ‘Hugh, Count of Champagne’, a period after which the English monarch Henry the Second, a man then also known as ‘The King of Jerusalem’ also adopted the title, formally becoming a Count of Champagne, a peculiar anomaly through which the English monarchy was observed to have been invested with both Jewish and French honours.
Claret was, in this instance, recorded to have been imported into England from Bordeaux by “Rosbif” traders during Henry’s reign, a period during which both Bordeaux and it’s agricultural industries were noted to have been owned by the English monarchy, an aegis beneath which it was thought to have operated in accordance with a statute known as “The Police De Vins” an embargo that effectively prevented French merchants from selling back-logs of wine until that which was placed upon the open market had been bought.
In 1279 ‘Thibaud Gaudin’, Grand master of the order of the Knights Templar and Commander of the Land of Jerusalem was granted ‘Saint Nicoise’ Abbey in France, a period during which Champagne was very possibly fermented upon a fairly large scale in Europe.
France’s influence upon early English brewing remains remembered to this day in the under-rated “Reunion Jacques” selection of wines and beers, a brand named in commemoration of “Jacques De Molay”, Grand master of the Knights Templar during the persecutions which ultimately led to the order’s down fall.
With regards to English history, the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk was also recorded to have produced alcohol in the 11th century a period during which dark beverages composed of malted barley sweetened with herbs were frequently considered cleaner than water, a distinction which, in pursuing sterility, perhaps gave rise to the cultivation of the bitter characteristics for which modern beer is renowned.
At approximately the same time that the wool trading communities of the Ely and Bury St. Edmunds were perfecting the formulae for what was to become modern beer, a remarkably early date for such a bitter drink, Southwark’s Borough Market was recorded to have been operational upon the South bank of the Thames by London Bridge, the bridge being observed to have been virtually the only thing situated in the Thames estuary at this time, a pretext beneath which, in conveniently spanning the river as it began to narrow, it was, to all intents and purposes, the direct precursor to the old walled city of London.
Reputed to have attracted traders selling grain, fish and vegetables throughout the Norman era, The Borough Market was, in the thirteenth century, re-located to The Borough High Street, a location in which it remained operational for almost half a millennium before being closed by Parliament in 1755.
Re-opened by a group of local traders in 1756 upon the grounds of St. Margaret’s church, a period during which “Northfield Farm” and “Furness fish and game” traded upon the premises, the Borough market presently encompasses a selection of over a hundred individual stalls including butchers, bakers and grocers shops.
Through association with the brewing exploits of the Borough Market, Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester almost certainly also established a brewing interest in Lambeth after having been granted province over the the ‘Clink’ prison by Henry the First in 1129.
The origin of the ‘Clink’ Prison’s association with brewing was, in this instance, observed to lie in the ancient English practice of sending convicts upon adventures to perform labours pending the incident of their execution, a pretext beneath the ‘Sangreal’ or Cup of Christ was, as an incentive which proposed fool proof neutrality with regards to it’s granted sphere of activity, effectively witnessed to be analogous with the production of beer, a process through which the British legal system had since the reign of Arthur in the sixth century Anno Domini betokened a strong affiliated with the brewing industry.
Naturally the quality of the beer in this instance tended to be low even mildly toxic although, given that murder was a crime, this was surely not the industry’s primary intention and the drink’s value as an aggregate rather than a dietary provision was, in many cases presumed to be the guiding ethic behind it’s production, a process through which, in deviating substantially from the Ambrosiac qualities for which Absinthe was originally perceived to be prized, beer earned unwholesome distinction, through association with both the fertilization of crops and the livery halls of medieval London.
Founded upon an older fabric of single roomed priest’s colleges “the Clink” was, in this instance, potentially the first English prison to divide male from female convicts, an establishment which rapidly achieved notoriety for employing solitary confinement and scourging with rods to subordinate it’s inmates.
Known to have both licensed begging and practised prostitution during the early medieval era, ‘the Clink’ was also recorded to have served as a hospice, renting out rooms to tenants for a nominal fee.
Although sacked during the “Statutes of labourers” in 1450, a circumstance which was to become known as the “Peasant’s Rebellion”, the Clink was re-built and subsequently earned renown for incarcerating both religious fanatics and those who over-indulged at bank-side throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the site remaining active as a penitentiary through until 1780 when it was burned down during the Gordon riots.
Although accurate records pertaining to the matter are rare, there was almost certainly a brewing industry in Southwark during the fourteenth century, the region being recorded to have possessed a hostelry known as the “Tabard by the Bell” in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
Cited to have been a coaching Inn managed by a man named Henry Bailly during Chaucer’s era, “The Tabard” was thought to have been situated in what is now Talbot Yard on the Borough High Street, a location in which it was recorded to have been accompanied by a number of other public houses including “The Old Pick”, “The White Hart”, “The Spur”, “The Christopher” and “The Boar’s Head”, a hostel itself notable for having been frequented by Falstaff in the plays of Shakespeare.
The proliferation of such inns in the vicinity of the Borough Market throughout the medieval era indicates that they were both popular and profitable ventures, a success perhaps accreditable to the observation that London Bridge was closed at night forcing travellers to seek riverside accommodation.
Although little more than a modern replica of such hostelry, “The George”, a traditional sixteenth century timber framed Inn still trades beer within the proximity of the Borough Market and remains open to the public to this day.
The Bishop of Winchester or ‘Prior of St. Mary Overies’ was also granted a license to use Thames water for brewing in Lambeth in 1509, and, in 1525, cast locks were recorded to have been employed in London to import and export beer. Local records upon the subject, inferring that beer was considered safer to drink than Thames water by the Southwark brewing industry at this date.
At approximately the same time that the Clink was operative the Jerusalem Tavern was founded in Clerkenwell by the Priors of St. John, a monastic refectory which, although no longer present in the capital, once stood by the remnant of St. John’s Gate in the West End, defining the furthermost extent of the old walled city of London.
Renowned for having been frequented by amongst others, ‘William Hogarth’, ‘Samuel Johnson’, ‘Oliver Goldsmith’, ‘David Garrick’ and ‘George Frederick Handel’, “The Jerusalem Tavern” remained in operation through until the eighteenth century selling three quart bottles of beer known as “Jerusalems”.
Both the “Old London Coffee House”, an establishment favoured by Joseph Priestley and Benjamin Franklin near St. Martin’s Church and the Abbey of St Stephen’s in Westminster were, through association with the Jerusalem Tavern also thought to have brewed ale in the twelfth century.
5… THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY… THE BREWERS COMPANY
Following the military ethics which were perceived to have typified the Norman conquests of the eleventh century, the re-instatement of law which the ‘Magna Carta’ was, through conjunction with the establishment of both the ‘Inner and ‘Middle’ Temples by the ‘Order Of The Knights Templar’, observed to have represented, generally appeared to exert a consolidative influence upon London’s affairs, drawing it’s constituent elements together despite themselves beneath a common mayoral authority.
Initially noted to have resulted in a fragmentation of the capital’s constitutional fabric, dividing it between a diverse selection of ‘Inns of Court’ assigned to dwell upon legal issues and an assortment of ‘Inns of Chancery’ devoted to the city’s industrial progress, the restitution of the ‘Magna Carta’ and it’s various statutes in England was, following both a Papal bull and a royal decree banning the study common law in the city, incidentally perceived to have resulted in a general migration of East end lawyers and brokers to ‘Furnival’s’, ‘Thavie’s’ and ‘Theobald’s’ Inns in Holborn, locations in which, despite differences of opinion, legal speculation nonetheless ultimately proved capable of pooling it’s ideas.
Such Inns were, upon having been initially conceived as the London residences of both regional Bishops and their households, in fact noted to have been relatively commonplace within the city during the medieval era, a pretense beneath which ‘Chichester’ Inn was, in being residential, to become known as the ‘Chichester rents’ that presently exist along Fleet Street, ‘Barnard’s’ Inn owned by ‘Sir Adam Le Basing’ was, through association with it’s proprietorship, to earn distinction as a mayoral office, and ‘Thomas’s’ Inn was, in apprenticing surgeons into it’s midst, to become ‘St. Thomas’’ hospital in Southwark.
Noted to have been partially centralized alongside the property of a Dominican Friary in Cheapside beneath the aegis of the ‘Bishop Of Lincoln’ during the mid thirteenth century, a pretext beneath which the ‘Earl’s Of Lincoln’ were ultimately to serve as retainers for most of London’s regional concerns during the medieval era, such Inns, were, in representing the communal soul of the old walled city, similarly noted to be where alcohol was most likely to be drunk.
Although ‘The City Of London Brewers Company’ had, in this instance, hypothetically existed since the reign of Henry the Second, being referred to by many names throughout the medieval era, the organisation was paradoxically also recorded to have been founded some years later in 1862, a term beneath which it would probably have been synonymous with many of the Metropolitan and Municipal associations then operative in the capital, and it was beneath this apparel that much of medieval London was noted to have been re-constructed.
Much of this re-construction was further destroyed in 1941 during the air-raids of the blitz, an occurrence which resulted in the temporary re-location of the ‘City of London Brewer’s Company’ to Kensington Gore, a trans-migration which then later re-occupied the City as ‘The City Of London Brewery and Investment Trust’.
With regards to the organisation’s Plantagenet heritage, the ‘Guild of our lady and St. Thomas A Becket’ was, in being at the center of the old walled city of London, recorded to have existed in the city during the late 12th century, a pretext beneath which it was, at this time, observed to be devoted to the memory of the popular medieval martyr, who, in having been murdered by Henry the Second, had incidentally become something of a public cause.
In 1215 ‘The Magna Carta’ was observed to confirm the predilections of ‘Thomas a Becket’s’ wayfarer cult with a law demanding the uniform measurement of ale, although whether such a statute was intended to insure generosity or responsibility with regards to the provision of such things remains of a largely ambiguous persuasion.
In keeping with the general sentiment of civil protest that distinguished, both the archbishop’s death and reinstitution of laws which prohibited such things , a number of London brewers were, perhaps through association with the constitutional changes wrought by the ‘Magna Carta’, recorded to have lodged formal complaints against the harassment of the local sheriffdom with regards to their activities during the late thirteenth century and proceeded to act as independents brewing beer for it’s own sake rather than through association with any over-riding legislature
Whether an allusion to escapist oblivion or not, the ‘Guild of Our Lady and St. Thomas a Becket’ achieved a degree of success during the medieval era and many ecclesiastical inns were subsequently established along recognised pilgrim routes between London and Canterbury.
Evidence of such viticulture remaining apparent in the village of Wrotham, along the Pilgrims way in Kent, a location which, in being blessed with a high concentration of small public houses, is surrounded by land upon which several species of grape thought to have been grown during London’s Roman era still thrive.
With reference to to the issue of English viticulture in contemporary terms, although the Marquis of Bute was recorded to have founded an extensive vineyard at Castell Coal in South Wales during the nineteenth century, and the ‘Denbies’, ‘Chappel Dunns’ and ‘Teffont’ vineyards were established during the twentieth century, there have been surprisingly few grape farms established in England during the last two hundred years, an absence largely attributable to the inclemency of English weather, grapes require temperate conditions to grow
With regards to the production of wine within the capital itself, “The London Cru Urban Winery” situated upon the site of an old nineteenth century Gin Distillery in Fulham, is presently observed to specialise in the many types of beverage that can be fermented from different grape varieties, an instance in which the winery is noted to boast a fine collection of old barrels that, in being inoculated with yeast, propose to serve in the continuation of the traditional processes of ageing and settling that were alleged to have been employed by vintners during the seventeenth century.
The term ‘Cru’ was, in this instance, observed to originate from the French word growth, an expression derived from the practise of pruning vines to achieve an optimum yield, a principle with which wine’s current popularity is surely well acquainted although, with respect to the drink’s cultivation upon English soil, new world wines are, upon being made from grapes grown within temperate realms, generally observed to be both better and cheaper than those of English origin.
Irrespective of whether or not wine grapes could be grown easily for commercial purposes upon English soil during the medieval era, the convention of both brewing and trading beer upon the same premises was undoubtedly practised in London as early as 1320, a term beneath which inns known as “tied houses” were, in distinction from “Common brewers” who sold their ware to external retail outlets, recorded to have been placed beneath the governance of a single land-lord, an instance in which “The Bear” in Southwark was cited to have both brewed and sold it’s own beer.
“The Bear” was also renowned for holding archery contests and chartering lavishly decorated “tilt boats” to those that wished to transit the Thames, a custom not unlike that of Venice in the Adriatic at approximately the same time.
The brewers company was formally founded in 1342 by John Enfield at All Hallows Church situated beside the old London wall, and, not forty years later London was known to have boasted over 300 commercial breweries, a period during which hopped beer was first recorded to have been prepared in the capital.
The practise of allowing drinkers to see their beer as it was being brewed was also witnessed to have occurred from a fairly early date, a process through which the clarity of ale was deemed indicative of it’s sterility, a matter of concern amidst the omnipresent threat of pestilence and disease which typified medieval London, an instance in which the maintenance of hygiene seemed frequently to coincide with no more than it’s promise, giving rise to a plethora of pretty drinks which, although confirmed to be potable, were observed to fluctuate precariously about an uncertain standard.
The list of ingredients which were included in many medieval beers, were, this instance often presumed to be indicative of cleanliness when otherwise of nebulous character, it being observed for example that convicts who imbibed Lavender wine or wore floral perfume proved more tolerant to the Black Death than those who did not, an opinion which was effectively observed to be reiterated in the eighteenth century when Gin was popular.
It was noted in the memorandum book of the clerk ‘William Porland’, that Henry the Sixth had granted the brewers guild a company charter during his reign and, that, at approximately the same time, Dick Whittington had criticized brewers for being “fat swans”, ordering them to sell ale at a penny a gallon and fining them for taking too much water from the “Chepe conduit”.
Although Dick Whittington’s sentiments towards London brewing are subject to misinterpretation, a series of assertions through which he could easily have been observed to have perished alcohol as stale, the Mayor, much like the ‘Magna Carta’, ultimately seemed to have supported the sale of drinks in the city, an instance in which any excuse to engage in communal activities was considered a unifying influence.
The Brewers Company were in this sense, largely responsible for restricting the ingredients of beer to Malt Hops, Water and Yeast, a term beneath which the organisation has often been considered to represent a medieval prohibition.
The true origin of such a specific was, in this instance, in fact unlikely to have been the trade of beer in a commercial sense but, instead that of ‘Gruit’ a beverage which, in including such ingredients as ground Ivy instead of Hops within it’s constitution alongside a varying range of fruit and herbs, would very easily have been poisonous and demanded some form of control, an instance in which food and drink in general was simply not toxic.
By 1327 “Ale Conners” were appointed at Court to ensure the quality of bread ale and, in 1393 Richard the Second was recorded to have pronounced that all public houses must display an ale-stake, although such an analogy may, in practise, also have pertained to the legitimacy of brothels, an instance in which “Ale Wives” or “Brewsters” were known to have erected “Ale Wands” decorated much like Greek ‘Thyrsese’ with sprigs of foliage in public places to indicate when home brewed beer was, in what would appear to have been something of a Bacchanalian gamble, ready to be wheeled forth for display.
The first brewers hall was constructed within ‘Aldermansbury Sqaure’ in 1403, a building which, although subsequently destroyed by fire, was recorded to have been listed to the “Wardens And Communality Of the Mysteries Of the Art Of Brewing Of The City Of London”, a capacity in which it served as a Livery Hall, a misnomer creditable to the observation that many London Companies were associated with cloth production during the medieval era.
Notable for having been rented to footballers in 1422, one of the earliest accounts of the popular ball game on record, the Brewers Hall was re-constructed in it’s initial location during the late seventeenth century, a period after which the brewing company’s interests were noted to have been protected by Royal Charter.
With regards to the allusion between brewing and cloth working “The Fullers and Shearman” company was, recorded to have been formed as a cloth workers guild in 1400, a company which, like the Brewers Company, received Royal charters, meeting halls and alms houses.
Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries The Fullers Shearman firm counted such illustrious figures as the diarist ‘Samuel Pepys’ and ‘William Lambe’ as it’s masters and both the geographer ‘Richard Hakluyt’ and the lord mayors ‘Sir William Hewett’ and ‘Sir Sydney Waterlow’ amongst it’s membership.
The exact origin of the term ‘Fullers and Shearmen’ is, in this sense, uncertain, although it is very possible that “fulling” was the immersion of fleece in urine, a convention which, in being practised both by the Greeks and in the “Fullonicae” of ancient Pompeii, felted and extracted fats from cloth, the fabric being treated with ‘Nitron’ and pounded or stamped upon in vaulted baths to the effect of accumulating reserves of butter, cheese and soap, a process through which the practise may once have been analogous to tales like that of of Jason and Argonauts in which fleece was stolen or removed from mythical serpents such as the ‘Hydra of Lerna’.
In 1408 the brewers guild devised their coat of arms, a motif dedicated to the pilgrimage and martyrdom of St. Thomas A Becket, however, in 1424, complaints were registered against the activity of foreign brewers in London, a sentiment which, in 1483, led to the formulation of a number of laws against impurities in beer.
The Brewer’s company coat of arms was adapted in 1544 to include a ‘demi-morien’ bearing the image of a wheat sheaf and a fair amount of brewing was recorded to have occurred upon the banks of the Thames east of the tower throughout the fifteenth century, a period during which old English ale gradually evolved into hopped beer.
It was interesting to note that, amongst many other ancient traditions, The Brewers Guild granted the founder members of the society of spectacles freedom of their company and automatically granted the children of ‘Aldenhams’ school membership into their circle.
Perhaps through association with the Brewer’s Company, St. Paul’s Cathedral on Cheapside was recorded to have produced almost 70,000 gallons of beer in a year at the end of the thirteenth century, evidence to suggest that the trade of alcohol was flourishing in London at a surprisingly early date.
Both “Piment”, a beverage which, in being composed of fermented fruit and ambergris or musk and “Malmsey Wine” or “Monemvasia”, a sweet ‘Madieran’ wine, which earned further notoriety in 1478 when the Duke of Clarence was drowned in a vat containing the substance, were recorded to have been imbibed as aphrodisiacs during the twelfth century, an instance in which ‘Piment’ was, in frequently possessing a mead base. very possibly an early example of the popular sixteenth century drink “Hypocras”.
It was interesting to note, in this instance that ‘Malmsey’ wine was potentially named after ‘Malmsbury Abbey’ in Wiltshire where the ‘Old Bell’ hotel was observed to have been built in 1220, a location which, through association with the Bishop of ‘Malmsey’s’’ tenure at London’s Inn’s of Chancery during the thirteenth century, was noted to have produced wine.
In being popular among Tudor drinking circles, ‘Hypocras’ was originally thought to have been imported from the Mediterranean during the sixteenth century some years after ‘Piment’ was witnessed to have been consumed, but the similarities which may be perceived to arise in the description of the two drinks is nonetheless intriguing.
“Hypocras”, was, in this instance, observed to have been a sweet liquor made from wine mixed with sugar, cloves, long pepper and cinnamon, a beverage that, in being filtered through a gauze known as a “Manicum Hypocraticum”, was possibly similar to ‘Sangrea’.
The original formula for ‘Hypocras’ was noted to include “Afromomum Meleagueta”, an African pepper related to ginger in it’s list of ingredients, a drug which was, throughout the medieval era, often observed to have been substituted for black pepper in brewing to improve the taste of wine.
Frequently known as “Grain of Paradise”, ‘Afromomum Melegeuta’ later earned notoriety as a stimulant and diuretic, an instance in which “Red Hypocras”, was in adhering to the legislation that later pertained to such things, recorded to have contained little more than brandy and milk in more recent years, a recipe which would probably have resembled a trifle or blancmange of the medieval era.
6… THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY… COLDHARBOR AND THE HOURGLASS
The East Smithfield region of London suffered badly to the Black Death during the fourteenth century, there being evidence to suggest that 2,400 burials occurred in the vicinity of St. Mary Grace’s Abbey throughout the 1340’s, a circumstance which ultimately led to the establishment of the Hospital of St. Katherine in the area, a concern that, in being recorded to have brewed beer during the fifteenth century, miraculously survived both the dissolution of the monasteries and the English Civil War, being re-designated as a protestant house during the mid-seventeenth century.
Although records pertaining the matter are rare, it was noted that Edward the Third commanded the lord Mayor of London to cleanse the city of the foul odour in which it languished during the epidemic, a period throughout which saltpetre, brimstone, sulphur, amber and even gunpowder were observed to have been burned in efforts to fumigate the city, a practise which resulted in both the wide-scale smoking of tobacco and the usage of nosegays or pouches filled with flowers to deflect the encroachment of the disease.
During the reign of Edward the Second a man named Sir John Able was recorded to have owned a large manor house named “Cold Inn” by London Bridge along Upper Thames Street, a property subsequently acquired by the Merchant Draper and Lord Mayor “Sir John De Pulteney” and re-named “Pulteney’s Inn”, a building which was later to earn renown as a Plantagenet strong-hold beneath the charge of John Howard, Second Duke of Exeter,
In the fifteenth century “Pulteney’s Inn” was recorded to have passed through a succession of Plantagenet hands, being occupied by both Henry the Fourth and Henry the Fifth before ultimately being granted to “The Royal College Of Arms” by Richard the Third, a period after which the property was acquired by the Tudor monarchy, being granted to Henry the Seventh’s mother Margaret Beaufort.
In 1528, some years after the event of the Black Death, ‘Pulteney’s Inn’ was passed to the Clothworkers company on behalf of the “Fullers Shearman” firm, a period throughout which the property, then a sizeable preserve, was known as Coldharbour, a one pot brew house owned by ‘Mr. Pott’ being recorded to have existed in ‘Haywharfe’ at approximately this time.
‘Mr. Pott’s’ brewery was, during the mid-sixteenth century, acquired by a man named Henry Campion and subsequently re-named “the Hourglass”, a period throughout which it became affiliated with the City of London Brewery Company, thereby drawing a direct link between it’s activities and those of the London brewing community prior before the Black Death.
‘The Hourglass’ was. in this instance, recorded to have been managed by a man named John William Reynolds in 1587, a proprietorship beneath which the brewery effectively remained in the possession of the Campion family, being passed by rule of succession down Henry Campion’s line until ultimately destroyed during the Great Fire of London, a conflagration which was noted to have decimated many of the capital’s cottage industries causing a manner of common antipathy that paradoxically bound London companies together.
Once recorded to have been situated on the Coldharbour estate, ‘Brewer street’, presently owes it’s name to the breweries of Thomas Ayres and Henry Davis, ventures which although subsequently demolished were recorded to have been active in the area during the eighteenth century.
Re-constructed in the mid-eighteenth century through association with such activity, The Hourglass later earned renown beneath the proprietorship of The Lord Mayor, Sir William Calvert, a period during which the establishment was registered to have collaborated with “The Peacock Brewery” on White Cross Street.
Subsequently managed by a fellowship consisting of Felix Calvert The First, Robert Calvert, Charles Calvert, Robert Ladbroke and William Whitmore, “The Hourglass” was recorded to have gone into partnership with William Seward during the late eighteenth century, a period during which it operated beneath the name “Calvert and Seward”.
The Hourglass ultimately closed in 1922, a period after which many of it’s operations were transferred to ‘Stansfield and Company’s’ “Swan” brewery in Fulham.
With regards to the area’s naval heritage, by the turn of the seventeenth century the Cold Harbour estate was largely devoted to ship building, a term beneath which carpenters were often commissioned to construct barrels before effecting work on ships to prove that they were capable of achieving a sufficient standard of craftsmanship, a practise that circumstantially resulted in a stockpile of barrels which, in being filled with fluid, were proven sound.
The consumption of “Grog” by sailors was, in this sense, probably derived from the proofing of barrels with liquid, a convention which may, at this time, have been exacted as a form of punishment rather than a recreational pleasure, however “Grog” was, throughout the eighteenth century, apparently also a recognised drink composed of five parts Rum and two parts lemon juice served in boiling water with a clove, a piece of cinnamon and a lump of sugar.
River traders were, in this instance, known to have sold ‘Wormwood’ ale among the huddle of vessels which sought harbor in the Thames estuary during the era of the celebrated seventeenth century diarist ‘Samuel Pepys’, a tradition which, in featuring ‘Absinthe’ within it’s catalog of dietary supplements, may, through association with London Bridge, well have been observed to extend back to the tilt boats and skiffs of the medieval era.
Noted to have sailed in ‘bumboats’, which owed their name to the time honored practice of drawing up to neighboring vessels at port, ‘Wormwood Ale’ traders would, in strafing shorelines for sprigs of ‘Artimisia Maritima’ or ‘Sea Absinthe’, a plant which, in being affectionately referred to as an ‘old woman’, was incidentally witnessed to grow in the coastal waters around the British isles, effectively brew their own ‘Purl’ tonic ale for the purpose of commercial exchange, boarding other’s ships to conduct business, before continuing on their course.
I am uncertain as to exactly how strong such beverages were but, taking into account the observation that the sweet wort produced from malted barley was considered best when consumed fresh and would would theoretically taste a little like ‘Sarsparilla’ from the American ‘Sasafras’ tree when mixed with ‘Wormwood’, then I would imagine that, in disguising it’s alcohol content, ‘Purl’ tasted a little like root beer unless of course, it was being used as the base for some form of spiced rum to garnish trifles.
Scurvy grass or ‘Cochlearia’, a variety of coastal cabbage was, through association with naval drinking habits, also recorded to have grown in abundance along the banks of the Thames between Erith and Gravesend during the medieval era, a plant which, in earning renown, for it’s ability to ameliorate the symptoms of the mariner’s disease, scurvy, was often added to beer, a term beneath which, in being slightly salty, it would, in fact, probably not have been much stronger than root beer.
Despite such an observation, it was nonetheless recorded to have been the case that a beverage known as Henry Clark’s Compound spirit of Scurvy grass was being sold in London as an elixir in 1664, a recipe that, in being mixed with strong liquor to the effect of rendering it a potent alcohol, was later noted to have been perfected by a brewer named ‘Sieur De Venantes’.
Consumed throughout an era in which London was severely afflicted by plague, the fate of Scurvy Grass as a popular drink potentially played subject to criticism, being thought, in many instances to be associated with the spread of disease, although St. Bartholomew’s Hospital was, in 1669. recorded to have prepared ale constituted from Scurvy grass and a number of East London brewers continued to produce the Spirit during the latter years of the seventeenth century.
Although Alcohol in it’s present form was probably not that popular during the fifteenth century, beverages composed of fermented fruit and curdled milk were recorded to have been widely consumed throughout the medieval era.
Known by many names including “Syllabubs”, “Possets” or “Caudels”, such drinks generally consisted of whisked cream floated on sweetened wine, a guise beneath which they bore a resemblance to souffles rather than drinks.
The terms “Molly-Coddler” and “Tart” probably owe their origins to the consumption of Caudles, an analogy through which the beverage is likened to a woman.
Whether derived from the practises of the many convents and nunneries which distinguished East London at this time or from the pleasantries which presumably circumstanced the imbibement of such drinks remains a matter of conjecture.
The modern drink “Eggnog” potentially owes it’s origins to the medieval syllabub, a beverage composed of an egg blended with two parts brandy, two parts rum and three parts single cream before being mixed with ice and syrup and sprinkled with nutmeg.
In 1400, the book of Margery Kempe represents a relatively rare attempt to record the practice of brewing beer in Norfolk, a document which in virtually standing alone as a vanguard for such things, is observed to coincide neatly with both the resurgence of such industry in the aftermath of the Black Death and the subsequent petition to control the trade of alcohol during the late fourteenth century through association with such activity.
7… THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY…THE RED LION OF LOWER EAST SMITHFIELD
Interestingly small town houses were recorded to have been used for brewing in both London and other cities throughout the fifteenth century. The home of the Southampton brewer “John Fortin”, for example, was known to have possessed a wine cellar in which alcohol was stored although containing vessels would probably have been made from ceramic at this time.
In 1492 a Fleming named John Merchant was recorded to have been licensed to sell fifty tonnes of “Berre Pennant” from a “Bere house” in East Smithfield, a venture which, during the sixteenth century expanded to encompass the “Red Lion” Brewery located by St. Katherine’s Quay, it being observed that it was possible at this date for members of the public to collect their own malt for brewing after having paid fees to a local authority.
The Red Lion operated beneath the patronage of the Earls of Leicester from 1492 through to the Elizabethan era, a period during which a man named “Geoffrey Gates” was recorded to have brewed for Henry the Eighth in the area.
The events which which led to the choice of the Red Lion as a symbol for the beer trade remain ambiguous, the image displayed upon the original public house was almost certainly that of a lion rampant purpur, perhaps the soporific effects of alcohol were valued at this date.
Almost five hundred tonnes of ale were registered to have been exported to Europe during the sixteenth century, evidence to suggest that the trade of alcohol was flourishing at this time, a period during which The Red Lion public house of Lower east Smithfield was recorded to have been a victualling yard.
In 1705 The Red Lion brewery situated in the St Katherine’s district of Lower East Smithfield was recorded to have been owned by Humphrey Parsons a period during which the brewery earned renown for supplying the court of Louis the fifteenth with Porter, evidence to suggest that the drink was being brewed in various forms some years before the official date of it’s invention.
In 1672, Richard Hoare a member of the worshipful Company of Goldsmiths founded Hoare’s bank in West London an interest that earned distinction throughout the seventeenth century at Cheapside, employing the emblem of a Golden bottle or Toby Jug as it’s standard, “Hoare’s Bank” became widely associated with the exchange of goods for tokens in many London public houses, a pretext through which the company later became affiliated with the brewing industry.
Counting amongst it’s clients such notable individuals as the Jacobean diarist Samuel Pepys, the artist Godfrey Kneller and even Catherine de Braganza, Hoare’s bank was notable for wielding considerable influence during the establishment of the Royal Exchange throughout the latter years of the Stewart era.
Hoare’s Bank was, almost three hundred years after the brewery’s foundation, observed to have purchased the Red Lion Public House on St. Katherine’s Quay in 1802, an acquisition which, in narrowly preceding the movement of the Royal Mint to East Smithfield, was to coincidentally presume the wide scale industrialisation of the Wapping area, a period during which a number of impressive Boulton and Watt steel presses were constructed upon the North bank of the Thames.
In 1780 Southwark replaced Stourbridge Fair as the biggest Hop market in England and in 1784, ‘Henry Goodwyn’ was recorded to have installed a steam engine to pump beer at the Red Lion, the arrival of the Royal Mint in East Smithfield serving to render the usage of steam power almost commonplace in the area.
Whether directly accreditable to the Red Lion brewery or not there is apparently a Red Lion cocktail composed of two parts Gin and two parts Grand Marnier brandy mixed with one part lemon juice and one part lime juice currently available at many public houses, a beverage which, in being traditionally shaken with ice and consumed from a sugar rimmed glass, probably owes it’s origins to the drinking passions of the mid-nineteenth century.
Brewing was also recorded to have occurred at Mortlake’s “Stag” brewery during the fifteenth century where the reservoir system of ‘Castlenau’ which once covered most of Barnes could provide fresh water to those that had fled what was then viewed to have been the epicenter of the Black death during the preceding century, a period during which a man named Thomas Greene was registered to have been the master of the Brewers Company at Westminster Abbey, it being observed that the Abbey had effectively continued to brew beer throughout the period of dissolution which distinguished the Tudor era and ultimately established a brewery named the ‘Stag’ in Pimlico two hundred years later in 1641 beneath the proprietorship of a man named William Greene thereby hypothetically formalising the term beneath which either the Mortlake or Pimlico ‘Stag’ had once existed.
The Pimlico Stag was, like it’s predecessor, recorded to have passed by rule of succession down William Greene’s line during the eighteenth century a period throughout which the establishment was interestingly noted to have been situated upon the grounds of St. James’ Palace, it being recorded that a series of Royal Mews associated with an extant brewery on the site were removed when Buckingham House became Buckingham Palace in the area.
In hypothetically having been part of the same push that found occasion to furnish Barnstaple, Bristol, and Northumbria with the scattered remnants of old London town, the Stag’s return to the capital, appeared, beneath the strength of it’s provision, to take pride of place within the economy of the city’s subsequent bearing and to proceed as it once had done before the event of the occurrences which had sent it hither.
Sold to Moore, Elliot and Co. in the early nineteenth century, a process through which ‘John Lettsom Elliot’ was, in 1837, eventually to collaborate with the celebrated Wandsworth brewer James Watney, The Pimlico Stag, forfeited much of it’s land during the construction of Victoria Station, a period after which it’s interests were largely managed by James Watney, the brewery ultimately falling beneath the jurisdiction Watney and Co. in the late nineteenth century, an interest which merged with it’s two primary rivals Combe and Reid in 1898 to form the Watney, Combe, Reid organisation.
The Pimlico Stag was ultimately closed in 1959, the site currently being occupied by the Headquarters of Associated Portland Cement, however the Stag in Mortlake remains operative to this day, a brewery which, in having been owned by Charles James Phillips and James Wigan in the 1840’s was acquired by Watney and Co. during the mid twentieth century and sold on to the American multi-national ‘Anheuser Busch’.
In 1989 John Gilbert developed Golden Ale, an innovative light beer currently available beneath the brand name “Summer Lightning” at Mortlake’s Stag, the brewery being commandeered by ‘Anheuser Busch’ some years later through association with the large scale production of Budweiser beer.
8… THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY… PARACLESUS AND THE TUDOR RAM
Sixteenth century inns were, in practical terms, probably little different from those of the earlier medieval era, being associated with the cock fighting bear baiting, prostitution and illicit marriages that typified many fourteenth century public houses.
There were many taverns operative in London during the early Tudor era a list which, in extending to include “The Mitre” at Cheapside, “The Falcon” at Bankside, “The Devil” at Temple Bar, “The Star and Garter” at Pall Mall and “The Spiller’s Head” at Clare market, presents evidence to suggest that brewing was widely practised in the city throughout the sixteenth century.
In 1520 The Prospect of Whitby or “Devil’s Tavern” was established along Wapping street, a public house which, in betokening reference, to the Holy Synod and the fortunes of the Jacobite cause during the Stewart era, was apparently named after a Whitby registered ship moored upon the Thames within it’s proximity,
Renowned for being a favoured haunt of the infamous hanging Judge “George Jeffries”, a customer who was reputed to have watched criminals shackled to mooring posts drown in the area, “The Prospect of Whitby”, was, throughout the sixteenth century, recorded to have been one of the most well frequented public houses in London.
“The Red Cow” near Wapping Old Stairs, an Inn allegedly named in homage to the practise of trawling fish, was also thought to have been frequented by the infamous judge, an association though which Jeffries was rumoured to have watched men being hung at Execution Dock whilst sitting upon the establishment’s balcony, a pastime confirmed by the inn’s proximity of the “Captain Kidd” public house along Wapping High Street, a tavern named in commemoration of the Scottish pirate James Kidd who was legendarily hung from the Dock.
Not long afterwards the “Old Cock Tavern” was established along Fleet Street, a bar frequented by amongst others, the playwright Oliver Goldsmith, the ghostly head of whom is rumoured to appear partially buried in the courtyard outside the public house at certain times of the year.
“The Cheshire Cheese” public house still stands along Fleet Street from this era, a tavern which, in pioneering the usage of tokens as a form of exchange, later earned renown for possessing a talking parrot named Polly that was reputed to be capable of emulating both bar-side invective and the sound of beer being poured.
‘The Artichoke’ public house was also recorded to have existed in the Whitechapel area during the late sixteenth century, a period throughout which it was notable for having been frequented by the celebrated Elizabethan mariner, ‘Walter Raleigh’,
Presently the site of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, the Artichoke coaching inn potentially dates back to 1420, a period during which the premises were recorded to have been occupied by a man named Robert Chamberlain, the public house remaining in operation through until 1570 when the property was leased to the master bell maker Thomas Lester for usage as a foundry.
“John Byde Bell”, a master brewer of the brewers company, was, perhaps through association with such foundries, recorded to have owned a brewhouse in Shoreditch in 1653, an establishment which, through association with “the Rose and Crown public house” in the area, earned renown for serving a variety of beverages including ‘Alderman Byde’s Ale’, Caribbean Rum and English Champagne or “Malmsey Wine”, a drink which, in possessing a staunch medieval heritage, was, itself, notable for having been favored by the celebrated seventeenth century diarist Samuel Pepys.
Whether or not the bells made at Whitechapel were ever used to contain beer or the foundry’s furnace to distill spirit at this date remains a matter of conjecture, it being more likely that bell casting achieved a degree of commercial acceptability during the construction of St. Paul’s cathedral slightly further West quite separately from brewing industry.
Although beer was perhaps not as popular in Tudor courts as recent interpretation would appear to suggest, inebriation having been a punishable offence for which men were recorded to have been both sent to the stocks and forced to wear hollowed out beer barrels in public, it was almost certainly the case that many sixteenth century households flavoured their drinking water in efforts to preserve it from contaminants which were thought to cause disease, a process through which the convention of hermetic containment probably led to the fermentation of beer.
Henry the eighth was known to have had two personal brewers, one for ale and one for beer during his reign, 13,000 pints of beer a day being produced at Hampton Court Palace during the sixteenth century although such beverages were probably most frequently sterilised by baking and used for cooking at this time, a distinction through which they were known as “Small beers”.
Spiced mead, Perry, cider and Sack brandy or sherry were almost certainly consumed during the Tudor era, although it is unlikely that such drinks were intentionally alcoholic, modern Perry (or pear cider), is a very mild beverage easily mistaken for lemonade.
With regards to the peculiarity of the term “Sack Brandy”, “Sack” is probably a derived from the French word “Sec” meaning sweet, an analogy which, in being drawn from the sweetness of the concentrated substrate of distilled wine, is potentially also the origin of the word “sick”.
Many Tudor houses were recorded to have possessed physic gardens in which selections of medicinal herbs including poisons were grown, a resource to which noblemen were known to have referred when smitten by ailments ranging from tooth ache, tonsillitis, and haemorrhoids to more serious conditions such as sweating sickness.
It was interesting to note in this instance that many of these medicines incorporated the cured bones and hide of creatures the no longer exist in England, powders composed of ground unicorn horn, the bones of Britain’s native lion, bear paws, mammoth tusks, boar’s skin, it seemed that there had been something of a mass extinction upon the British mainland in the intervening years.
There were 139 vineyards recorded to have existed in England during Henry the Eighth’s reign, 11 owned by the crown, 67 by noblemen and 52 by the church, a period during which a man named Geoffrey Gate was recorded to have brewed for the King.
Alcohol was, during the late sixteenth century, recorded to have been consumed from a variety of leather handled wooden cup treated with pitch known as a “Black Jack”, an analogy through which the term black jack was also used to refer to small hand-held ambush weapons, evidence to suggest that Tudor drinking practises were perhaps not as peaceable as one would initially suppose.
Beverages known as ‘Mad Dagger Ale’ and ‘Dragon’s Milk’ were known to have been produced during the reign of Elizabeth the First, a monarch who was also recorded to have complained about the cost and strength of a beverage known as “Doble Doble beer”, a brew which, in paying homage to the Elizabethan law of compensating twice what was owed for the crime of theft, was noted to have been recently been re-created in Belgium by Trappist monks, and the celebrated playwright “William Shakespeare’s” father was apparently a professional “ale conner” by trade, a vocation which, was alleged to have habituated the practise of sitting in small puddles of beer wearing leather britches, the consistency of stale beer being thought stickier than freshly brewed ale.
Commercial brewing was, in this instance, known to have occurred at the the Ram brewery in Wandsworth during Elizabeth the First’s reign, a period during which the brewery was known as the “Tap and Tun Room”, an establishment owned by a woman named “Elizabeth Ridon” although in 1576 a man named ‘Humphrey Langridge’ was recorded to have leased beer to an extant Ram public house in the area, thus predicting the brewery’s subsequent identity.
In 1803 the Surrey Iron railway opened in South London, a project which, in being designed to transit goods between the Ram and Croydon, presaged the wide-scale industrialisation of the Wandsworth area, and In 1831 ‘Charles Allen Young’ and ‘Anthony Fothergill Bainbridge’ purchased the Ram brewery, a period during which much of the old brew-house was destroyed in a fire and largely re-constructed.
Renowned for producing both Porter and Bitter during the mid-nineteenth century, the Ram passed to Charles Allen Young’s son “Charles Florence Young”, an ownership beneath which the brewery suffered yet more fire damage and was again largely re-constructed.
Situated upon the banks of the ‘Wandle’, the Ram was during it’s period of activity, a vast courted structure known as the “Ram Quarter”, a building almost entirely separated from the urban township which lay at it’s girth.
Once used as a stabling yard for a pack of of draught horses which were, up until the site’s closure in 2006, used in tandem with Thames barges for delivering ale, the Ram was, during the nineteenth century, recorded to have been equipped with two steam powered beam engines, machines which remained in usage upon the premises through until 1980's.
Renowned for preserving a Dorset Horn Ram as it’s mascot, the name of the brewery is more probably derived from the fleece of effervescence caused by the addition of fresh yeast to a fermenting beer vat during brewing.
In 1905 The Ram Brewery in Wandsworth first started selling bottled beer, the company continuing to expand throughout the twentieth century acquiring Foster’s lager in 1962 and Cockburn Campbell limited in 1973.
Young’s shire horses were notably chosen to draw the Lord mayor’s coach through London during the Lord Mayor’s Show of 1998 although Wandsworth’s Ram brewery sadly closed in 2006 after having operated in the area for almost half a millennium it’s operations being transferred to the Charles Wells brewery in Bedford, a period during which the company acquired “Courage bitter”, a brand which in being established in 1787 by John Courage at the ‘Horselydown Lane’ brewery in Bermondsey, was notably synonymous with the renaissance of Southwark’s Anchor brewery.
Young’s eventually completely merged with the Charles Wells Limited in 2011 to form “Well’s and Young’s”, a term beneath which the firm became affiliated with the successful “John Bull”, “Bombardier” and “Kestrel Super” brands, the conglomerate also acquiring “Mc Ewan’s Export” from the Heineken company at approximately the same time.
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‘Philipus Aureolus Theoprastus Bombastus Von Hohenhelm’ a medievel alchemist better known as ‘Paraclesus’ was recorded to have devised a recipe for Laudanum or “whole opium” in the early sixteenth century, an extremely bitter drug later camphorated to make Paregoric, evidence to suggest that the Tudors were inclined to favor getting high to the comparatively mediocre sluggish thrills that alcohol may be presumed to afford.
The celebrated Swiss scientist also recommended both mixing red wine with earthworms and moss which had been placed in the cerebellum of a hanged man to cure wounds and the application of powder ground from the remains of mummified criminals to appease breathing difficulties.
‘Paraclesus’ was also fascinated by the medical properties of magnets, suggesting that magnets infused with mummified human remains and plant seeds may represent an effective remedy for ailments.
Although the wisdom behind such treatment remains something of a mystery, the carrying of pouches containing lodestones was recorded to have been an effective aphrodisiac during the medieval era, a practise which could potentially have resulted in an association between magnetism and disease.
The recipe for Laudanum was also recorded to have been devised in 1767 by Thomas Sydenham, a man who, in writing a book upon the subject called “A Medical History Concerning The History And Cure Of Acute Diseases”, witnessed a rise in the drug’s popularity amongst London’s artistic community, an interest which, in including Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley amongst it’s number, served to romanticize the narcotic, leading to it’s re-interpretation as a suicide drug during the nineteenth century.
Perhaps through association with suicide, the criminalisation of certain ingredients in alcohol occurred throughout the nineteenth century with restrictions placed upon the usage in brewing of “Nux Vomica” or ‘Hard Multum’ a poisonous drug extracted from the Strychnine tree which was deemed indicative of impurity in beer , “Cocculus Indicus” or Fish Berry, a South East Asian climbing plant used to stun fish and “Afromomum Melegueta” or Grain of Paradise, a variety of African Pepper which, as has been previously explained, was used to improve the taste of stale wine during the medieval era, although the Beer House Act of 1830 paradoxically allowed any-one to brew or sell beer and cider, a right beneath which free houses were, in being inclined to augment the flavour of their ware, often known as “Tom and Jerry Shops”.
‘Paraclesus’ was not the only brewer to experiment with alcohol during the sixteenth century, in 1521 the poet John Skelton’s wife was recorded to have flavoured her beer with hen’s dung and, somewhat later, horse manure was noted to have been dissolved in beer to cure a man named ‘Peter Lelen’ of debilitating abdominal pains.
In 1578 it was observed that brewing filters composed of sea coal contaminated beer, their usage in the production of alcohol being abandoned in favour of charcoal, a practice which, in corresponding with the general pursuit of sterility established during the medieval era by the brewers guild, coincidentally served to promote the distillation of spirit from ale.
Despite recently being considered to possess little more than an ornamental value, Gold was through association with the experimentation of ‘Paraclesus’, deemed to be an effective remedy for disease during the sixteenth century, alchemists such as Francis Anthony earning renown for converting the mineral into a liquid form known as “Aurum Potabile”, a fluid made by leaving four ounces of tin ash in three pints of red wine for between three and four days before distilling the result then leaving another four ounces of tin ash in a quart of red wine for ten days before similar filtration and distillation, a process after which the residue of both mixtures was immersed in a pint of vinegar and heated for a further ten days before again being distilled, this final distillate being known as “the menstruum”, a liquid capable of dissolving gold.
This concoction was then completed by the heating of one ounce of ground gold powder with one ounce of salt for about four hours at a high temperature, an instance in which boiling water was added to prevent charring, before one ounce of the resultant residue was mixed with half a pint of the menstruum and heated for six days pending further distillation, the resultant physical residue being immersed in half a pint of spirit wine and left for ten days before ultimately being poured off.
As one would imagine much of the physical residue of this process was from the wine that had been used, a substance reduced to a viscous state by constant distillation, this by-product being further immersed in fresh wine to make Sherry, Port or even Brandy.
Although one would not, unless driven to eulogise over the benefits of alcohol, classify these beverages as liquid gold, mercury or quicksilver was actually recorded to have been consumed in the eighteenth century as a treatment for “Colic”, a term beneath which the mineral was, through association with the work of the physicians “Thomas Dover” and “Sir Hans Sloane”, discovered to be a poison capable of blocking the digestive tract with indissoluble metallic globules.
9… THE BREWING PROCESS
I decided to begin the latter part of ‘Brewery Lanes’ with a brief description of the modern brewing process in efforts to set the pace for the chain of events which were witnessed to occur through association with the efforts of English brewers to appreciate beer’s potential.
Perhaps as a result of the many ingredients which can be included in beer, modern brewing is restricted by law to four primary constituents, water, malt, hops and yeast, however the list of grades and measurements which can be ascribed to this catchment is almost limitless.
As explained there are hundreds of different species of Malt and Hop which may currently be used to brew beer and as many different strains of Yeast, environmental factors such as where a hops crop is grown, or where a water reserve is drawn from, playing a role in distinguishing different types of beer.
The qualification of yeast is perhaps the most intriguing threshold of permutation applicable to the brewing industry, for it was not until the endeavours of Louis Pasteur in the nineteenth century that yeast was truly considered to cause fermentation, a period during which cell mitosis or “budding” was discovered to convert carbohydrates into carbon dioxide and alcohol.
As a result of Pasteur’s work Yeast is, currently known by it’s Latin name “Saccharomycus Cervisiae” a term which, in effectively defining it as a non-photosynthetically reproductive Fungus or Saprophyte, further divides it into two varieties of mold, “Ascomycota” and “Basidiomycota”, an understanding through which fermentation is considered stable inasmuch as that it is not a catalyst for anything other than decomposition to Carbon Dioxide and Alcohol.
Pasteur’s legendary experiments into the oxygenation of yeast pertaining primarily to this attribute, a process through which “Mitosis” was observed to be increased and fermentation inhibited to the effect of cultivating a substantial quantity of “Dry Yeast”.
Although Yeast cream was certainly employed as a cooking ingredient in Germany and Holland in the early nineteenth century, it was not until 1867 that filter presses were employed to create solid yeast, a technique that, in reducing the probability of ‘Lacto-Fermentation’ which tends to render organic matter rancid, presently permits the long term storage of cultivated yeast, a resource which has subsequently been discovered to contain the Vitamin B 12.
Pasteur’s process, currently known as Bio-remediation, has also been proven capable of degrading metals and explosives, effectively causing a degree of granulation in most minerals.
Although adopted upon a large scale by big business, modern Craft brewing tends to forgo Pasteurisation in favour of a more traditional approach, a term beneath which “Brettanomyces” is considered to differ from the conventional categories of yeast perhaps because it is never exposed to compressed oxygen.
As one would imagine this is rather like the restriction of commercial beer to cans which assuaged the convictions of American prohibitionists in the 1930’s, Craft Brewers simply cannot do it without technical assistance and are effectively forced to resort to more simplistic methodology.
During the mid nineteenth century the quality of the water used for brewing beer was considered of primary importance, an observation which caused many brewers to move to Burton on Trent, a region notable for possessing a high proportion of dissolved salts including Gypsum in it’s water supply.
Although many brewers tend to distill their water before usage, the term bottled at source ascribes to the untreated purity of the water from which beer is made.
The first stage of brewing is, as one would imagine, the collection of Grain or any other organic matter intended for fermentation from nature, this being seasonal pending upon the crop that has been planted for usage.
Brewing then begins with a principle known as germination, grain being soaked in water for two to three days until it starts to germinate then spread out to dry upon a flat surface for about five days, a period after which it becomes known as malt.
Traditionally the ‘Oast’ houses and mills which distinguish many rural locations in South East England would have been designed to fulfill this purpose, their interiors being dry and capable of retaining malt in an unsoiled state, however more recently it has become the convention to cook grain in a high temperature dryer for a few hours to reduce the amount of time that it takes to dry, a process which, in halting germination, renders the grain ideal for brewing.
The heating process, is, in this event, observed to affect the character of the malt that is to be used for brewing, Crystal malts being briefly exposed to high temperatures where amber and chocolate malts are respectively exposed to heat for a longer time.
The usage of oil and methane gas for kilning was, in this instance, discovered to produce carcinogens and many breweries resultantly resorted back to indirect firing or natural germination.
After germination the grain is milled or crushed to break it apart and expose an even greater surface area before investigation a process after which it becomes known as “grist” or “bruised malt”.
The selection of grain which can be used for fermentation is surprisingly extensive, a list which includes, bass malts, caramel malts, dark malts, light malts, roasted malts, corn, wheat, grits, malt extracts, oats, redefined starches, rice, syrup and even sugar, however the variety conventionally used for London porter is un-malted barley or oatmeal which lends beer a rich grainy flavour.
Throughout early history un-milled poppy seed was also used as a malt base for Gall wine, however this fell out of favour during the nineteenth century.
In modern brewing many varieties of malt are further distinguished by the percentage of convertible sugar that they are thought to contain prior to fermentation and exogenous enzymes are often substituted for barley to ensure a high concentration of convertible sugars in the mash.
The pulverised grain is then soaked for about forty hours in a vessel known as a “Mash Tun”, whereupon it becomes a semi-sweet liquid known as “Wort” or “Grape Sugar”.
The temperature of the Mash Tun may be raised to between 75 and 78 degrees centigrade and fresh water added at the final stage of of dilution, the addition of fresh water being known as sparging, a process through which the solubility of the grain is considered ideal or optimum after a period of immersion,
There are two different ways in which mash can be made, the first being infusion in which sugar is simply left to dissolve in the mash tun, the second being decoction in which fluid is drawn from and returned to the mash tun in stages and at different temperatures to extract the greatest possible quantity of sugar from the malt.
The Wort is then filtered, traditionally through sea-coal or charcoal, into a second vessel known as a Copper whereupon it is boiled beneath slight pressure with either Hop Cones or herbs for between 45 to 90 minutes, a process which serves to sterilise the Wort .
The range of Hops that can be added at this stage is, like the malt, surprisingly extensive, a list which extends to include ‘Admiral’ hops, ‘Bramling Cross’ Hops, ‘Brewer’s Gold’ Hops, ‘Bullion’ Hops, ‘Challenger’ Hops, ‘First Gold’ Hops, ‘Fuggle’ Hops, ‘Goldings’ Hops, ‘Herald’ Hops, ‘Northdown’ Hops, ‘Northern Brewer’ Hops, ‘Phoenix’ Hops, ‘Pilgrim’ Hops, ‘Pilot’ Hops and ‘Whitbread Golding’ Variety Hops.
Although other herbs and spices can be added at this stage, Hops is generally chosen for both it’s delicate floral aroma when boiled and for the bitterness that it lends beer, it is also used for the quality of it’s yeast during de-composition.
Interestingly Hops (Humulus Lupulus or Wet Wolf), is related to the celebrated narcotic Marijuana, a plant which it resembles in terms of smell and contingency, however the British climate would not naturally exploit any narcotic attributes present in it’s constitution, Hops being very ordinary when cultivated in Britain.
Traditionally the wort is then fed into a third vessel known as a Hop Back, a receptacle which serves as a sieve or filter, however in modern brewing this is frequently substituted for a single filter called a “Whirlpool” located in the copper.
During the nineteenth century Wort was often refrigerated in the Hop Back.
After having been adequately filtered the wort is passed into a fourth unit known as a heat exchanger, a vessel which, in being designed to cool the liquid prior to fermentation, was, before the era of modern refrigeration, composed of a chamber surrounded externally by a source of cold or running water.
In cooling the Wort, the heat exchanger is designed to facilitate fermentation, heat kills yeast putrefying beer,
Although stunningly aromatic, Ammonia salts were often used to refrigerate yeast during the nineteenth century, Ammonia reactions being witnessed to exert a cooling influence which was proven capable of camphorating organic matter.
After having been cooled, the wort is fed into a fifth vessel known as a fermenting vat, a receptacle into which Yeast, an ingredient sometime known as ‘Barm’ or ‘Godesgood’, is added.
Traditionally these tanks were enormous, some capable of containing a terraced house, but smaller variants are equally as effective and many modern micro-breweries use vats little larger than a keg of ale.
Often skimmed during fermentation, the addition of Yeast to Wort is observed to effervesce into a variety of fantastic shapes before eventually subsiding, an effect which, during the early twentieth century was frequently accentuated with the addition of Cobalt Salts during fermentation, an ingredient which, in being associated with a number of deaths during the 1960’s, subsequently proved unpopular.
In modern brewing, the reaction of specially prepared yeast, such as that perfected by the celebrated chemist Alexander Fleming, is so fertile that it is often considered expedient to cyclically brew beer from the same yeast bed, a process through which large amounts of yeast are extracted during fermentation and stored for further usage.
In Germany this process is known as ‘Krausening’, either active yeast or old beer being added to freshly fermented beer to assist it’s conditioning in much the same manner as Brandy from, for example, the Napoleonic era, may be diluted in a more recent vintage to enhance it’s flavour.
“Champenoise”, a ‘Krausening’ technique employed in the production of Champagne, notably that of the “Veuve Cliquot” company of France, incorporates the extraction of yeast added to old wine from a bottle by force of pressure, the wine being frozen and opened to the effect of separating it from the yeast, a term beneath which the beverage is known as “Cremant”.
In this instance “Solera” a system for ageing wine or sherry practised in Spain, is similarly renowned for removing a quantity of wine from the oldest vintage in a cellar and replacing it with an amount extracted from the second oldest there upon a yearly basis.
The addition of fresh yeast or sugar to complete beer in this manner is thought to produce both “Diacetylaldehyde” or “Trub” and “Carbon Dioxide”, a process through which excess sugar is converted into alcohol and the beverage is “attenuated” to the effect of appearing more intoxicative than would ordinarily be the case.
Belgian “Saison lager” and a number of Californian beers are notorious in this instance for exhibiting an extremely high rate of attenuation, a process through which they are generally far stronger than beer, in this instance, mulled fermentation is generally called beer and sugar fermentation lager, lager conventionally being frozen for between one and six months on active yeast.
The measurement of the amount of sugar in Wort became an issue of significance during the mid nineteenth century with the invention, in 1843, of a hydrometer scale by Karl Balling and Simon Ack to measure Wort density, a concept later improved by a man named Fritz Plato who devised a system of “Degrees Plato” to measure the potential strength of alcohol before fermentation.
In commercial brewing, excess yeast is flushed out of a port at the vat’s apex, a process known as top cropping, some vats remaining entirely open during fermentation to ease the extraction of yeast and facilitate it’s re-usage, however the removal of yeast from the bottom of a vat is also possible, an instance in which the spent yeast is known as “Acetylaldehyde” or “trub”, a dark salty residue.
The euphemism, “scraping the bottom of the barrel”, almost certainly owes it’s origins to this method of extraction, the non-alcoholic residue being used as a food source, Acetic Acid or Crotonaldehyde is a primary constituent of soya bean oil.
After this first surge of fermentation the wort becomes known as “green beer” and needs to be matured at a lower temperature in a conditioning tank.
In practise this secondary fermentation takes between two to four weeks, whereupon the resultant brew is racked into a conditioning tank or cask for cold storage.
Although cask conditioning conventionally allows sediment to settle during fermentation many modern breweries further filter and force carbonate their beer to standardise it’s flavour, priming cask beer with a small amount of yeast or sugar to lend it character and increase it’s Carbon Dioxide content is, in this instance, also practised by many craft brewers.
Secondary fermentation is also sometimes applied to beer and wine to reduce the accumulation of malic acid in it’s constitution, softening the flavour of the final brew.
Although traditionally associated with shipbuilding, the usage of oak casks to store beer and spirits earned renown during the nineteenth century for imparting a rich woody flavour to alcohol, a process through which fragments of toasted oak were often added to cask conditioned beer to enhance it’s flavour,
A flavourless substance known as “Isinglass” extracted from the swim bladders of fish is also sometimes used to fine alcohol during fermentation, the chemical composition of Isinglass having been proven capable of binding particulate matter together, separating it from beer.
During the early Victorian era between a quarter teaspoon and a tablespoon of Laudanum was often added to a five gallon batch of wort to facilitate fermentation although, as with the usage of certain spices during ‘Lautering’, this practise was subsequently outlawed.
Home made wine is far simpler to make than beer upon the scale indicated above, a process which involves the drying and brewing of flower petals to a desired consistency, it being possible to re-dry petals after immersion to the effect of gradually accumulating a usable yeast supply, the product being bottled with a few soluble capsules of damp poppy seed, a resource which, like the petals, accumulates a floss of yeast.
Wine made in this manner takes between six months and two years to ferment in a domestic refrigerator, whereupon it can be fined by re-bottling.
The preparation of “Lambic beers” or “Ciders” from spontaneous fermentation or natural decay has actually been practised in England for almost a thousand years, a process which, in taking about two years to mature, lends beer a sour flavour, however, as with gall wine, due to an absence of an appropriate sterilisation procedure, there is no definite certainty as to whether or not such preparations will be poisonous, an instance in which the fundamental essence of brewing is, in effect, observed to be only part the story.
Frequently known as “Moonshine”, the preparation of which was criminalised during the American prohibition of the 1920’s, home made wines and spirits earned further notoriety in both Kenya and India where contamination with methanol was observed to result in death, although “Pruno” a bag fermented beverage made from mashed fruit, water, bread, sugar and tomato Ketchup latterly proved popular in American prisons and home brew kits containing pre-prepared wort are currently widely available upon the open market.
It is further possible to distill ale or wine into spirit by heating it at a low temperature within a flask and drawing off the resultant condensation into a second vessel, a principle which effectively observes that alcohol has a lower boiling point than water and can be separated from it.
In modern terms, this principle has had many application, ‘Rotavapor Vaccums’ for example, introducing ingredients into spirits as vapour to condense during fermentation, it being possible to cycle both the substrate and sublimate of the distillation process through pre-prepared wines to the effect of fortifying them.
“Neutral spirit”, an almost pure alcohol is, in this instance, often used as the base for Vodka and Gin.
A product of intensive distillation, “neutral spirit” is far stronger than the beverage with which it is mixed, being anywhere up to one hundred and ninety percent proof.
Through association with distillation, Although latterly taken for granted, the proofing method of qualifying the strength of alcohol may be observed to demand a degree of definition.
Devised during an era in which Naval rum rations were applied across much of East London, the term one hundred percent proof was applied to the threshold at which gunpowder suspended in alcohol would remain combustible, greater dilutions and thus higher proofs reducing explosives to an inert state.
The term is confusing, however the explanation runs that free alcohols “trap” or stabilise gunpowder as a solid fuel which can be forcefully “struck out” , an effect which, in violently separating alcohol from any gunpowder which it may contain, appears to witness the remarkable effect for which gunpowder is renowned.
The same may of course be said for placing gunpowder beneath pressure in a vessel which is thought to safely contain appropriately proven alcohol, an instance in which ‘the stability’ of the proof may also be observed to matter and distillation or freezing ‘after’ immersion would appear appropriate.
It seemed, in this instance, that, in being ‘proven’ by temperate heat and cold, most commercial produce was effectively deemed to be a sterile fuel, but that, in containing it’s yield beneath varying pressures or gravities, brewing differed from this process, an instance in which the methodology that ascribed to beer production needed to be performed correctly in accordance with it’s own dictum lest it result in harbouring poison.
Naturally punditry devoted to the ends of investigating the event of poisoning in this instance would, in observing brewing itself to be commercially unorthodox, appear to be within it’s rights to raise issue and further deem it appropriate to develop theories of it’s own as to why intoxication occurred, unless, of course, it had no problems because such things were being executed correctly and never resulted in illness.
Taking such an observation into account, it is in fact, quite remarkable that alcohol ever appreciated the grace to be sold for consumption at all, an instance in which the difference between narcotics and poisons proves to be almost indistinguishable to the untrained palate and people are, unless otherwise enlightened, automatically inclined to suspect the latter.
I myself had actually considered the acceptability of alcohol in this case, to be a human attribute, a tenet bound into the constitutional fabric of man’s way of life rather than a money spinner which would, in reducing it’s overheads, profit from economic expedience, and in this sense at least, thought that it’s production for consumption, had needed to be right, it being here that any hierarchy of proficiency would effectively be respected upon it’s own merits.
Similarly the observation that, in dissolving organic matter in sealed vessels containing water, brewing is, as an habitual occupation, perceived to be both comparatively harmless and even ecologically benign, would, despite the aforementioned shortcomings to which it may be imagined to ascribe, perhaps ultimately be why it has been embraced by men to the extent that it has, an instance in which, whether or not people actually directly depend upon it to live, it remains, something that can be done to great effect without witnessing incident.
10… THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY… TRUMAN’S AND THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON
Truman’s Black Eagle Brewery, Brick Lane
London witnessed yet another severe plague in 1665, an epidemic which, in decimating the city’s population, bred a wide-spread interest in medicine, there being a number of references to an undefined substance known as “Materia Medica” upon the capital’s streets in the journals of ‘John Allin’ from this era, whether or not this was a reference to alcohol remains a matter of conjecture, ‘Nox Vomica’, an extract of the Strychine plant was frequently called ‘Materia Medica’ in the nineteenth century, the term probably being generally applied to either poison, surgical refuse or impure commerce.
‘St. Bartholomews’ hospital was, in this instance also notable for being one of the first establishments devoted to the treatment of contagious diseases, a campaign conducted during an era in which roasted onions, rhubarb syrup and dried toads simmered in milk were thought capable of combatting illness.
Although many people evacuated the city during the plague years of the late seventeenth century a number of Jacobean doctors remained within it’s precinct to cure ailment, a period during which they earned renown for wearing strange herb filled beaked masks with glass eye holes, thick leather clothing and platform soled shoes, an attire in which they were also acknowledged to have brandished white sticks to beat off the afflicted in the instance of civil unrest.
The fresh water springs of Tunbridge Wells and Epsom earned a degree of popularity amongst Londoners throughout the early seventeenth century through association with the issue of hygiene which the plague attended, a process through which the essence or salt of dehydrated mineral water was sold as a cordial which when added to ordinary water would automatically transform it into spring water.
Somewhat closer to London a freshwater spring was also recorded to have been discovered at ‘Biggen Farm’ in Norwood during the seventeenth century, a resource later exploited with the foundation of an extensive water works in Croydon during the Victorian era.
London’s passion for spring water was in this sense observed to have been carried forth into the eighteenth century when both Jean Jacob Schweppe and Joseph Priestley successfully carbonated mineral water, a technique which, in being observed to contain gas beneath pressure, led forth to the invention of the beer pump by ‘Joseph Bramah’ in 1797, an aegis beneath which George Hodgson of Bow brewery was coincidentally first reported to have exported Pale Ale to India although the term India Pale Ale had been used as an advertising slogan since at least 1835.
It is interesting to note in this instance that, despite being analogous to Pale Ale, India, as a country, is presently almost devoutly resigned to the prohibition of alcohol.
Artificial carbonisation was, through association with such endeavors, formally introduced into brewing during the 1930’s, a technique widely employed in the making of Watney’s experimental pasteurised beer Red Barrel throughout the 1960’s, a brew which despite popularity earned notoriety due to the allegation that it contained Cobalt salts, a term beneath which it was accidentally observed to oppose the premium which had presumably once served to inspire it’s formulation.
Through affiliation with London’s penchant for mineral water, the first commercial references to tea as a dietary supplement were witnessed to occur in about 1658, a beverage then based upon a Chinese drink called “Tcha”.
Later sold as “the volatile spirit of Bohee Tea” a black beverage from the ‘Fukhien’ region of China, tea earned a reputation for possessing a number of medicinal properties including the relief of both melancholy and the vapours during the seventeenth century, a process through which the drink was often mixed with punch to create mild cocktails.
Subsequently associated with the proofing of alcohol, Thomas Twining’s “Gunpowder Tea” was recorded to have been expensive in the early eighteenth century, the term representing a form of quality control in which tea was effectively dried to the point of combustibility.
The British Parliament Tea Act of 1773, granted the Dutch East India Company a virtual monopoly over the trade of tea in England during the late eighteenth century, a period throughout which the beverage was also one of the most of popular drinks in Britain.
Subsequently sold beneath many different names, a list which extends to include such house-hold names as ‘Twining’s’, ‘Tetley’s’, ‘Liptons’, ‘Brooke Bond’ and ‘Ty-phoo’, tea has, in England become something of a civil institution, a drink consumed by all ages and every class.
Regardless of the inclination towards purity which the popularity of both spring water and tea would suggest, both alcohol and narcotics were also recorded to have been consumed in large quantities during the early seventeenth century, an era in which Nicholas Culpeper, one of history’s most intriguing and eminent herbalists was noted to have devised his recipes.
Many of Culpeper’s formulae included the immersion of pre-prepared chemicals and herbs in alcohol, preparations which incorporated the application of bandages saturated in compounds composed of burnt leather, sago, cinnabar and the spirit of wine to injuries, remedies for tonsillitis which recommended the application of leather immersed in mixtures of sago and turpentine to the throat and purges for intestinal worms which involved the consumption of toast with brandy and sulphur.
Whether or not these cures worked remains a matter of conjecture however the application of sutures to wounds probably ameliorated the symptom of many of the conditions then observed to have been suffered.
The preparation of beverages at this this date appears to have been a somewhat precarious concern, one of the most popular recipes in England during the plague year was a concoction known as “Elixir Salutis” devised by the Reverend Thomas Daffy Rector of ‘Redmile’ in Leicester, a beverage that, in containing a combination of Jalap, Sienna, Caraway Seeds, Aniseed and Juniper berries soaked in alcohol and mixed in a solution of water and treacle, probably resembled Absinthe, a supposition confirmed by references to “Wermut” in seventeenth century literature, a derivative of Wormwood reputed to have been made at that time by an Italian merchant named “D’Allessio”.
At approximately the same time that the plague was occurring a woman known as Lady Batten was recorded to have owned an extensive vineyard in Walthamstow, a resource favoured by Samuel Pepys, who pronounced it’s selection to have been “very good”, the celebrated Jacobean diarist was also known to have drunk at the Jamaica Wine house, an establishment affectionately known as “The Jampot” which, although largely re-constructed during the nineteenth century, still trades in St. Michael’s Alley Cornhill.
Founded by Daniel Edwards in 1652, the Jamaica wine-house is generally considered to be London’s first “coffee house”, a term beneath which it was observed to cater as much for the tastes of those that did not consume alcohol as for those that did, and, it was perhaps to this distinction, that the location ultimately owed it’s reputation for attracting artists and writers, “The Jampot” being regularly frequented by such figures as Sir Christopher wren, Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, David Garrick, Johnathan Swift and William Hogarth
Pepys also played audience to puppet shows upon the grounds of St. Paul’s churchyard in Covent Garden, a venue currently occupied by the Punch and Judy Public house and such events were recorded to have been popular during the Jacobean era although the senseless dialogues waged between Punchinello and the Devil appeared to have owed more to the Faustian mystery cycle than to modern depictions of wife beating and stealing sausages.
“The Royal Cockpit” close to the houses of Parliament was, upon a similar theme, notable for having staged cock fights throughout the Jacobean era, a period during which bear baiting, bull fighting and “swindling” or the plying of gamblers with drinks to perpetrate fraud was practised and alcohol consumption was probably a manner of self-effacing folly rather than a venerable recreation
Although relatively popular in it’s own right, wine was, during the seventeenth century, often consumed with other pre-prepared drinks to enhance it’s flavour, “Rose’s Balsamick Elixir” and “Lucatelli’s Balsam” being potentially the most famous of these cordials, an instance in which ‘Lucatelli’s’ recipe was notable for containing olive oil, turpentine, rose water, red sandalwood and balsam of Peru, a mixture which would have strengthened rather than weakened any wine to which it was added.
Generally attributed to the exploits of Caribbean brewers, Rum is distilled from sugar cane, a process through which it’s substrate is observed to be reduced to molasses.
Although potentially of pre-Christian origin, being closely associated with “Arrack”, a drink similarly distilled from a sugar base, modern Rum was, in this instance, conventionally attributed to the collection of sugar cane from Hispaniola, (Haiti), by Christopher Columbus in 1493.
Later associated with the slave trade, being both a staple aboard ships taking slaves from West Africa to the New World, and a form of currency exchanged for goods in many African and South American ports, Rum proved popular in London during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries where it was recorded to have been consumed by such notable individuals as the Jacobean diarist Samuel Pepys.
Closely affiliated with the Spanish colonisation of Cuba, an event to which the popular brand Bacardi named after the Cuban distiller “Don Facundo Bacardi”, almost certainly owes it’s origins, many modern species of Rum avow a naval heritage, a list which, in extending to include, “Captain Morgan”, “Lamb’s Navy Rum”, “Nelson’s Blood” and “Mount Gay”, also encompasses a list of Rums named after the island ports of the Americas.
In 1616 the Anchor Brewery, a small beer producing company, located between Dead Man’s Place and the Globe Theatre in East London, was founded upon the old Norman site of the Clink prison.
Recorded to have been situated upon the site of both a Roman burial ground and a bull and bear baiting arena, presumably when the area was occupied by the Clink, “The Anchor” was subsequently believed to have been frequented by the celebrated dramatist William Shakespeare during his life-time, a precedent beneath which it later earned renown for being the location from which the diarist Samuel Pepys witnessed the spread of London’s “Great Fire” in 1666.
Leased in 1620 to ‘Sir John Bodly’, “The Anchor” was, in 1634 briefly occupied by James Monger before being passed in 1670 to James Child, a process through which the brew-house became associated with the ship building industry, supplying masts, spars and bow sprits to the navy, a term beneath which the brewery was also recorded to have both conducted prostitution and to have received contraband,
It was interesting to observe that, during the first years of the Anchor’s history, beer was potentially considered stale or sub-standard although the establishment was recorded to have traded in small beers presumably as cooking ingredients much as would have been the case during the Tudor era.
The Anchor subsequently achieved a degree of success as an army beer supplier, providing ale for troops during the Spanish Wars of Succession in the early eighteenth century.
In 1729 The Anchor was recorded to have been managed by a man named Edmund Halsey before being passed to Ralph Thrale, a patron who, in representing Southwark for Parliament, was renowned for avowing friendship with the playwright Oliver Goldsmith, the dramatist David Garrick, the authoress Fanny Burney and the author of “The Dictionary of the English Language”, Doctor Samuel Johnson.
It was, in this sense, beneath Doctor Samuel Johnson’s provision that the stockpile of beer which was, at the time, observed to have been prepared for distillation in spirits, became viable as a comestible resource in it’s own right, an instance in which it seemed that, before the medical establishment’s authorisation of bitter, the standards applied to ale were, in courting the underlying problem of toxicity to which such things preternaturally ascribed, as a rule, not considered sterile enough to be of a sufficient quality for human consumption.
The Gin boom of the eighteenth century had, in effect represented a vast untapped resource with regards to the beer that was necessary to produce it, and, although observed to have been circumstantially associated with the accumulations of physical residue for it’s own sake during the medieval era, it was, not until Johnson’s efforts to standardise the quality of ale that the drink became both an acceptable recreational supplement and an ‘entire’ dietary provision.
Amongst the many anecdotes associated with this era, Fanny Burney was recorded to have referred to Thrale’s collection of Joshua Reynold paintings as the “Streatham Worthies” and Oliver Goldsmith to have christened Porter “Black Champagne”,
The Anchor proved popular with the members of Joshua Reynold’s literary club throughout the eighteenth century a period during which it was also Known as “Thrale’s of Dead man’s Place”, an allusion perhaps to the length of time that the brewery designated for the maturation of Porter.
The Anchor passed to Ralph Thrale’s son Henry in 1758 before surprisingly being passed to Doctor Johnson himself, a man who, in having been made an executor of Thrale’s will, was, in the instance of his friend’s death, recorded to have observed that “he was not there to sell a parcel of boilers and vats, but the potentiality of growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice”.
The Anchor was ultimately sold to John Perkins and Robert Barclay of the “Barclays, Perkins Banking Company” a proprietorship beneath which, despite being ravaged by fire in 1832, it became the second largest brewery on earth, a truly vast undertaking bristling with pipes, pumps and rods.
The tale behind ‘Barclay Perkin’s’ acquisition of the ‘Anchor’ was observed to revolve upon an old urban myth pertaining to ‘John Perkins’ trade of gin for a pound a mug to gangs of protesters watching a fire consume ‘Langrave’s’ distillery during the ‘Gordon Street’ riots of 1781, a pretence beneath which, in notifying English troops of the unrest which was then noted to be transpiring, he was observed to be instrumental in both subduing the incident of mob violence which was observed to have occurred through coincidence with the event and inspiring ‘Henry Thrale’s’ decision to sell his interest in the brewery to ‘Robert Barclay’.
Likened to Westminster Abbey, during it’s operative phase, ‘the Anchor’ was, during the nineteenth century, recorded to have both constructed it’s own barrels and bottles on site and to have run a Hop exchange. Many of the breweries vats being so enormous that it was possible to contain a house within their girth.
In 1834 many of the Anchor’s pumps were considered insanitary by the Borough Waterworks company, a period during which both an extensive system of filter-beds were established at Battersea to purify the brewery’s water supply and Anchor terrace was constructed for usage by dray horses in the area.
The Anchor was recorded to have been visited by such luminaries as ‘Otto Von Bismark’, ‘Prince Louis Napoleon Boneparte’ and ‘Guiseppe Garibaldi’ during the nineteenth century, a convention carried forth from the celebrated retinue which the brewery had attracted during the eighteenth century.
In 1782 John Courage began brewing at another ‘Anchor Brewery’ in Horsley Down, Bermondsey, a venture which although bearing the same name as ‘Thrale’s’ brewery at approximately the same time that ‘Barclay Perkin’s’ acquired it, was noted, in this instance, to be an entirely independent interest, a process through which the Courage and Donaldson company was eventually formed at the turn of the nineteenth century.
Popular throughout the Victorian era, Courage beer was, in 1955 perhaps inevitably, also merged with the ‘Barclay Perkins’ company a process through which it became associated with the “Simonds” brand and ultimately with Imperial Tobacco.
Renowned for brewing Fosters lager in the 1990’s, Courage beer was, in 1991 briefly acquired by the Grand Metropolitan organisation before being sold to the Scottish and Newcastle firm, a period during which the company was temporarily known as “Scottish Courage” before finally being bought by Wells and Youngs in 2007.
Barclays Perkins merged with Courage in 1955, a partnership beneath which the Anchor brewery was, in 1981, finally demolished although the Anchor Public house on bankside, a remnant of the original brewery, continues to sell beer in the area to this day.
Shortly after the Anchor’s rise to prominence”The Coole Brewery” was established along the London road in Twickenham by Thomas Cole, an interest which, although no longer operative in South West London was recorded to have owned a number of public houses and Taverns in Twickenham throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Many similar the hostels in Twickenham were established during this era, a period throughout which such establishments were, through association with the Bath / Bristol coach routes recorded to have served as coaching Inns, a term that effectively fell out of usage with the opening of the Great Western Railway in the area during the mid- nineteenth century.
“The Ship” on Eel Pie Island, was possibly the largest of these Inns, a venue which, in later earning renown as a Victorian holiday resort and jive club, was notable for being used as both a recording studio and concert hall by a number of popular music groups during the 1960's.
Although many of Twickenham’s seventeenth century Inns no longer exist “The Fox” along Church Street,”The George” along Twickenham High Road, “the Grand Union” along London road and “The Crown” on Richmond Road still remain in the area from this period.
Cole’s brewery was eventually sold to the Brandon and Putney brewing company at the turn of the twentieth century, a proprietorship beneath which it was demolished, however “Cole Court”, a building once used as a dance hall by American soldiers still stands in the area.
Hounslow also earned renown for it’s association with coaching during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a period during which it’s economy was almost entirely devoted to ostlery, an instance in which Ascot achieved renown as a racing venue and the London publican “William James Chaplin” was recorded to have owned an extensive collection of stables in the area.
Although both the ‘Anchor’ and ‘Coole’ breweries were formidable preserves in their own right perhaps the most celebrated of London’s seventeenth century beer producing interests was the vast complex of industrial buildings devoted to the Truman’s brewery located in the citys’ East end.
Situated upon the remnants of Black Eagle Street in Spitalfields, a concourse laid down in what was then a rural meadowland named ‘Lotsworth’ field by John Stott in 1660, Truman’s Black Eagle Brewery, was, throughout the eighteenth century, recorded to have been one of the largest beer producers in England, a venture which, in being the first example of it’s type to appoint a professional chemist to monitor the quality of it’s beer, also earned renown for using steam power, a form of mechanisation through which the company produced a staggering 200,000 barrels of Porter every year.
Founded in the aftermath of the Great Fire, a circumstance which, in destroying sixteen London brew-houses, led to a period of wide-scale re-construction throughout the capital, Truman’s Black Eagle Brewery was initially conceived through a collaboration between Thomas Bucknall and the London’s Brewers Company.
Later commandeered by “Joseph Truman” and “Alud Denne”, the Black Eagle passed by rule of succession to Joseph and Benjamin Truman, Joseph Truman’s children, a period after which it was acquired by William Truman Read and re-named “Read’s Brewery”, a proprietorship which, beneath the management of “James Grant”, became the second largest brewery in London.
Inherited by ‘William and John Truman Villebois’, Truman’s brewery was subsequently passed to Sampson and Osgood Hanbury, the grandchildren of the successful banker Sampson Lloyd of Birmingham, a process through which the establishment became associated with both Lloyds bank and Barclay Perkin’s Anchor brewery in Southwark, a series of relationships through which Sampson Hanbury’s sister “Anna”, ultimately married ‘Thomas Fowell Buxton’, thereby establishing the “Truman, Hanbury, Buxton” company name.
“Thomas Fowell Buxton”, an associate of the government reformer and anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce was, throughout his period of office at Truman’s, notable for instituting a number of educational reforms at the Black Eagle, an era during which literacy was cultivated amongst the company’s staff.
Edward Lloyd’s of Lombard street in central London, which was observed to have been run by a branch of Sampson Lloyd’s family, subsequently achieved renown, for marine underwriting, a practise through which the banking firm was effectively assigned to auction the cargos of ships chartered by naval interests such as the Hudson Bay and Dutch East India Companies, a convention which, in representing an amicable term, often employed coffee houses as tables for negotiation and exchange.
Recorded, through association with a number of other breweries including those of the venerable ‘Noake’s’ brewing family, to have been one of the largest beer producers on earth during the mid, nineteenth century, owning 1,100 public houses both in and around the capital, Truman’s was, perhaps as a result of it’s size, compelled to relocate it’s base of operations to Burton upon Trent in the1870’s, a decision which appeared, in it’s manner, to serve as something of an example to many of it’s contemporaries in the Whitechapel area, causing a widescale migration of such industry from the city.
Officially registered as a public company in 1888 whilst still ostensibly beneath the management of the Hanbury, Buxton and Pryor families, ‘The Black Eagle Brewery’s’ premises were noted to have been substantially enlarged by Arup Associates in 1929, a refurbishment which was witnessed to have added the building’s distinctive steeplejack chimney to it’s brewhouse in 1929
Absorbed into Watney Mann after having been acquired by the Grand Metropolitan Hotel Group during the many trade mergers that served to typify much of the mid twentieth century, Truman’s Black Eagle brewery was noted to have remained in operation through until 1989 before ultimately being closed.
Subsequently transformed into a fashionable arts and crafts venue, which successfully doubled as both a local market and food emporium during the late twentieth century, the brewery is presently observed to have been a vast and architecturally beautiful labyrinth of parades and houses that, despite fears of demolition, remain situated upon their original premises along Brick Lane to this day .
In association with The Black Eagle of Spitalfields, Islington’s Stockwell brewery run by ‘Clarke, Hammerton and Company’ was, throughout the late nineteenth century, recorded to have been used as a bottling factory by the Truman corporation, a faculty which, in later earning independent renown for producing Oyster Stout, continues to brew traditional London Porter to this day.
The mass production of Porter led to a largely empirical approach to brewing with thermometers, hydrometers, attemperators and saccharometers being introduced into the beer making process throughout the mid eighteenth century.
Such advances coincided with the usage of glass to bottle and serve beer, a paradox through which the dark hue for which porter is renowned stood in stark contrast to the transparency of the vessel in which it was presented.
Although a beverage known as “Tom Man’s Entire” was mentioned in the “Vedum Mecum For Malt Worms” in 1718, the invention of Porter is ordinarily ascribed to Ralph Harwood, an East End brewer who was thought to have perfected a beverage known as “Entire Butts” at the Blue Last public house of Shoreditch in 1730.
Also known as “Half and Half”, “Two Penny” or “Three Threads”, euphemisms through which it would be supposed that the drink was mixed with other stronger brews, “Entire Butts” was produced by the addition old yeast or beer to the fermenting vat during preparation, Butts meaning barrel, indicating that “Entire Butts” was cask conditioned.
A trustee of the Lea Navigations, Ralph Harwood eventually sold his brewery to Thomas Proctor, a proprietorship beneath which it passed to the Quaker Thomas Marlborough Pryor of Baldock in Hertfordshire, a rule of succession beneath which the brewery was eventually used as a malt supplier by the Truman, Hanbury and Buxton firm of Brick Lane in East London.
The origin of the term “Porter” is, although ascribed casually to many nineteenth century drinks, uncertain, the conventional definition is that the brew was named after London river Porters, the beverage generally being cask conditioned in barrels that were constructed by members of the ship building industry, a pretext beneath which the drink was, in it’s distinction, often falsely thought to be constituted from Thames water perhaps as a result of it’s salinity, it was also possible that, as a dietary aid, the drink was observed to make people portly and thus well nourished, however the drink was also sold during a period when beer was generally considered to be stale, a term beneath which it was potentially associated instead with the poverty of it’s consumer.
“Guinness” was first recorded to have brewed Porter Stout in Dublin in 1759, a brew which, in proving excellent at this time, was subsequently to become one of the most celebrated examples of Porter on earth.
Through association with the success of Truman’s Black Eagle brewery, the ‘White Hart’ brewery was also founded during the early eighteenth century in Whitechapel by a member of the Brewer’s company named Robert Westfield, an interest which, in being acquired by ‘John Charrington’ in 1766, was noted to have become one of the largest examples of it’s type in London.
The ‘Charrington’s’ company subsequently founded a second brewery in Mile End, an interest which in being known as “The Anchor” is easily confused with the establishment of the same name in Southwark.
Renowned for using steam power to produce beer during the mid nineteenth century, a convention which it practised through to 1927, the Anchor Mile End was, like it’s namesake in Southwark, a vast undertaking, capable of absorbing smaller companies beneath it’s aegis.
‘Charrington’s’ also acquired the derelict Red Lion Brewery in Lower East Smithfield from Hoare’s Bank in 1933, an interest which, in having been closed since 1930, presumably demanded some form of commercial attention. and, in 1964 ‘Charrington’s’ merged with United Breweries to become “Charrington United”, a conglomerate which, in merging with Bass, subsequently ceased to produce beer in London
Eventually absorbed into the American conglomerate Anheuser Busch during the late twentieth century, ‘Charrington’s’ no longer exists as an independent company although the White Hart still stands upon it’s original premises in Whitechapel.
Although beer drinking may, through association with the success of Truman’s brewery appear to have been a relatively popular recreational pastime during the seventeenth century, the Parliamentarian Faversham corporation was incidentally observed to have banned brewing in London in 1648, a period to which the term “as sober as a judge” may perhaps once have owed it’s origins an instance in which the popularity of tea, cocoa and coffee effectively far exceeded that of alcohol,
In 1703 the Methuen treaty imposed duties on French wine, a tariff which, in devising distinctions between fortified and non-fortified wines, observed that fortification was necessary to preserve alcoholic beverages during sea transit, many of the analogies reserved for the importation of Port and Sherry or “Sack Brandy” from Portugal and Spain owing their origins to this practise.
The Methuen treaty was, in this sense, considered largely responsible for the prevalence of sweet or fortified wine in English culture during the early Georgian era, however, it was, in practise, probably more closely associated with the legal restriction of the other varieties of brewing in London at this time, the early eighteenth century was despite it’s association with wide scale Gin production not a period that was overtly renowned for drunken revelry.
Despite alcohol’s comparative unpopularity during the seventeenth century , the stretch of the Thames East of the tower was, during the reign of George the First nonetheless observed to have been, licensed to ‘William Hucks’ the minister of parliament for Wallingford, a man whose statue still stands atop the steeple of St George’s church Bloomsbury and, in the mid eighteenth century, Huck’s brother fell into partnership with ‘Smith Meggot’ of Southwark to form the “Hucks and Meggot Brewing Company”, a period during which “Brewers Yard” was founded near the junction between Shaftsbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road, “The Horn” brewery established along Duke Street in Bloomsbury and a large store cellar entrenched beneath Pall Mall.
To this day, beer traders are frequently referred to as “Hucksters”, a term which, in signifying the attempt to ply people with things which they do not believe that they need, is observed to endow them with a peculiarly predatory aspect.
11… THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY…. GEORGIAN TAVERNS AND WATNEY, COMBE, REID.
The Griffin Brewery, Chiswick
There were many small public houses established in the capital during the eighteenth century, a selection, which, as a result of their age, were often considered to be haunted by the spirits of the dead in later years.
“The Hoop and Toy”, a tavern founded in Kensington during the mid-eighteenth century was thought to have been patrolled by the spectres of dead priests as a result of it’s location upon an old burial ground, a trove rumoured to have been disturbed during the construction of a rail way line in the area.
“The Marlborough Head” in Mayfair was believed to have been cursed by the ghosts of criminals that had been hung and beheaded within it’s vicinity, “The Coach and Horses” on Burton street to be strafed by a headless horseman drawing a carriage of skeletons, “Wilton Row” in Belgrave Sqaure to be frequented by the ghost of a grenadier named Cedric, a man murdered by his colleagues during the great War, “The Globe Tavern” in Marylebone to have been visited by the ghost of William Thornton, a publican whose throat was slit upon it’s grounds and “The Silver Cross” in Whitehall to be haunted by the ghost of a murdered prostitute.
Whether or not there is any truth in these tales the notion of spectral visitation still proves popular amongst those that visit such locations in life.
The Shakespeare’s Head Public House in Soho was recorded to have been operational in 1735, a period during which the premises were notably managed by Thomas Shakespeare, a relative of the celebrated Elizabethan playwright.
Distinguished by a fine representation of William Shakespeare drafted onto it’s sign board by an artist named ‘Martin Droeshunt’, the Shakespeare’s Head Public House was, during the nineteenth century, recorded to have been frequented by Charles Darwin.
The list of recreational amusements which distinguished many Georgian taverns was extensive, it being observed that it was common practise in the 1780’s to award prisoners a drink upon the eve of their execution, a process through which doomed convicts were known to have entertained celebrity status, attracting an extensive retinue of people wishing to fraternise with them during the final moments of their lives.
“The Magpie and Stump”, a public house which, in being situated next to the infamous eighteenth century penitentiary Newgate jail, was recorded to have been graced with such entourages, presenting evidence to suggest that, amidst the familiar homilies of revelry and mirth, Georgian men were as fascinated by pathos and tragedy as those of any other generation.
The cornucopia of curiosities which Georgian public houses presented to satisfy such interest was ultimately fairly comprehensive, “The Adam Coffee House” of Shoreditch for example, earning renown for exhibited a large collection of biblical and historical artefacts and ‘Don Saltero’s’ in Chelsea possessed a number of items donated by the celebrated collector and patron of the British museum Sir Hans Sloane, it seemed that, in themselves desiring a modicum of painless oblivion, people were only too willing to indulge in voyeurism.
The passion for novelty continued into the nineteenth century with a collection of ivories being exhibited at “The Railway Tavern” on West India Dock road, the display of a butterfly collection at “The World’s End” public house” in Camden, and the exhibition of an astonishingly extensive collection of stuffed animals at the “Mackerel” public house along Mile End Road.
In being venerated as folk heroes, prize fighters were also frequently recorded to have been invited into public houses throughout the eighteenth century, a convention that potentially discouraged the incident of violence with which many taverns were associated.
Public houses also achieved renown in the mid eighteenth century as labour exchanges, places in which those entering London for the first time could find gainful employment, an agenda that seemed to have become something of an obligation following the criticism which such establishments sustained for generally reducing productivity and lowering standards during the staunch Puritanism of the early Stewart era.
Many Georgian public houses also served as balloting posts, a purpose through which they became associated with political bribery, a forum in which politicians were rumoured to resort to a host of questionable practises in efforts to persuade people to vote for them.
The activities of eighteenth century public houses were largely moderated by magistrates who retained the power to close such establishments, an instance in which many taverns were shut for being implicated in radicalism and publicans attempted to preserve an affable relationship with the judicial system.
Punch houses were recorded to have been established in London in 1689, the drink being served warm in open bowls for soldiers returning from India and Trappist monks fleeing Wallonia during the French revolution were also recorded to have brewed beer in the city during the eighteenth century.
The Artillery punch derived from this era is potentially one of the most well known fruit cocktails of the eighteenth century, a highly alcoholic drink consisting of ten parts bourbon, ten parts red wine, ten parts black tea, five parts dark rum, five parts orange juice, two parts apricot brandy, two parts gin, one part lemon juice and one part lime juice, a recipe traditionally served chilled with slices of lemon and lime.
At approximately the same time as the hostelries of Southwark were operative, The Mill Meads area of East London was recorded to have been occupied by eight tide mills, buildings which in harnessing the power of running water with a series of decanted tide locks, were thought to have powered water wheels capable of grinding corn.
Associated, in the twelfth century with both the construction of a hump back bridge across Bow Creek by Henry the first’s wife Queen Maud and the construction of a number of Tidal Mills at ‘Longthorne Abbey’ by the order of the Knights Templar, Mill Meads was, although scant evidence of such occupation presently remains upon the site, almost certainly occupied by the Romans during the first millennium.
Thought to have been employed for the purposes of producing flour for the bakeries of ‘Stratford Atte Bowe’ during the Anglo Saxon era, a process which would undoubtedly have resulted in the brewing of beer, the tide mills at Mill Meads were, in 1588 also recorded to have been used to grind gunpowder, a period throughout which their activity could be presumed to accurately have predicted the events which occurred during the English civil war.
Purchased in 1728 by the Huguenot ‘Peter Le Fevre’, a proprietorship beneath which Daniel Bisson was recorded to have constructed a new mill upon the premises, Mill Meads was throughout the eighteenth century, thought to have been the largest example of it’s type on earth, a concern which, in being populated with a community of carpenters, coopers, brewers and distillers, was observed to have supplied the victualling offices of the Royal navy in both Deptford and Greenwich.
Known as Three Mills throughout the Georgian era, Mill meads was, during the eighteenth century, recorded to have been the site of both a distillery situated on an artificially constructed island in the River Lea and a number of bonded warehouses that stored flour for transportation by barge to depots located along the banks of the Thames, a term beneath which the canal system around East London was known as the Lea Navigations.
Operative throughout the era in which much of London’s brewing was being re-located to Burton on Trent, Mill Meads was enlarged in 1817 with the construction of “Clock Mill” upon the premises, a venture which continued to produce flour through to 1907.
Held accountable to a number of legal restrictions which prevented the distillation of spirit upon the same premises that grain was being milled in 1820, the Three Mills distillery was, in being forced to transport it’s ware to places like Clerkenwell for refinement, largely responsible for both the growth of Truman’s brewery and the trade of porter during the nineteenth century, a period throughout which it became associated with naval voyages and the exchange of trade with countries in the far East and Russia.
Extensively bombed during the second world war, Mill Meads officially ceased to operate upon commercial terms in 1941, an event which, in pre-supposing neglect, was recorded to have been saved from dereliction by the ‘Pasmore Edwards Museum Trust’ in the 1970's.
Currently preserved by the Lea Tidal Mill Trust, Mill Meads is presently open to the public as a museum, a term beneath which it’s distillery notably serves as a film studio.
Brewing was, in this instance, also recorded to have occurred at Bella Court in Greenwich during the reign of Henry the sixth, a building later absorbed into the Tudor Palace of Placentia, the birthplace of both Henry the Eight and Elizabeth the First and The Royal Naval College at Greenwich was, in 1717, recorded to have acted as a brewery, a period during which it was noted to have supplied pensioners of the Royal Naval Hospital with a daily two quart ration of alcohol.
The Gun public house situated in the old Hamlet of ‘Blackwall’ was also known to have been operational during the early eighteenth century, a period throughout which it was reputed to have been favoured by Lord Nelson.
Once used by by smugglers, “the Gun” was remarkable for having been equipped with both a spy hole in it’s staircase and a secret tunnel, adaptations which were presumably once used to avoid the attentions of investigative authority.
Through association with the brewing interests at Three Mills and Greenwich, Romford’s ‘Star’ brewery was founded in 1708 by Benjamin Wilson, a project which in being attached to the Star Inn beside the River Rom, later earned renown for producing John Bull bitter.
The Star was recorded to have been acquired by “Edward Ind” in 1799, a proprietorship beneath which the brewery became synonymous with the “Ind Coope” brand, a period after which the establishment witnessed expansion, acquiring it’s own railway sidings during the foundation of Romford Railway station in East London during the nineteenth century.
Through affiliation with the Star brewery’s rise to prominence In 1796, John Taylor and Isaac Walker acquired a small brewery in Stepney from the Hare and Hartford brewing company, a partnership which was ultimately to become the Taylor Walker firm.
Renowned for trading alcohol in the Limehouse area throughout the nineteenth century, a period during which the company was affiliated with the pharmacist James Burroughs, Taylor Walker acquired the Barley Mow brewery in Mayfair in 1889 an establishment currently owned by the popular television chef Gordon Ramsay.
In 1959, Romford’s ‘Ind Coope’ brewery was recorded to have both acquired and closed Taylor Walker, a closure through which the firm is now observed to operate solitarily in conjunction with the Carlsberg Tetley Corporation.
‘Ind Coope’ appeared to have vested interests in a number of affiliated concerns with regards to such matters, an instance in which the fate that befell Taylor Walker was similarly observed to have affected the ‘Canon Brewery’, a relatively large interest founded in central London during the early eighteenth century by a man named Rivers Dickson.
Located along St. John’s Road in Clerkenwell, The Canon was circumstantially observed to have been acquired in 1863 by George Hanbury and Barnley Field, a process through which it became affiliated with the eponymous Truman’s brewing company in Whitechapel, a premium beneath which the brewery was circumstantially recorded to own the Taylor Walker firm and was thus noted to succumb to the same fate as it’s sibling when bought up by ‘Ind Coope’ in 1960, a period after which the Canon was, in it’s distinction, observed to have fallen under the management of ‘Harold Iggulden’, a major share holder of West Ham United football club.
Although most of the large London breweries were, with reference to the Taylor Walker firm, noted to have been closed throughout the latter part of the twentieth century, the Scottish brewer Alastair Hook started the Meantime brewery in Greenwich during 1999 a venture which, in securing a contract with the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain, both acquired premises upon the grounds of the Old Royal naval College and established a brewery in ‘Blackwall’.
In 1683 the “Rye House Plot” or “Stewart Revenge”, a plan devised by Whig extremists to ambush Charles the Second and his brother James, Duke of York as they returned from the Newmarket races, was foiled by the outbreak of a fire in Newmarket which postponed the King’s visit, an event which nonetheless led to the persecution of the Monmouth cabal and ultimately to the Glorious uprising of 1688, a revolution notable for imprisoning James the Second, who, after having occupied Hounslow in West London, was caught escaping to Kent during the advance of William the Third’s troops by Faversham’s Mayor, Richard Marsh”.
It seemed that in being fuelled by the influence which exotic drugs were capable of wielding over human behaviour, the events of the English Civil War had called for something of a re-appraisal with regards to how decorum should be sustained in the capital, a pretext beneath which alcohol usage, in being observed to be the lesser of two evils, was favored over that of drugs and the cabals that chose to indulge in such substances were weened off rare pleasures with an assortment of liquid alternatives.
Perhaps through association with the event of this wind change, Richard Marsh was, in 1698, recorded to have bought a small brewery in Kent, an interest which was later to become the celebrated producer of Kentish Ale, “Shepherd Neame”.
During the eighteenth century the Shepherd family inherited Richard Marsh’s North Kent brewery, a period during which Julius Shepherd, acquired a steam powered Boulton and Watt “Sun and Planet” steam engine of a similar variety to that then owned by the Whitbread company for usage upon it’s grounds.
James Boulton was, in this instance, also recorded to have manufactured cork screws in accordance with the designs of a man named Reverend Samuel Henshall, a period throughout which he earned the sobriquet, “The Piratical Screw maker”.
A descendent of the venerable seventeenth century Hilton brewing family, “Julius Shepherd” was related to the Kentish hop farmer “Percy Beale Neame”, a relationship through which the brewery ultimately adopted the name “Shepherd Neame”, a moniker beneath which it operates to this day.
Although being recorded to have run at an ebb throughout the second world war, the ‘Shepherd Neame’ Company was still operational beneath the management of the Shepherd family during the twentieth century, a distinction which makes it the oldest privately run brewery in Britain.
Renowned for brewing “Bishop’s finger”, a beer named in homage to the patron Saint of brewing “Thomas A Becket”, Shepherd Neame also currently produces both ‘Hurlimann’ Lager and “Spitfire” a beverage which commemorates the events of the Battle of Britain.
Through association with the restoration of the Stewart monarchy to power and the accession of the House of Hanover to the throne, the consumption of Gin was observed to have appreciated a hitherto unwitnessed degree of popularity during the reign of William The Third, a premium beneath which the drink’s astringent quality and grade of distillation were, in diverging from the sweetness that men had hitherto been inclined to favour with regards to their choice of liquor, essentially considered clean and thus medically trustworthy.
Originally known as “Jenever”, “Washolder” or “Geriebra”, a recipe credited to the experimentation of a brewer named ‘Franciscus Sylvius’ in the late seventeenth century, Gin was traditionally consumed by soldiers, a convention which in harking back to the eight Days War of 1585, bore testament to a period in which many drinks including whiskey were considered to be medicinal
It was recorded that 530,000 gallons of Gin were produced in the city in 1684, a popularity that, in perhaps being derived from the notion that the spirit was clean and could deter pestilence, stood in contrast to the general neglect of un-distilled beverages such as beer at this time.
Used for it’s calming sedative effects, a term beneath which it was also paradoxically renowned for inspiring men with “Dutch Courage”, Gin was often flavoured with Turpentine to increase it’s strength, an addative which endowed the spirit with a rich woody flavour.
Latterly associated with social depravity, a malaise depicted in the prints of William Hogarth, Gin became known as “Mother’s Ruin” during the eighteenth century, a moniker which perversely seemed to increase it’s popularity.
Eighteenth century gin was pot-stilled rather than column stilled, a method which lent the beverage a sweeter flavour than it’s modern counter-part, it was also traditionally sold with ginger bread.
The taxation of Gin in 1736 led to open rioting upon the streets of London, a reaction which, in 1742 led to the abolition of such tariffs although the duty was later re-applied more effectively in 1751 at approximately the same time that Hogarth was satirising the effects of inebriation beneath the spirit’s influence in his prints.
Eleven million gallons of Gin were registered to have been produced in London in 1751, a staggering quantity for such an era.
The auxiliary conventions that came to be associated with Gin drinking were observed to have been widely practised in the early nineteenth century, the spirit being column stilled and served with lemon juice as Gin twist, a process through which it became known as Dry Gin.
In 1787, R. and H. Jenner were observed to have produced a series of ceramic Royal Dalton Toby Jugs in which to serve the spirit, a company that, in remarkably having managed to survive the intervening period as a corporate entity, was, in 1937, noted to have absorbed the equally venerable ‘South London’ brewery in Southwark beneath it’s aegis and, in 1830, the clergyman ‘Charles Tanqueray’ was recorded to have established a small distillery in Bloomsbury devoted to it’s production, a surge of activity which was incidentally noted to have coincided with the foundation of a number of ostentatiously tiled gin palaces upon the capital’s streets.
Later considered an effective Anti-Malarial drug in homage to the prerogatives which had originally gone into it’s conception by troops stationed in India, Dry or Nautical Gin was often combined with Angostura Bitters, Rose’s Lime Cordial and Indian Tonic water to augment the spirit’s innate bitterness.
Like the Cordials of the seventeenth century, the list of ingredients included in many nineteenth century bitters was relatively extensive, combinations of herbs such as Angelica, Gentian, Cinchona, Juniper, Bay, Rue, Citrus peel, Liquorice, Lemon Balm and Celery being blended together to augment the flavour of the gin with which they were served.
Ironically, unlike spirit wine and beer, Bitters were not criminalised during the American prohibition of the 1920’s, a process through which Gin was frequently sold separately from it’s ingredients, flavourings which would undoubtedly have been wasted in the instance of confiscation.
Through association with this boom Thomas Greenall was recorded to have distilled the spirit in Lancashire during 1754, an interest which, in merging with the Whitley company during the nineteenth century, subsequently acquired a substantial amount of land in the Walton area and in 1793 a partnership between Thomas Coates and John Fox and Williamson created Plymouth Gin, a spirit which, in being distilled at the Black Friars brewery in Plymouth was, during the nineteenth century, commissioned to supply Gin to the navy.
Renowned for devising the formula for Martini in 1896, Plymouth Gin became one of the largest producers of gin on earth during the late nineteenth century, a process through which the company later became associated with the Pernod Ricard and Absolut Vodka brands.
Italian Vermouth, a derivative of gin was invented in 1888, a drink which Ivor Bryce and the author Ian Fleming were later known to have incorporated in the recipe of the “Vesper” Martini Cocktail.
Vermouth is categorically a fortified wine aromatised with a number of botanicals designed to render it’s coarseness more palatable, a recipe which ironically no longer contains “Wormwood” the plant, which once served as it’s inspiration, an omission which was presumably intended to cater for the rising popularity of bitter flavouring that distinguished nineteenth century taste.
With regards to the issue of the renaissance which alcohol enjoyed in the capital during the eighteenth century, Gin was, in distinction, to the output of the great breweries of Whitechapel and Romford observed to have been originally distilled in West London rather than the city’s East End, an instance in which the Swan brewery founded in 1746 by a man named Henry Temple upon ‘Walham Green’ in Fulham was almost certainly devoted to the spirit’s manufacture.
Situated upon the grounds of Weldon House in Fulham the Swan Brewery was noted to have been acquired by the architect William Chambers in 1840, a period after which the brew-house respectively passed to both Sidney Milne Hawkes and Sir James Stansfield.
Although not particularly large, “The Swan” was recorded to have been a neat four staged brewery equipped with two Lancashire Boilers and a fully operative chemical laboratory during the mid Victorian era when London’s passion for Gin was at it’s height, an efficient concern rather than a sprawling corporate interest, being composed of many parts which were nonetheless directly affiliated with the the drink’s origins in West London.
The popularity of Gin continued into the 1850’s with the production of “Jelly Shots”, a brightly coloured derivative of the spirit perfected by a man named ‘Alexois Benoit Soyer’ upon the grounds of the Royal Albert Hall during the festivities of the Great Exhibition.
Hendrick’s Gin currently produced by William Grant and Son in Scotland is potentially one of the finest of modern interpretations of traditional eighteenth century Gin on the market, a traditional pot-stilled spirit which, in being served with cucumbers, has a very crisp flavour.
Perhaps through association with the recession which preceded the capital’s Gin boom, whiskey was not recorded to have been distilled in London until 1789, a term beneath which it was an incredibly course drink, far stronger and cruder than most other spirits, however ‘Giacomo Justerins’ and George Johnson were, through association with ‘W.A. Gilbey’s Gin’ company, actually observed to have distilled “Club” in the capital some years earlier than the granted date in 1779, a spirit later associated with the popular “Jim Beam” brand.
Traditionally credited to the endeavours of Elijah Craig of Bourbon Kentucky, a patronage beneath which the spirit became known as “Bourbon”, Whiskey was also recorded to have been produced by Thomas Phillips during the early seventeenth century , a man who, in being granted a commission to brew the traditional Gaelic spirit “Uisce Baetha” or “Water of Life” by James the First, subsequently founded the celebrated Bushmills distillery in Ireland, a convention which, in being perpetuated in Scotland by James Chivas and Charles Stewart throughout the early nineteenth century, both served to distinguish Whiskey as indigenous to Britain and earned it the sobriquet “Scotch”.
Composed of peat smoked barley, whiskey was further stored in barrels which had been internally charred, a process that, but for the excess carbon implied by charring, was very similar to that employed in the production of beer, the resultant beverage then being distilled, potentially carelessly at a relatively high temperature so that an amount of water vapour was conveyed with the ether into a secondary fermentation vessel, a process after which the whiskey was diluted and stored for up to twelve years, a period throughout which it was often further blended with older malts to temper it’s innate harshness.
In practise this process was hasty and frequently resulted in an unpleasant coarseness, a taste which despite it’s wilder attributes, remained widely consumed during the nineteenth century as Scotch beneath the pretense that it was of Scottish origin.
In 1742, a partnership formed from the collaboration of the Bedfordshire Yeoman’s son, ‘Samuel Whitbread’ and the brothers ‘Godfrey and Thomas Sherwell’ established a small brew house along Whitecross street in the city, a venture which, in 1750 extended to encompass the ‘King’s Head’ brewery on ‘Chiswell’ Street, an establishment later known as “The Hind”.
Subsequently one of the largest beer producers in London through association with the trade of Trophy Bitter, ‘The Hind’ was, in conjunction with another brewery on Brick lane, notable for having prepared over 200, 000 gallons of beer in 1798, a staggering quantity of ale at such a time.
Renowned for commissioning engineers such as ‘John Rennie’ to mechanise beer production, “The Hind” was known to have hired the celebrated inventor ‘James Watt’, a man who was then also recorded to have been a partner of the company, to construct a steam powered sun and planet engine for display purposes, a contraption which, although no longer operational, is currently exhibited at the Victoria museum in South Australia.
Many of the Whitbread’s beer kegs were throughout the eighteenth century recorded to have been made by the designer of the third ‘Eddystone’ lighthouse, “John Smeaton” and the furniture maker, “Josiah Wedgewood”, an endeavour through which the usage of oak casks became synonymous with the containment of alcohol.
Although no longer operational, ‘The Hind’ remains architecturally impressive to this day, retaining many of the sugar rooms, Georgian function rooms, vaults, coach houses and stables which served to distinguish the site during the eighteenth century.
As ‘Whitbread’s’ began to appreciate public recognition in London ‘The Woodyard Brewery’ of Castle Street was founded by the successful timber merchant ‘Thomas Shackly’, a period during which, throughout it’s conceptual phase in the late eighteenth century it was observed to have remained a fairly small family run cooperage.
Purchased in 1739 by ‘William Gyfford’ who reduced it’s name to “The Woodyard” after the mercantile heritage of the area in which it was located, the brewery’s interests were observed to expand rapidly during mid eighteenth century, extending to encompass new premises on Tottenham Court Road.
Acquired by the Lord Mayor, ‘Harvey Christian Combe’ in 1787, a process through which the site also became known as the Combe brewery, The Woodyard ultimately passed solitarily into the Combe family being run by Harvey Christian Combe’s son, also named Harvey, and a man named Joseph Delafield,
Amongst other things ‘The Woodyard’ was commissioned to provide drink for The Great Exhibition of 1851 a period after which it was acquired by the Watney’s company during a series of trade mergers that were, in 1898, to become the Watney, Combe, Reid organisation, the brewery finally being shut in 1905.
Through association with rise of Watney Combe Reid in London, ‘Meux and Company Limited’ was, during the reign of George the second, observed to have acquired the Horse Shoe Brewery along Tottenham High road from the Blackburn family, an establishment which, in providing most of East London with beer was notably supplied by the New River Company, an agreement through which the brewery became associated with the Lea navigations.
The Horse Shoe subsequently earned renown for producing “Black Beer”, a thick dark brew, later perfected by companies such as Whitbread, Truman, Parsons and Thrale.
In 1814, a vat containing half a million gallons of fermenting wort exploded at ‘Meux and Company’s’ Horseshoe brewery in St Giles, a circumstance which, in demolishing three houses and killing eight people including a three year old child, became known as the “Great London Beer Flood”, however, despite such adversity the Horseshoe was recorded to have been re-constructed and continued trading through until 1922, the site currently being occupied by the Dominion theatre along Tottenham Court Road
After having acquired an old brew house in 1757, Richard Meux and Mungo Murray decided to construct the Griffin brewery on ‘Liquor pond’ street near Gray’s Inn, a project which, in being completed in 1763, once operated in tandem with Watney and Co’s “Stag brewery” in Pimlico.
Recorded to have been the ninth largest brewery in London in 1786, the Griffin brewery attracted the attention of the wealthy Scottish merchant Andrew Reid, who, in investing a substantial sum of money in ‘Meux’s’ company, financed the construction of a large vat at the Clerkenwell site, a period after which the Griffin became one of the largest breweries in London.
Recorded to have been sold in 1809, the Griffin was later re-formed with Andrew Reid as the senior partner and the brewery continued to prosper through until the turn of the twentieth century when it was merged with the Watney and Combe organisations and eventually closed.
The Griffin symbol was also adopted by Douglas and Henry Thompson for a brewery of the same name located in Chiswick, an establishment which, in having been operational during the seventeenth century beneath the proprietorship of ‘Thomas Urlin’, was passed in 1701 to ‘Urlin’s’ son in law Thomas Mawson and temporarily leased to William Harvest before ultimately being acquired in 1782 by John Thompson and David Roberts.
The history of Chiswick’s Griffin brewery as with that of a number of public houses in the area, notably the Bull Public House on Strand on the Green and The Burlington Arms along Church Street, almost certainly extends back into the seventeenth century, with evidence of Elizabethan coinage being found amongst such establishment’s timbers and tales of visitations by Oliver Cromwell entrenched in their legend.
Philip Wood, the brother of the Lord Mayor, Matthew Wood was assigned to manage the Griffin in 1821 and, in 1839 “John Bird Fuller” took control of the brewery, a proprietorship beneath which Henry Smith of Romford’s Star brewery and his son in law John Turner were invited into partnership, a process through which the brewery became synonymous with the Fuller’s, Smith and Turner brand.
Through association with Fullers The Lamb Brewery run by Sich and Co. was recorded to have operated next to the Griffin in Chiswick during much of the eighteenth century.
Renowned for providing most of South West London with “entire ales” or porters throughout the nineteenth century, the Lamb was, in 1920 bought by Isleworth brewery before eventually being acquired by Fullers in 1923, a process through which the brewery was ultimately absorbed into the Watney, Combe, Reid organisation which was coincidentally observed to own the larger Stag brewery in Mortlake upon the other side of the Thames.
Somewhat younger than either Whitbread or Fullers the prolific ‘Tolly Cobold’ company was through association with an increasing demand for beer, also observed to have been founded by a man named William Hawes in London in 1859.
Originally called the Walthamstow brewery beneath Hawes ownership, a name which was subsequently changed to the Essex brewery, ‘Tolly Cobbold’ was noted to have passed to the ‘Tollemache’ family in the late nineteenth century, an interest that, in having achieved a degree of success in Ipswich through conjunction with ‘Charles Cullingham and Company’, was ultimately to collude with an older brewery owned by ‘Cobbold Cliff of Harwich’ to the effect of establishing the firm’s subsequent identity.
Noted to have fallen into the possession of the Barclay brothers in the mid twentieth century, a premium beneath which it was temporarily closed, ‘Tolly Cobbold’ was, in retaining all of the necessary prerequisites to brew beer, ultimately recorded to have been absorbed into the East Anglian company ‘Greene King’, a pretext beneath which, much as was observed to be the case with East London’s migration to Burton upon Trent in the early nineteenth century, it was effectively granted a substantial amount of room to expand it’s interests.
12… THE NINETEENTH CENTURY… BURTON UPON TRENT AND GERMAN LAGER
The Blind Beggar public house, Whitechapel.
With regards to the decision which appeared to have been taken by many East end breweries to leave London at the height of their popularity, it seemed that the combination of both overcrowding and poor water quality had served to restrict the growth of such industries in their native environs and that new premises were deemed necessary in efforts to insure the maintenance of high production standards.
In 1761 the ‘Worthington’ company was founded in Burton On Trent, a venture swiftly accompanied by the ‘Bass’ company founded by ‘Micheal Thomas Bass’ in approximately the same location, a venture which, upon being passed by rule of lineal succession, to ‘Lord Burton’, perhaps goes some way towards explaining why beer from the region was ultimately named Burton ale.
The presence of Gypsum in the water of Burton on Trent was latterly discovered to be ideal for brewing and many large beer producers moved to the area during the nineteenth century, the region earning renown for producing a range of high quality beers including “Bitter”, a pale well hopped beverage which, in being sold by the quart, was similar to Pale Ale and ‘Double Diamond’ Pale Ale, a popular brew named in homage to the practice of distilling the clear water supply with which Burton was blessed before commencing fermentation to the effect of suggesting a hitherto unattainable degree of purity.
Alongside Bristol and Newcastle, Burton achieved renown, during the eighteenth century, for transporting much of it’s produce into London by sea, a process through which alcohol became widely associated with sea-faring.
As a result of their success, ‘Worthington’s’ and ‘Bass’ were swiftly accompanied by a contingent of other small brewers in the Burton area, an instance in which a man named ‘Joseph Clay’ was recorded to have founded a brewery in the region in 1774, an interest which, in going into partnership, with ‘Thomas Salt’ at the turn of the nineteenth century, was recorded to have traded for a time as “Salt and Company”.
Both the “Ratcliffe” and “Gretton” brewing firms also began producing ale in Burton during the mid nineteenth century, a combination of interests which, in merging with “Bass” and acquiring “Salt and Company”, ultimately formed a fairly substantial concentration of brewing expertise in the Burton area , a conglomerate which, in uniting with “Worthingtons” in 1927, further increased in size.
Subsequently brought into partnership with ‘Mitchell Butlers Limited’ in 1961, what was then “Worthington Bass” finally merged with the East London brewer “Charringtons” to form the trade giant “Bass Charrington”, a company of such size that it attracted the interests of the Belgian multi-national “Interbrew”, a term beneath it was ultimately accquired and sold to the Canadian firm “Coors” in 2002.
Currently brewed at Marston’s ‘Albion’ brewery, ‘Bass’ beer retains the understated smoothness for which it earned renown during the nineteenth century and still withstands comparison to most modern bitters.
By the turn of the twentieth century a quarter of all English beers were made in Burton on Trent and many London public houses were owned by it’s brewers, a prevalence which serves to explain the analogy “Gone for a Burton”, a term applied as appropriately it seems to the London brewing industry as to the many wayfaring husbands that were to find themselves drinking bitter in local public houses to avoid domestic disputes.
Despite the general trend towards migration undertaken by many of the capital’s traditional East End breweries during the nineteenth century, the ‘Mann, Crossmann and Paulin’ firm was noted to have been established at the ‘Albion’ brewery adjoining the ‘Blind Beggar’ Public House along Whitechapel Road in 1818,
Observed, in this instance, to have been founded upon the site of a pre-existent brewery tenanted by a man named ‘John Hoffman’, ‘The Albion’ was, in 1819, acquired by ‘Philip Blake’ and ‘James Mann’, an interest which later became affiliated with ‘Robert Crossman’ and ‘Thomas Paulin’ following ‘Blakes’s’ death in 1834.
Substantially extended in 1855, ‘The Albion’ earned renown for producing the first examples of bottled brown ale in England at the turn of the twentieth century, a period throughout which the “Mann Crossman and Paulin” firm acquired a reasonably extensive catalogue of breweries and public houses both in and around London.
Recorded to have been owned by the ‘Mann, Crossman and Paulin’ families in 1904, ‘The Albion’ was notoriously the site of the ‘Sidney Street’ riots of 1911, a period after which the company’s holdings became associated with other interests.
Bereft of the ‘Paulin’ moniker within it’s brand identity “Mann Crossman” was ultimately observed to have merged with Watney’s in 1958 to become “Watney Mann” , a conglomerate which, was in 1974, further alloyed to ‘Truman’s’ brewery, however “Mann’s Brown Ale”, a surprisingly salty though alcoholically mild brew, is still widely available on the open market indicating that the company has effectively succeeded in remaining operational to this day.
Alongside the efforts of the ‘Mann, Crossman and Paulin’ firm to remain within the capital, ‘John Locke Lovibound’ was coincidentally noted to have begun brewing beer in the West Country in 1837, an interest which, in expanding to encompass with the acquisition of the ‘Nag’s Head’ in Greenwich within ten years of it’s foundation, was coincidentally observed to have included both a brewery and seventy one depots in the Greenwich area among it’s holdings in 1865.
Related to the Victorian pioneer “Joseph William Lovibond”, who earned renown for having invented “the Tintometer” to measure the colour of beer, “John Locke Lovibond” achieved a degree of success in the brewing trade before the turn of the twentieth century, founding “Lovibond and Sons”, a venture which, in being recorded to have managed the Canon brewery in Fulham at the turn of the twentieth century, later expanded Westward founding the extensive “Chiltern Valley” vineyard in Henley on Thames.
‘John Locke Lovibond’s’ brewery in Plumstead was sold in the early twentieth century to “John Daly and Company”, before being acquired in 1943 by ‘Charles Beasley’, a management beneath which it became known as “The North Kent Brewery”, an interest subsequently absorbed into the Courage company and ultimately closed during the 1960's.
Although inns and taverns were far from neglected by the attentions of Georgian drinkers, the nineteenth century witnessed the establishment of an increasingly great number of small public houses both in and around the capital.
‘The Eagle Tavern’ founded in the 1820’s by ‘Thomas Rouse’ was amongst the largest of these ventures, a venue which in being equipped with statues, fountains, illuminations and an orchestra, professed an atmosphere of decadence and luxury seldom afforded to earlier public houses.
At approximately the same time that the ‘Eagle Tavern’ was established the “Trafalgar Tavern” in Greenwich became notable for popularising Whitebait suppers, a dish which, in corresponding with East London’s passion for jellied eels, made good usage of the Thames as a natural resource, a term beneath which fish like Whitebait prepared with Cayenne pepper and lemon juice were, when served with champagne, regarded as something of a delicacy.
Frequently equipped with Grecian salons, ball rooms and billiard rooms, a distinction through which many bars were divided into sections allocated for different usage, Victorian public houses swiftly achieved a degree of renown that attracted it’s quota of criticism, both “The Red House” and “Balloon” inns in Battersea Fields, notably being condemned as dens of vice populated by an unseemly community of comics, conjurers and fortune tellers, a reputation that ultimately aroused the concern of temperance societies.
With regards to such concerns ‘The Plough’, an establishment once situated between Battersea and Clapham was, despite the incident of protest, paradoxically recorded to have achieved a degree of commercial success during the Victorian era.
Originally known as Mr. Combe’s brewery through association with the ubiquitous ‘Watney Combe Reid’ organisation during the early nineteenth century, a period after which it was re-christened Clapham Brewery, “the Plough”, was observed to have owed it’s peculiar name to ‘Thomas Woodward’, a proprietor who between 1868 and 1900, also lent his own name to the brewery’s reserve of beer.
Sold in 1913 to ‘William Biddell’, a period throughout which the establishment continued to sell Woodward’s beer, “The Plough” was, in 1924, finally acquired by ‘Young and Co’, a period after which the building was largely used as a store.
Recorded to have been occupied by ‘H. and G. Simonds’ in 1925, ‘The Plough’, like ‘the Anchor’ in Southwark, passed through the hands of ‘Courage and Barclay’ during the mid-twentieth century before eventually being purchased by ‘J.W. Marston’ and son in 1968, an interest that, in preserving much of the establishment’s equipment for archaeological reasons, continued to lease the premises out for business purposes throughout the latter part of the twentieth century.
Competing with the ‘Plough’ for public affection in the Clapham area, was the ‘Thames Bank’ distillery founded by ‘Octavius Smith’ in 1797 upon the North bank of the Thames directly opposite the current site of Battersea power station,
Observed to have been the son of a successful London grocer named ‘Samuel Smith’, ‘Octavius Smith’ was also notably the uncle of the celebrated Victorian nurse, ‘Florence Nightingale’ who was to achieve renown for attending the needs of the sick during the first world war.
Recorded to have produced London Gin during the nineteenth century, ‘The Thames bank Distillery’ was, in 1804 observed to have formed a partnership with Messrs. ‘Cooke’ and ‘Tate’, an interest that, in having founded the neighbouring ‘Millbank’ Distillery near Lambeth Bridge later achieved distinction for producing both spirits and liquors.
‘Octavius Smith’ was, in 1860, further noted to have purchased the Ardtornish estate in Scotland from a man named ‘Patrick Sellar’, a period during which the ‘Millbank’ distillery was, in having been leased to the Duke of Westminster, briefly renowned for producing ‘Seagers’ Gin beneath the proprietorship of the ‘Seager Evans’ Company, the brewery finally being closed and re-located to Deptford in 1921.
Through coincidence with the ‘Thames Bank Distillery’ and, in distinction to the older Red Lion brewery once located in Lower East Smithfield, a brewery called “The Lion” was recorded to have been established in Lambeth upon the opposite side of the river to ‘Octavius Smith’s’ brewery in 1836 by the ‘Goding’s’ company.
Initially constructed as a store-house, presumably for the Thames Bank brewery’s surplus stock by ‘Francis Edwards’ during the early nineteenth century, ‘The Lion’ was recorded to have been decorated with a number of rusticated features including giant pilasters and a ‘Coade stone’ Lion statue, a series of architectural distinctions which during the early twentieth century were largely observed to have fallen prey to neglect, finally being demolished through coincidence with the preparations for the festival of Britain in 1951.
‘William Hespeur’ and ‘George Randal’ were, in this instance, recorded to have constructed a number of granite mills along Waterloo embankment in 1857, an interest which, in 1864, was noted to have hired ‘Joseph Emm Seagram’ to distill whiskey upon the premises, a concern which, beneath the name of “Seagram and Roos” was registered to have produced over three thousand barrels of whiskey a year during the 1880’s, giving some impression of how much spirit was being distilled in the Southwark area at the turn of the twentieth century.
The storage of Hops incidentally appeared to be something of an issue in Southwark at approximately the same time that ‘Seagram and Roos’ were conducting business in Waterloo, a period during which an impressive glass roofed ‘Hop And Malt Exchange’ was noted to have been built along Southwark Street by ‘R.H Moore’ on behalf of the ‘Wigan’s’ brewing company in 1867.
Lavishly decorated with the repeated motif of a white horse upon a red background, the ‘Hop And Malt Exchange’s’ roof was, in this instance noted to have been installed to serve as a natural light source beneath which to view the vast reservoir of organic matter that was then being traded upon the tiled concourse of it’s vast central courtyard.
Reputed to have possessed it’s own cricket team during the height of it’s activity, “The Hop And Malt Exchange’ was thought to have arisen through association with the London tradition of taking day trips into Kent to pick Hop bines in gardens devised for such a purpose, a practice which, in going some way towards defining the parameters of London’s ‘Old Kent Road’, was noted to have been supervised by an intermediary body of men known as ‘Hops Factors’ who, in turn, were referred to the ‘Hop Merchants’ of Southwark to conduct trade.
Observed to have been badly damaged in a fire in 1920, “The Hop And Malt Exchange” was, after having been partially relocated to a second site in ‘Paddocks Wood’, noted to have fallen prey to the usage of hop pellets in favor of traditional brewing methods and a resultant absence of demand, a pretext beneath which, by 1970 it, was noted to have largely fallen out of use.
It was interesting to note, with regards to the general apparel beneath which London breweries chose to practice their craft during the Victorian era that, before the sixteenth century all beer was produced by top fermentation, a process through which yeast was witnessed to float to it’s surface during maturation to the effect of becoming what one would term modern bitter or ale, however that in the 1530’s a period during which a number of Bavarian brewers were recorded to have observed that storing beer in cellars deep below the ground caused yeast to sink to the bottom of the vessel in which it was contained reducing the rate at which it fermented, such a convention was to change.
Later known as “Lagering”, the practise of cold fermentation was subsequently widely adopted by German brewers to preserve and standardise their brews during summer months, a process through which the constituent elements of what was to become modern lager were perfected.
Much of the research invested in the perfection of lager beer was, in 1842, employed by the Czechoslovakian brewer ‘Josef Groll’ in the formulation of ‘Pilner Urquell’, a true lager which, in possessing the distinctively clear golden texture for which the modern drink is renowned, remains widely available to this day .
Although the Bohemian town of ‘Pizen’ in which ‘Groll’ devised his formulae deserves credit for it’s seniority in such matters, it was in Germany that the wide-scale production of lager truly acceded the proportions for which it has subsequently achieved renown. .
German brewing was possibly the largest example of such practise on earth during the latter part of the nineteenth century, a term beneath which it was largely responsible for both qualifying and sanitising beer drinking, a process through which it sanctioned the consumption of beverages which had hitherto been considered either stale or stupifingly deleterious.
The issue of sterilisation resultantly became a matter of significance in the late nineteenth century, a period during the French chemist “Louis Pasteur” was recorded to have observed that passing oxygen through yeast increased it’s rate of reproduction by inhibiting it’s respiration, an understanding beneath which the principle of modern pasteurisation was ultimately perfected.
Both ‘J.C. Jacobson’ and ‘Christian Emil Hansen’ were, in this instance, also recorded to have developed a number of pure or predictable yeast cultures at the ‘Carlsberg’ brewery of Copenhagen during the late nineteenth century, a process through which mould was correctly identified as the cause of fermentation and it’s properties categorically qualified.
In 1868 ‘John Ewald Seibel’ founded what was to become Chicago’s ‘Zymotechnic Institute’ and, in 1870 ‘Eberhard Anheuser’ and ‘Adolphus Busch’ established their first research laboratory upon the American mainland, an interest which, in employing Pasteurisation techniques to sterilise alcohol, earned renown for producing ‘Budweiser’ lager, a beverage which, in being Christened after a small town in Bohemia by it’s brewer ‘Charles W. Conrad’, was later to become synonymous with beer.
In 1876 the Bavarian engineer ‘Carl Von Linde’ was recorded to have patented a mechanical beer refrigeration unit, a device later used by both the ‘Carlsberg’ and ‘Heineken’ companies to produce lager, and, in 1881 ‘Edwin J. Houston’ and ‘Elijah Thompson’ of Philadelphia perfected a centrifugal separator for dairy products, a process through which the division of food stuffs into their component elements by means other than distillation became common practise.
‘Max Drelbuck’ founded the Research And Teaching Institute For Brewing in Berlin in 1883 a period during which both ‘Gabriel Sedlmayr’ and ‘Anton Dreher’ were noted to have written upon the subject.
Largely responsible for introducing the kilning techniques which were to result in the formulation of ‘Pilsner’ and ‘Helles’ lager, ‘Gabriel Sedlmayr’ was notable for being the proprietor of the ‘Spaten’ brewery during the nineteenth century, an interest which, in having been active in Munich beneath another name since the medieval era, had hitherto achieved renown for producing “Obergharig”, a heavily fermented traditional German beer.
‘Anton Dreher’ was similarly notable for running the Austrian ‘Klein Schwechat’ brewery, a period during which he was also responsible for the construction of the “Saaz brewery” in Munich, an interest which, during the nineteenth century, was amongst the largest of it’s type on earth.
With regards to global recognition of lager as an alternative to beer, the ‘Austro Bavarian Crystal Ice Company’ was, in 1882 recorded to have founded a large brewery along Tottenham Court road in West London, a period during which ‘William and Ralph Foster’ were similarly registered to have devised the ‘Foster’s’ brand in Melbourne Australia.
The path towards enlightenment was to continue into the nineteenth century with the commencement of brewing tuition at Edinburgh’s ‘Heriot Watt’ College and the organisation of brewing classes in Burton on Trent by ‘William Waters Butler’.
13… TWENTIETH CENTURY… GLOBAL BEER CONGLOMERATES
Diageo, Park Royal
The first prohibition of alcohol was recorded to have been established in Tennessee during 1838, a ban that, in being credited to the concerns of American temperance societies over the effects of beer consumption, typified much of the nineteenth century.
Distinguished by illicit bootlegging operations such as the production of “Shiner Blonde” beer by ‘Kozmos Spoitzl’ and ‘Oswald Petzold’, the prohibition was finally repealed by the American government in the eighteenth amendment of 1933, a decision which paradoxically coincided with the outbreak of the second world war.
Associated with the brewery of ‘Thomas Carling’, an interest which, in being established near a military outpost in London during 1840 was, later recorded to have brewed in both America and Canada, the prohibition served to impair the quality of much European alcohol, inspiring pocket industries to produce goods beneath the wisdom that they would only ultimately be confiscated.
Although the origin of the term booze in reference to alcohol is uncertain, a word presumed to have been derived from the French word “bu” meaning to drink, an American distiller named ‘E.G. Booz’ was recorded to have operated in Philadelphia during the 1860’s, a period during which the expression became synonymous with alcohol consumption.
Immortalised both by ‘F. Scott Fitzgerald’ in the popular fiction novel “The Great Gatsby” and in many of the exploits of the infamous Chicago gangster “Al Capone”, the prohibition stands as something of a dichotomy, an oppressive control which ultimately abandoned order.
Through association with the prohibition of both drugs and alcohol, Cocaine, a powerful stimulant derived from the South American Coca shrub was, throughout the nineteenth century recorded to have been used in a medical sense as both a stimulant and a local anesthetic.
Consumed by, amongst others, the author Robert Louis Stephenson and the American President William McKinley, Cocaine was known to have been both blended with wine to create a beverage called “Vin Mariani”, a drink recorded to have been favoured by Queen Victoria, and mixed with Kola nuts to produce “Forced March”, a brand of pill which earned renown for fuelling Ernest Shackleton’s exploration of Antarctica.
In 1886 the American pharmacist, “Doctor John Stith Pemberton”, perfected the recipe for “French Wine Coca”, a beverage which, in being composed of lime, cinnamon, coca leaves and the seeds of a number of Brazilian shrubs, later earned renown, in an adulterated form, as the popular soft drink Coca Cola, a brew which during the early twentieth century, competed for public affection with both Charles Alderton’s “Doctor Pepper” and “Pepsi-Cola”.
The reason for such adulteration appeared, in this instance, to pertain to Cocaine’s illegality within inland locations, although it was apparently still legal to take the drug, presumably when still fresh, whilst at sea.
Although the licensing act of 1902 prevented up-grades in many London public houses, the popularity of alcohol dramatically increased throughout twentieth century despite the incident prohibition, a demand which led to the formation of some of the largest brewing companies that have ever existed.
Foremost amongst these is “AB InBev” a huge organisation composed of a merger in 2008 between the American “Anheuser Busch” company renowned for brewing Budweiser beer and the Belgian “Interbrew” company composed of a merger between the Brasseries ‘Artois’ and ‘Piedboeuf’, a union closely pursued, in terms of global trade, by The American “Miller Coors” company, another merger which, in being formed from the combined interests of “Molson Coors” and the South African trade giant “SAB Miller”, includes both Carling Black Label and a number of Checkoslovakian and Austrian breweries beneath it’s aegis.
The third largest brewing company on earth is currently “Diageo”, a venture which although specialising in soft drinks, a term beneath which it is technically the largest non-alcoholic drinks company on earth, also owns both the Guinness and Red Stripe brands.
The Guinness company started to bottle beer in 1850, a period before which it’s Stout was rather quaintly sold in earthen-ware flasks.
Recorded to have been the largest brewing company on earth in 1886, a status sustained throughout the early twentieth century with the production of almost three million barrels of beer during the First World War, Guinness steadily continued to increase in size being registered as the seventh largest company on earth in the 1930’s, a period during which, amidst a series of Anglo Irish trade wars, the “S.S Guinness” steam ship was built and a sizeable brewery was established at Park Royal in North West London.
The producer of most of the Guinness consumed in England during the latter half of the twentieth century, the Guinness brewery at Park Royal was a vast undertaking, designed by the architect of Battersea Power Station, “Sir Giles Gilbert Scott”, a project which, in possessing it’s own power supply, consisted of a series of gravity drawn vats housed in a number of oppressive red brick buildings connected by overhead walkways.
Registered to have sold an incredible seven million glasses of stout upon a daily basis during the 1970’s, the Guinness brand was potentially the most influential factor in the re-popularisation of traditional Porter style beers after the depressions and prohibitions of the 1920's.
In 1990 Guinness acquired the “La Cruz Del Campo” label and in 1997, the company merged with Grand Metropolitan to form the trade giant “Diageo”, a period after which the company ceased brewing in Acton and indeed Britain, returning to it’s home town of Dublin, a location in which the company was registered to have been granted a 9,000 year lease to brew Stout.
Despite the observation that both Anheuser Busch and Guinness have brewed upon the British mainland during the twentieth century, the Scottish and Newcastle company founded by William McEwan and William Younger is recorded, perhaps as a result of it’s ownership, to be the largest brewer currently operative in the United Kingdom, a capacity in which it produces both ‘Foster’s’ and ‘Kronenbourg’ lager although, in practise, Scottish and Newcastle’s unique heritage is imperilled by it’s association with Heineken and Carlsberg, a term beneath which much of the company’s output is presently Dutch and German.
The second largest and largest independent brewer in the United Kingdom is currently the Wells and Youngs company, an incredibly resilient testament to the many changes that have occurred in brewing over the past five hundred years, Youngs is debatably also the most well established of the conglomerates mentioned.
Such successes however were not without consequence, a spate of abductions distinguishing alcohol’s rise to popularity in the mid-twentieth century, ‘Adolpho Coors’ being kidnapped and shot in 1961 and Alfred Heineken ransomed for £10,000 in 1985, events which could perhaps be construed to correspond with the general trend towards trade mergers that the industry circumstantially witnessed at this time.
With regards to the issue of the nationalisation of alcohol, although vodka was undoubtedly present in Russia before the nineteenth century, it’s heritage extending back for almost a thousand years, the most celebrated and perhaps the best brand of the spirit was observed to have been developed in the 1860’s by Piotr Smirnoff, a preparation of such popularity that it led to a monopoly upon distilled spirits in the Soviet Union, the Tsars banning the refinement of alcohol by any other company through until the Bolshevik revolution of 1917.
After the revolution, Piotr Smirnoff’s vodka was distributed in Constantinople, Poland and Paris before the company was taken over by a Russian emigre named ‘Rudolph Kunnett’, a proprietorship beneath which the drink initially proved unsuccessful in the West before being adapted into the “Moscow Mule”, a drink which, in containing a little lime, appealed to American tastes.
Purchased in 1955 by ‘Heublein Incorporated’, Smirnoff Vodka was eventually acquired by the vast Grand Metropolitan organisation in the 1980’s, a proprietorship beneath which it became synonymous with high quality distilled spirits.
Sometimes called “The Water of Life”, Vodka is essentially distilled charcoal filtered beer, a beverage which, unlike English liquors and fortified wines, is primarily favoured for it’s purity and neutrality, an apparel beneath which, despite homages to early twentieth century Western tastes, it was eventually to become one of the most popular and widely consumed spirits on earth.
Perhaps the most profound difference between twentieth century drinking practices and those of earlier eras pertains to the consumption of lager, a drink which, in having been something of a delicacy during the Victorian period was observed to become universally available in the 1970’s, an accession towards significance which, upon coinciding with the delectations of the CAMRA Real Ale Appreciation Organisation, was observed to represent something of a contradiction in which the general commonality of what was once a choice preserve granted cause for connoisseurs to remain undecided as to whether what they were drinking was either very good or very bad.
Through association with what would amount to an unparalleled degree of diversity with regards to beer, wine and spirits in the modern market place, the popular B.B.C television series “the Beer Hunter” hosted by Michael Jackson, the author of “The World Guide to Whisky”, “The World Guide to Beer” and “The Beer Companion”, was observed to both bring many little known brews to public attention and provide an insight into the obscure world of brewing, an instance in which the wide variety of alcoholic beverages presently available on the open market was coincidentally observed to appear even larger than the common practice of touring one’s local supermarket would suggest.
With respect to such a matter, I would be inclined to agree with ‘Camra’s’ opinion that the industry appears to be more kind to independent breweries than large scale commercial concerns which, from what I can deduce, tend to be absorbed into each other under a common banner before effectively ceasing to exist, a pretense beneath which smaller companies that, at first glance, may seem comparatively ephemeral, are noted to remain operative under a host of assumed names for far longer than multi-nationals appear to do.
With regards to my own opinions about how brewing may be observed to have evolved between the twelfth century in London and the modern era, I would be compelled to note that both the incidental sweetness of liquors and the pleasing effect of rare drugs were probably far more more popular than either beer or spirit in the city until the introduction of Gin into it’s repertoire through association with the issues of both hygiene and narcotic moderation during the reign of William the Third and that cask beer was, in having hitherto been a culinary ingredient which, could successfully double as an aquarium for fish, oysters or crabs, essentially as neutral as possible with respect to the issue of how strong medieval beer actually was, salt being removed from the dark brine in which such creatures had been bred to the effect of stilling fresh water and producing a condiment.
It was, in this sense debatably true with reference to a number of assertions that I had found occasion to make earlier in this book, pertaining to the ‘Stag’ or ‘Ram’ breweries’ Westward migration upriver from central London to avoid the toll of the Black Death, that medieval brewing fraternities were, as vanguards of many of the city’s old world conventions, effectively the distributors of myriad comestibles including fish and fowl not solitarily beer producers, much as they would, by this measure, not have been averse to the trade of rare narcotics which, in having been celebrated by the pilgrim cult of ‘Thomas A Becket’ in the preceding century, was observed to be perfectly legal at that time.
With regards to this issue, most medieval breweries were observed to have been little more than families of people that had decided to leave cities like London through association with pilgrimage and the recreational ‘soft’ suicide option which the cult of ‘Thomas a Becket’ was once observed to represent, a process through which the evidence of pre Lancastrian public houses in places like ‘Colnbrook’ and ‘St. Ives’ were probably incidentally exceptional rather then culturally homologous with other more widescale human activity.
‘Doctor Samuel Johnson’s’, support of entire ale was, in this manner, both a natural progression from the acceptability of Gin as both a safe and economically viable narcotic and a source from which such spirits could be made when produced in a sufficient quantity to effect distillation in the eighteenth century, a pretext beneath which one would, with regards to such a matter, effectively be compelled to observe that the cultural ramifications to which it’s detail appertains is of a generally positive humanistic persuasion.
Similarly the usage of alcohol to dampen explosives during the post Napoleonic era or, in the instance of ‘Twining’s gunpowder tea’, in the eighteenth century, was not necessarily of a purely commercial nature, although, in confirming the standards to which the manufacture of gunpowder would be presumed to ascribe, it may be supposed that the two ideas could both successfully and profitably operate in conjunction with each other to great effect.
Perhaps as a result of it’s physiological effect, alcohol, like any other drug, has always played subject to inquiries over it’s effects upon health, this being very much the case after the event of serious disease as was the case in London during the late seventeenth century, an instance in which the drug’s usage was almost entirely banned.
Latterly known as the “French Paradox” an argument through which the Gallic passion for wine is pitted against a number of arguments to the contrary, alcohol has in, the instance of excessive usage been connected with liver disease and perhaps unfairly or abstractly associated with “Delerium Tremens” a condition which, in causing, paranoia, tachycardia, hallucination, formication, diaphoresis and diarrhoea, is, for obvious reasons, a very good reason not to drink.
In practise, although alcohol has been called a carcinogen, certain Phytoalexins in the skin of grapes have been considered anti-carcinogenic and similarly, in being deemed responsible for causing heart attacks, high rates of alcohol consumption, such as those witnessed in France, statistically result in a relatively low incident of coronary disease.
In fact many of the reservations sustained against beer may find their origin in the plethora of social problems that it can cause, an instance in which the example that older generations represent to the young may be entirely misinterpreted and the operation of machinery impaired, an observation which, in ultimately tolerating alcohol consumption, led to both the introduction of breathalyzers to measure the content of spirit present in the breath of automobile drivers and the establishment of a number of organised temperance societies to moderate the anti-sociality towards which inebriation is prone.
I am ill qualified to afford an opinion upon the matter and perhaps the true effects of alcohol will never be divulged, but, from what I can deduce, many people seem to lead long and happy lives whilst engaging in the regular consumption of alcohol and, at least at present, it’s availability on the open market would seem to confirm this and I would, both through association with such an assertion and with regards to my own observations upon such matters, conclusively have to count myself among those who would perceive the drinking of alcohol to be a relatively benign long term prospect rather than the anathema which it may, at first, appear to represent.
I would, in conclusion, like to believe that people agreed with me about that, both I and many of my friends and relatives have, to my knowledge, gleaned a great deal of enjoyment from the easy atmosphere generated by the multitude of public houses presently located in London, an instance in which such establishments have, in my opinion, managed to preserve a spirit of community and tradition which would otherwise remain unrequited in most people’s lives. It would, to my mind, resultingly be a pity to lose such venues after so much effort had been invested in their creation. Three cheers for English pubs, long may they persist.
14… MAP OF LONDON BREWERIES
VINOPOLIS, BOROUGH MARKET
As an auxiliary to the heritage of London breweries which is described in ‘Brewery Lanes’, I decided to include a chart of the many breweries that still remain active in the city at the present time, a list which, after having been originally written as a comprehensive summary about five years ago and subsequently revised, I amusingly discovered to include a large number of presently defunct breweries within it’s scheme whilst failing to mention more than fifty per cent of the new breweries that were observed to have arisen within the city’s bounds since the time of the book’s first draft.
It had seemed with respect to such an issue, that London, being a major corporate entity, inclined to invest in short term prospects almost as readily as it would wager a stake, was observed to almost entirely change it’s commercial attire within the space of no more than a few years, a period during which it’s list of breweries extended to encompass almost 130 separate ventures practically instantaneously, making accurate qualification with regards to the issue of correct specification almost entirely impossible.
Irrespective of such a shortcoming, I decided, if only for the sake of posterity, to include a new updated version of the previous index which appeared within the book to draw attention to the issues which I had initially proposed that it should cover, a catalog of the state of grace or hiatus of activity which brewing in the city seems to have wrought at the present time.
In the end I opted to divide the list which I had collated between the four cardinal points of the compass with the breweries being placed in alphabetical order within their respective quadrants, the company’s listed beneath it’s aegis will undoubtedly change but, with regards to 2022, should be fairly comprehensive
THE HIND BREWERY, CHISWELL STREET
NORTH LONDON Including… The Bimber Distillery / The Black Horse / Brewdog Outpost / Brewhouse and Kitchen / The Camden Town brewery / The City of London Distillery / The E5 Poplar Bakehouse Brewery / The Ealing Distillery / Earl’s Brewery / The Elixir Distillery / The Essex Street Brewery / The Gorgeous Brewery / The Forge Spirits Distillery / The Hadley Brewery / The Half Hitch Gin Distillery / The Hammerton Brewery / The Little Creatures Brewery / The London Brewing Company, The Mad Yank Brewery / The Mikkeler Brewery / The Moncado Brewery / The Muswell Hillbillies Brewery / The Perseverance Brewery / The Sacred Spirits Distillery / The St. Mary’s Brewery / The Sustainable Spirits Company / The Three Sods Brewery / The Urban Alchemy Brewery / The Werewolf Brewery / Local Area.
THE BIMBER DISTILLERY
Situated on Sunbeam Road Upon the outskirts of Ealing , the ‘Bimber’ distillery is observed to employ traditional spirit making processes to produce it’s Gin , selecting barley grown naturally in one location and manually mashing it before floor malting it in the manner that such things have been practiced since brewing began.
THE BLACK HORSE… (discontinued)
Recently Punch Taverns established the ‘Black Horse’ Brewery in Barnet, a small venture located at the back of the ‘Black Horse’ Public House within the vicinity of the old ‘Hadley’ brewery.
Also known as ‘Barnet’ brewery, the ‘Black Horse’ brewery was, although subsequently closed, recorded to have been run by the experienced publican ‘Simon Cullinson’ assisted by the Italian brewer ‘Eduardo Raymondi’ when operational , a team which was noted to have produced a number of interesting beers including “Palomino”, flavoured with American Cascade Hops, “Brindle” flavoured with Admiral Hops, “Sorrel” flavoured with Maris Otter Hops and “Crying Chapel” a traditional butted cask beer.
Using a number of Newcastle federation tanks acquired from the ‘Icene’ brewery in Thetford, the ‘Black Horse’ brewery was notable for using malt supplied by the East Anglian farmer ‘Teddy Maufe’, a resource tempered with innovative solar panel technology to produce the biscuit flavoured malts currently favoured by many craft brewers.
Founded upon the grounds of a neo-gothic minster building in Tower Hamlets, the ‘Brewdog Outpost’ is presently the largest of the ‘Brewdog’ chain’s brewpubs in London.
Serving a similar selection of beers to those sold at ‘Brewdog’s’ other outlets in Hammersmith and Covent Garden, Brewdog’s ‘Outpost’ is also noted to sell a range of beers which are brewed upon it’s premises.
BREWHOUSE AND KITCHEN
Founded by Kris Gumbrell, an experienced brewer who, who in having collaborated with both Kew’s ‘Botanist’ brewery and the ‘Lamb’ in Chiswick through association with his company ‘Convivial Wines’, Islington’s ‘Brewhouse And Kitchen’ brewery is noted to be situated in a disused cocktail bar located in tram shed beneath a railway viaduct near Highbury corner
Presently observed, through association with the ‘Mitchells and Butler’ catering company to be one of three such outlets in London, (there being one in Islington and a third in Hoxton), Highbury’s ‘Brew House and Kitchen’ is, in doubling as a fully equipped restaurant, also noted to serve it’s craft beer with food.
THE CAMDEN TOWN BREWERY
Recorded to have commenced business in Australia beneath the name of ‘Mclaughlin’s’, ‘The Camden Town Brewery’, was, in initially having conducted an amount of trade with the ‘Horseshoe’ public hose in Hampstead, subsequently noted to have moved to London, occupying two Victorian railway arches near Kentish Town West Station in Camden,
Ultimately founded in 2010 by ‘Jasper Cuppaidge’, whose family was observed to have owned the land upon which ‘Mclaughlin’s’ brewed beer, a patron that, in being inspired by the flavour of German and American beers, was noted to have developed a fine selection of ‘Hell’s’ lagers and ‘Pilsners’ to his own specifications, the ‘Camden Town’ brewery subsequently extended province to include a series of neighboring arches within it’s compass, a pretext beneath which it was, after the ‘Fullers’ and ‘Meantime’ companies, reported to be the third largest beer manufacturer In the capital in 2014, a pretext beneath which it was ultimately bought by the multi national company ‘Anheuser Busch In Bev’ in 2015.
Noted to have acquired a second brewery in Enfield along the Lee Valley in 2017 trough association with ‘Anheuser Busch In Bev’, a venture which was, in it’s distinction, recorded to be the largest of it’s type in London since the opening of the vast ‘Guinness’ brewery in Park Royal in 1956.
Currently selling a wide range of beverages which, amidst a rising tide of European brands, distinctively retain a local theme, the ‘Camden Town Brewery’s’ beers are presently widely available and can be sampled in most London pubs including, the ‘Camden Town Brewery Bar’, a fine high ceilinged Victorian public house on Wilkins Street and of course Arch 55 upon it’s original premises beneath the Kentish Town West railway line. an instance in which the brewery is also noted to conduct organised tours of it’s premises.
THE CITY OF LONDON DISTILLERY
After an absence from the capital of almost 200 hundred years, the ‘City of London Distillery’ located along Bride Lane near Fleet Street has finally been re-opened.
Once associated with both Charles Dickens and the alumni of the Pickwick Club, the ‘City Of London Distillery’ (or C.O.L.D), was closed in 1825 during the formulation of a number of laws against Gin consumption upon the streets of London.
Resurrected in 2012 by James Bayer, The ‘City Of London Distillery’ is currently distinguished by two copper stills affectionately named ‘Jennifer’ and ‘Clarissa’ and it’s selection of spirits may presently be sampled at the ‘City Of London Distillery’ Bar.
THE E5 POPLAR BAKEHOUSE BREWERY
Initially founded as the ‘E5 Roast House’ through association with a company called ‘Just Bread’ which was recorded to have a refugee training program, the ‘E5 Poplar Bakehouse’, brewery is, in being situated upon the grounds of a bakery in Bartlett Park near the Limehouse Cut, observed to specialise in the production of low strength beers made with both Rye or Spelt Kvass a type of Eastern European bread.
Associated with ‘Fellows Farm’ a seventy acre plot of arable land in Suffolk, the ‘E5 Poplar Bakehouse’ brewery is, in being observed to have been named in homage to it’s postcode, also noted to be a restaurant with it’s own flour mill, a pastry department and a chocolate facility, an instance in which it’s beer is, in resembling mead made with honey and sourdough, regularly sold at London Fields.
THE EALING DISTILLERY
Founded in Ealing by the Duncan family, who, in having been residents of the district for four generations, are observed to have been distilling spirit in the area for some years, the ‘Ealing Distillery’ is, in employing a still affectionately named ‘Felicity’ to make a fine interpretation of London’s traditional artisanal dry Gin, noted to pay homage to the suburb’s art deco heritage, decorating it’s bottles with stylishly abstract fluorescent patterns and trading locally at a number of select outlets within the Ealing area.
EARL’S BREWERY… (discontinued)
Founded in 2013 along Danbury Street in Islington, ‘Earl’s Brewery’, was when operational, notable for owning the ‘Earl of Essex’ public house in the area, an establishment which, in having collaborated with the ‘Solvay Society’ of Walthamstow to produce “Single Barrel Tripel Rye”, was observed to have been at the forefront of the Belgian beer revival in the early twenty first century.
THE ELIXIR DISTILLERY
Founded in 2017 in Park Royal by brothers Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh, the ‘Elixir Distillery’ is observed to have been the result of the mutual passion for whisky which both brothers espoused throughout their youths, a pretext beneath which, in being recorded to have accumulated one of the largest collections of rare Scotches on earth during the 1980’s, they ultimately proceeded to distill their own interpretation of the spirit.
Presently specialising in the recreation of American, Irish and Japanese Whiskeys the ‘Elixir Distillery’ is, in having expanded it’s horizons, also noted to produce an excellent ‘Black Tot’ Rum based upon the drink’s naval heritage in nineteenth century London and a fine ‘Tapatio’ Tequila.
THE ESSEX STREET BREWERY
The ‘Essex Street Brewing Company’ established in 2014 at the “Temple Brew House” basement pub by the ‘City Pub Company Bath and Cambridge’ was, in having once been situated in the heart of one of the most well established residential districts in London, noted to have been forced to relocate it’s premises to Cambridge during the government’s ‘Covid 19, Coronavirus’ lockdown in 2020 and is thus, no longer strictly a London based brewery, although, from what I can deduce, it proposes to recommence activity as soon as the governmental restrictions are relieved.
THE FORGE SPIRITS DISTILLERY
Founded fairly recently in Caversham Road in Kentish Town the ‘Forge Spirits Distillery’ is, in owing it’s name to the celebrated vintage Cognac ‘Sazerac De Forge’, a drink which, in once having been considered one of the best brandies on the market, was, in it’s distinction, noted to have suffered a significant reduction in it’s output following a ‘Grape Phylloxera’ epidemic in French vine yards during the Napoleonic era, presently observed to be producing a fairly good range of ‘Southern Comfort’ inspired liquors and some excellent brandies.
THE GORGEOUS BREWERY
Founded in Highgate in 2011 by Dan Fox, an individual who, in having been observed to have managed the ‘White Horse’ public house in the area, was noted to have been instrumental in renovating both the ‘Bull’ public house and two other taverns in Highgate during the early twenty first century, the ‘Gorgeous’ brewery is, in keeping with pub tradition, noted to pay homage to the christian name of England’s Hanoverian kings.
Presently situated upon the premises of the ‘Bull’ public house, the ‘Gorgeous’ brewery is, in producing a wide range of beers which, are, in their distinction noted to begin with the letter ‘G’, currently observed to be managed by both Rob Laub and Reubens Moore.
HADLEY BREWERY… (discontinued)
Although no longer in existence, The ‘Hadley’ brewery in Barnet was almost certainly operative throughout the seventeenth century, an interest which, during the eighteenth century, was recorded to have been run by Robert and William Thorpe.
Managed by a man named Mr. Salisbury in the 1850’s the ‘Hadley’ brewery was acquired in 1861 by Mr. W.T Healey, a period during which the brewery was re-constructed.
Purchased in in 1887 by James Harris, a proprietorship beneath which the brew house served as the premises for Harris Brown Limited, ‘Hadley’ brewery was, during the 1930’s recorded to have owned “The Star Tavern” in High Barnet, “The Victorian Public House” in Highgate and “The Bridge House” in Potter’s Bar, an era throughout which the company earned renown for producing “Hadley Stout”, “Hadley Special”,” Pale Ale”, “Ginger Beer” and “Nourishing Stout”, a selection created using imported Hops from Czechoslovakia to flavour water drawn from the brewery’s own artesian well.
In 1938 ‘Hadley’ brewery was sold to “Fremlin’s”, a period during which the ‘Brookman’s Park Hotel’ was constructed in the area, the brew house being used for storage and distribution.
Finally sold to the ‘Whitbread’ company in 1967, a proprietorship beneath which the brew house ceased to operate, ‘Hadley’ brewery sustained extensive fire damage during the 1960’s being entirely demolished in 1978.
THE HALF HITCH GIN DISTILLERY
Situated upon twenty acres of land between the Camden Roundhouse and Camden Lock, the ‘Half Hitch’ gin distillery is, in occupying premises that were recorded to have been used for the distillation of spirit since 1869, noted to specialise in making traditional small batch gin.
THE HAMMERTON BREWERY
Founded in an industrial space in Barnsbury in 2014 by Lee Hammerton, an individual who, in being observed to be distantly related to the esteemed eighteenth century ‘Hammerton’ brewing dynasty that was once noted to have collaborated with ‘Truman’s’ brewery in London’s East end, managed, like those presently seeking to resurrect the ‘Truman’s’ brand, to persuade ‘Hieneken’ to permit him usage the company’s old name beneath which to trade beer, the ‘Hammerton’ brewery is, in currently being a modern state of the art brewery, which has dispensed with many of the novel applications to which it’s predecessor ascribed, noted to be equipped with a tank bar, an instance in which and there are also recorded to be food trucks located on the premises from which one can buy meals.
THE LITTLE CREATURES BREWERY
Observed to be the branch of a larger Australian company with international outlets in a number of different countries, the ‘Little Creature’s’ brewery is, with regards to it’s London outlet, noted to be based upon a fairly extensive industrial premises equipped with both a taproom and bar by the Regent’s canal in King’s Cross, a location which, in being close to London Zoo, was noted to have given rise to the urban myth that it was situated upon the site of an old crocodile farm.
Presently observed to support a number of local charities, the ‘Little Creatures’ brewery currently produces a good range of beers and has become something of a meeting place for college students.
THE LONDON BREWING COMPANY
Situated upon the premises of the ‘Bohemia’ Brew Pub on North Hill in Highgate, “The London Brewing Company” was founded in 2011 by Dan Fox and ‘Sean Sexton’, a project which, in salvaging the ‘Bohemia’ night club, (a building which, in having been used respectively as a furniture shop, a supermarket and a squat after having fallen out of use as a tavern), from dereliction, was, alongside the ‘Bull’ in Highgate, noted to have been refurbished by Dan Fox.
Subsequently left beneath the management of Sean Sexton at approximately the same time that the Highgate ‘Bull’ was sold to the ‘Gorgeous’ brewery following Dan Fox’s decision to move to the ‘Arnos Arms’ in another part of the capital, the ‘London Brewing company’ is presently observed to sell a fine selection of craft ales.
Presently the sister of the ‘Bull’ brew pub, an establishment which also trades at the Duke’s head on Highgate High Street, “The London Brewing Company” produces about 1,800 pints of beer a week, a quota which, in being distinguished by an image of the London skyline upon shop shelves, is noted to include 24 varieties of craft beer and 60 bottled beers amongst it’s catalogue.
THE MAD YANK BREWERY
Founded in a converted garden summerhouse Northwood Hills near Watford in 2019 by ex U.S. naval officer Grant Pinner and his wife Larissa Graeber, the ‘Mad Yank’ brewery is, in paying homage to Lincoln’s America, presently noted to be producing a fairly good selection of beers.
THE MIKKELER BREWERY
Initially Founded as a bar in Clerkenwell in 2018 by ‘Mikelborg Bjorgso’, an individual who was observed to have collaborated with the popular musician ‘Rick Astley’, who was incidentally noted to have developed an interest in beer following his chart career, the ‘Mikkeler’ brewery is, in being recorded to produce runs of rotating specials, regularly observed to sell it’s beer at Exmouth Market.
THE MONCADO BREWERY (discontinued)
Located along ‘Conlan Street’ in Notting Hill, the ‘Moncado’ Brewery, established by ‘Julio Moncado’, was, when operational notable for specialising in ‘case fining’, a technique which, in observing that barley is an allergen, proposes to remove particulate matter from beer.
Employing “Isinglass”, a flavourless collagen extracted from the swim bladders of fish to bind loose particles during fermentation, The ‘Moncado’ Brewery was, in being notable for providing local bakers with yeast observed to have produced a fine clean beer known as ‘Notting Hill Ruby Rye’ which was served at both ‘Palace Gardens Terrace’ and the ‘Gate Theatre’ in Notting hill.
THE MUSWELL HILLBILLY BREWERY
Founded in 2016 in Muswell Hill by Martin Hodgson and Peter Syratt the ‘Muswell Hillbilly’ brewery is notably named in honor of the popular music group the ‘Kinks’, a band who, in being observed to live in Muswell Hill, are, like the managerial staff of the brewery, noted to be quartet.
Recorded to use Hops grown in local allotments to brew it’s beer , the ‘Muswell Hillbillies’ brewery is observed to produce a relatively good selection of ales which are regularly sold at the ‘Alexandra Palace’ farmer’s market.
THE PERSEVERANCE BREWERY
The Perseverance brewery is located deep in the Heart of London’s Dickensian quarter upon the site of The ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ Public House along Lamb’s Conduit Street.
Founded upon the strength of a small Devonshire based cottage brewery by Doctor Jonathan Lowe and Arthur Owen Smith, the ‘Perseverance’ Brewery, is, in it’s distinction recorded to be a ‘Phantom Brewer”, a term which, though ambiguous, is reputedly devoted towards bringing new tastes to the attention of the public without attracting undue attention to itself.
Observed to have collaborated with the ‘London Beer Factory’ upon a number of occasions in recent years, the ‘Perseverence’ brewery presently produces a fine selection of craft beers.
THE SACRED SPIRITS GIN DISTILLERY
Originally a small domestic distillery, “The Sacred Spirits Company” was, in initially being observed to have used a vacuum plant located in a small outhouse behind a residential property to create it’s gin, noted to have been established in Highgate by Ian Hart in 2009.
Employing Vacuum distillation to separately refine the twelve ingredients (including frankincense) which are included in it’s spirits in efforts to accentuate the crisp flavor of it’s liquor, ‘Sacred Spirits’ is presently observed to produce an excellent interpretation of the classic eighteenth century drink which is currently obtainable from ‘Gerry’s’ on Old Compton Street.
THE ST. MARY’S BREWERY
Founded in 2017 as a charity in the crypt of the ‘St. Mary The Virgin’ church in Primrose Hill by the establishment’s warden Stephen Reynolds, ‘St. Mary’s’ beer is, in being observed to be sold at Primrose Hill farmer’s market, noted, in it’s distinction, to have been blessed by the Bishop of Edmonton.
THE SUSTAINABLE SPIRITS COMPANY
Founded in Maida Vale in 2012, the ‘Sustainable Spirits Company’ is through collaboration with the ‘Cooper King’ distillery in Suffolk observed to be devoted towards the idea of ecological sustainability, a pretext beneath which, in producing carbon negative liquors by way of cold distillation, it is noted to sell refills for it’s range of bottled drinks in specially designed eco pouches to reduce the amount of waste that disposing of such things may be imagined to cause.
Perhaps through association with such an objective, the ‘Sustainable Spirit Company’s’ range of bottled drinks is paradoxically noted to be of a relatively ostentatious character, an instance sold in which it’s ‘Boxer Gin’ is witnessed to be sold in blue bottles embossed with the image of a prize fighter and it’s ‘Toti White Rum’ is, upon being christened in homage to the ‘Creole’ word for turtle, similarly noted to be packaged in a decorative manner, an instance in which refills can ostensibly be bought for both drinks and material waste is reduced to a minimum.
The ‘Sustainable Spirits Company’ is , in this instance also noted to produce both it’s own range of ‘Prosecco’ and a particularly intriguing vodka liquor that, in being devised to taste like a Bloody Mary Cocktail when unadorned, is observed to elude accurate categorization with regards to how it should be defined upon shop shelves.
THE THREE SODS BREWERY
Founded in the cellar of a nineteenth century working man’s club near Bethnal Green in 2015 the ‘Three Sods’ brewery was, with the assistance of Rich Ekins and Wilson Digby, observed to have expanded it’s premises to encompass an arch beneath a railway line near London fields.
Named in homage to the Irish practice of displaying peat sods outside houses selling illegal ‘Poitin’ (potato whiskey), the ‘Three Sods’ brewery, is, in occupying a relatively central location, currently observed to produce a fine selection of authentic craft beers.
THE URBAN ALCHEMY BREWERY
Founded in 2019 in New Barnet by Simon Morley, Matt Jeaves, Neil Boscoe and David Baldrin, the ‘Urban Alchemy’ brewery is, in producing a fine range of craft beers, noted to donate it’s waste beer to local allotments as fertilizer.
THE WEREWOLF BREWERY
Founded in Camden in 2021 by a United State Ex patriot named Rich White, the ‘Werewolf’ brewery was observed to have commenced activity cuckoo brewing for both the ‘Little Creatures’ brewery in King’s Cross and the ‘Rose and Crown’ public house in Kentish town before moving beneath a railway arch near Camden Road, a location which, in currently being furnished with a ghost train salvaged from a theme park, is noted to preserve something of the heritage to which it’s circumstance ascribes.
‘Startisans’, situated upon the grounds of the indoor market Covent Garden is notable for giving testers of the many craft beer currently available on the market and it is possible for customers to meet new brewers there,
Not far from ‘Startisans’, ‘Harrild’ and Sons on Farringdon Street probably has one of the most extensive beer lists in London, it’s selection of brands running into the hundreds.
“Bold London Spirit” is, with regards to North London brewries, also noted to distill Gin in the Notting Hill area.
THE BOTTLE SHOP, DRUID STREET
SOUTH LONDON Including…The Affinity Brewery/ The Bear Hug Brewery / The Beefeater Gin Distillery / The Belleville Brewery / The Bermondsey Beer Mile / Br3wery / Brixton Beer / The Brixton Distillery / The Brockley Brewery / The Bullfinch Brewery / The By The Horns Brewery / The Canopy Brewery / Clarkshaw’s / The Cronx Brewery / The Dog’s Grandad Brewery / The Doghouse Distillery / The Drop Project Brewery / The Florence Brewery / The Forest Road Brewery / The Four Thieves Brewery / The Friendship Adventure Brewery / The German Kraft Brewery / The Gipsy Hill Brewery / The Goose Island Brewery / Graveny Gin / The Hayman’s Gin Distillery / The Ignition Brewery/ The Ink Spot Brewery / The Kanpai Brewery / The Late Knights Brewery / London Beer Factory / The London Beer Lab / The London Distillery Company / The Mondo Brewery / The Nine Elms Brewery / The Ora brewery / the Orbit Brewery / Page Overton / The Rocky Head Brewery / Sambrook’s Brewery / The Signal Brewery / The Small Beer Brewery / The Sly Beast Brewery / The Southey Brewery / The St. Felix Place Brewery / The Sultan Brewery / The Thames Distillery / The Two Tribes Brewery / The Upstairs Brewery / The Volden Brewery / The Wimbledon Brewery / the Wrong Side Of the Tracks Brewery / Local Area.
THE AFFINITY BREWERY
Founded by Steve Grace and Ben Duckworth, the ‘Affinity’ brewery is, in it’s distinction, noted to be located in an old shipping container, it’s bar being situated some distance from it’s brewhouse beneath a railway arch on the ‘Bermondsey Beer Mile’.
Also selling beer at the ‘Grosvenor Arms ‘public house in Brixton, a punk venue equipped with a ballroom for those wishing to ‘mosh’ as they drink, ‘Affinity’ was, in 2018, observed to have been responsible for starting a successful cask festival for local craft beers.
THE BEAR HUG BREWERY…(discontinued)
The ‘Bear Hug’ brewery in Peckham Rye was , wen operational, conceived as a forum devoted towards the idea of bringing craft beer to the masses.
Operating in conjunction with an organisation known as ‘Green Square’, the ‘Bear Hug’ brewery was noted to have produced an excellent Pale Ale called “Hibernation I.PA.” , a slightly sour brew prepared with citrates to dry hop it’s yeast content during fermentation.
Although still recorded to be operational, most of the ‘Bear Hug’ brewery’s output is no longer produced in London, an instance in which it’s beers are observed to originate from Glastonbury and Hastings.
THE BEEFEATER GIN DISTILLERY
In Being granted a Royal licence to distill Gin in 1829, ‘Beefeater’ Gin was observed to have been officially founded in 1876, a distinction which is effectively observed to make it perhaps one of the oldest continually operative gin distillers in Britain.
Having been located along Montford Road in Kennington since 1958, the ‘Beefeater’ Gin distillery is, in being distinguished by it’s cathedral like still house, an edifice which was noted to have been designed during the mid twentieth century by James Burroughs, currently observed to conduct organised tours about it’s premises, venues which in featuring a number of Victorian pot stills and a botanical room within their compass, are observed to dwell upon the the collusion of interests represented by smooth talking English entrepreneurs and wise cracking American barmen during the hiatus of the spirit’s popularity in the nineteenth century,
Recorded to be owned by the ‘Chivas’ brothers through association with the ‘Pernod Ricard’ brand, ‘Beefeater’ is, in being easily distinguished on shop shelves by the image of a Yeoman warden emblazoned upon it’s bottles, currently one of the most iconic brands of spirit in London and presently produces one of the most reliable mass produced Gins on the market.
THE BELLEVILLE BREWERY
Founded by musician ‘Adrian Thomas’ on Wandsworth common ‘The Belleville Brewery’ is presently situated upon the premises of an industrial estate near Wandsworth Common.
Although, at first glance, appearing to have derived it’s name from the continent, (‘Belleville being the French for ‘beautiful town’), the ‘Belleville brewery’ was instead recorded, to have been christened in honor of a beer festival staged upon the grounds of a local primary school in which ‘Adrian Thomas’ son was observed to have undertaken his education.
Specialising in the creation of American style beers, ‘The Belleville Brewery’ is presently recorded to produce a fine cross section of eleven ales including both ‘Battersea Brownstone’ and ‘Thames Surfer’ within it’s compass.
THE BERMONDSEY BEER MILE
Although intermittent, Southwark’s brewing tradition is potentially one of the most well established conventions in London, a tradition which extends back to the foundation of Southwark Cathedral, the Clink Prison and the first London Bridge.
The range of commercial products manufactured by Southwark breweries was, in this sense, fairly extensive during the nineteenth century, a list which, in extending to include such brands as ‘Courage’ beer, ‘Peak Freens’ biscuits, ‘Spiller’s’ dog biscuits, ‘Pearce Duff’ pastries, ‘Sarson’s’ vinegar, ‘Jacob’s’ cream crackers, ‘Hartley’s’ jam, and ‘Cross And Blackwell’ canned foods also features a number of spirit distilleries within it’s compass.
Among the more novel concepts in the Bermondsey area is “U brew” an open brewery situated on Jamaica Road which is, in being observed to assist people in making their own beer, also an outlet from which brewing equipment can be hired for contract work.
Through association with ‘U brew’, Bermondsey is, in this instance presently observed to be distinguished by a ‘Beer Mile’, a collection of micro-breweries huddled beneath the parades of railway arches which line the matrix of avenues that lie between the Surrey Canal and Druid Street.
Many of Bermondsey’s breweries are, in being served at the ‘Dean Swift’ public house and sold at the local bottle shops on both Druid Street and Maltby market, also noted to be open to the public on Saturdays through correspondence with the area’s trade heritage.
Amongst these breweries are…
1… The ‘Southwark’ brewery Founded in 2014 beneath a railway arch on Druid Street by Peter Jackson and Andy Nichol, an interest which, in selling it’s ware to a number of pub chains, is presently reputed to have one of the best selections of beers on the ‘Beer Mile’.
2… ‘The Kernel’ brewery, Founded on Dockley Road in 2009 by ‘Evin O’Riordan’, an interest which, in currently producing about 10,000 bottles of beer a week, occasionally using Belgian ‘Foeders’ for oak aged tuns, is observed to have been one of the first breweries on the ‘Beer Mile’, an instance in which it was, upon being swiftly joined by a number of other archway traders in the area, noted to have been responsible for establishing the Brewer’s alliance in 2010.
3… The ‘Partizan’ brewery, an interest which, in being recorded to be the second oldest brewery on the ‘Beer Mile’, is noted to use a mash tun re-constructed from the remains of a derelict power station that was discovered in a Yorkshire field in tandem with a phalanx of bar fonts designed by an engineer named Alec Docherty to serve it’s beer.
Founded on Salmon Street in 2012 by Andy Smith, ‘Partizan’ is, perhaps owing to it’s seniority with regards to such matters, observed to collaborate regularly with other breweries on the ‘Beer Mile’ including the ‘Kernel’, ‘Affinity’,‘Three Hills’ and ‘Spartan’.
4… ‘Brew By Numbers’, an interest which, in being noted to have been established under Bermondsey’s railway arches on Enid Street by Tom Hutchings and Dave Seymour in 2012, is recorded to be named in homage to the practice of indexing ale through association with it’s output of over four hundred different types of beer.
Observed to have collaborated with the popular beer retailing company ‘Brewdog’ to produce a canning line before moving to Peckham in 2019, ‘Brew By Numbers’ was subsequently noted to have moved to a repurposed Victorian glucose refinery at Morden Wharf on the Greenwich Peninsula, a location which, in housing an extensive barrel store for aging beer, it has earned a reputation for producing excellent sours.
5… ‘The Bullfinch’, an interest founded in 2014 by former musicians ‘Paul Anspach’ and ‘John Hobday’, a pair of promising young brewers, who, in being noted to have commenced brewing beneath the brand name ‘Alements’ in 2012, were, observed to have moved briefly to the grounds of the old ‘Neal’s Yard Dairy’ in Bermondsey, before occupying a larger industrial space in Croydon, leaving the ‘Bullfinch’s’ bar and barrel vault in situ behind them.
Subsequently recorded to have opened a public house in Camberwell called the ‘Pigeon’ in 2018, an establishment which correspondingly earned a reputation for serving both excellent Pale Ales and Juniper flavored beer alongside a number of other brews, ‘Paul Anspach and John Hobday’s” small brewery in Bermondsey was, in it’s distinction, one of the few venues that I found occasion to explore whilst writing ‘Brewery Lanes’
6… ‘Four Pure’, an interest which, in having been founded in 2015 by Dan and Tom Lowe, is presently noted to be one of the biggest independent brewer in London, selling beer to many national supermarket chains.
Recorded to have been bought up by the Japanese ‘Kirin’ group in 2018, the ‘Four Pure’ brewery’s tap room’ is, in being of a fair size, presently observed to possess a unusual horseshoe shaped bar and a mezzanine gallery, features which have, in their distinction, made the brewery something of a cultural meeting place.
Also noted to have premises on a trading estate in Rotherhithe, ‘Four Pure’ is observed to take it’s name from the four primary ingredients of beer ‘Grain, Malt, Hops and Water’, a pretext beneath which it is currently observed to produce one the best India Pale Ales in London.
7… The ‘Spartan’ brewery, an interest which, in being located beneath the arch that was formerly occupied by the ‘Partizan’ brewery, was observed to have been founded through collaboration with ‘U brew’ in 2018 by Colin Brooks and Mike Willetts.
Noted to pay homage to the celebrated ‘Spaten Franziskaner Brau’ brewery run by the ‘Sedlmayer’ family in Munich, the ‘Spartan’ brewery’s beers are, in their distinction, observed to bear the image of a Greek armorial crest on their label.
8…The ‘Three Hills Outpost’, an interest which, upon having been founded in Bermondsey in 2016 by Andrew Catherall who was noted to have worked in China before establishing premium in London, is, in bearing the Chinese characters for the Three hills of brewing on it’s label, (a reference which may also be construed to draw an indirect allusion to Bermondsey’s railway arches), is observed have been influenced by the Chinese brewing tradition.
9… Also recorded to have been founded beneath Bermondsey’s arches by an engineer named Reece Wood in 2016, is ‘The Bianca Road’ brewery, an interest which, in it’s distinction, was noted to have been inspired by a cycling trip in California in which each roadside public house was observed to to have sold a different style of homebrewed beer.
10… Similarly observed to have be situated underneath a railway arch on the ‘Beer Mile’ by Christian Jensen in 2001 is ‘Jensen’s Gin’, a traditional Gin distillery, devised to re-capture the ancient conventions which were observed to have ascribed to the manufacture of Gin during it’s halcyon era when Bermondsey Gardens was the location of a spa.
Noted to have perfected a fine Gin called “Old Tom” from a traditional recipe, alongside producing a classic dry Gin ‘Jensen’s’ Gin’ is notable for using water jackets during fermentation to keep it’s spirits at a constant temperature.
11… Both “Little Bird’ Gin and Grapefruit Liquor are also observed to be produced in Bermondsey, the latter being a zesty citrus flavoured spirit that can be distinguished with the picture of a red headed woman upon it’s label at both Maltby Street Market and the ‘Pedlar’ in Peckham.
The significance of the red headed woman upon ‘Little Bird’ Gin is, in paying homage to the pin up models which were noted to have been painted by ‘Alberto Vargas’ in the 1940’s, potentially a reference to the spirit’s’s popularity in Soho nightclubs where prostitution was frequently alleged to have been conducted through association with the drink.
There are, in this instance, also perceived to be a number or arches on the ‘Beer Mile’ which serve as retail outlets for ale brewed elsewhere, including ‘Hawkes Cider And Tap Room’, a stall which, in having been been commandeered by the successful Scottish craft beer chain ‘Brewdog’ in 2018, is noted to trade in a comprehensive selection of traditional English ciders, ‘Hiver Honey Beers’, an interest that, in having been established by a woman named Hannah Rhodes in 2013, is presently witnessed to collaborate with a number of English apiaries to produce a fine range of meads, ‘The Moor Beer Vaults’, a cask depot which, upon having been founded in 2005 by the combined efforts of both Gordon Byou and Petra Frankel, is, in it’s distinction, also recorded to pickle food on it’s premises, ‘Cloudwater’, the London outlet for an award winning Mancunian brewery which was itself observed to have been founded beneath the arches of Manchester’s rail system in 2014, ‘Eebria Beer’, an online distributor which, in being noted to have commenced trade in 2013, is currently perceived to sell an almost limitless selection of world beers and ‘London Calling Sweden’, a specialist in Scandinavian delicacies that, after having established premium on Enid Street in 2018 with a fine selection of ‘Poppels’ beers from the ‘Vastra Gotaland’ brewery in Sweden was, through association with the government’s ‘Covid 19, Coronavirus’ restrictions, subsequently witnessed to have been closed.
Founded in Beckenham in 2017 by Peter Finch, who was, in establishing premium, observed to have turned a lawnmower shop into an operational brewpub, ‘Br3wery’s’, name is observed to pay homage to the Beckenham postcode, a pretext beneath which, through association with ‘Vagabond Wines’, it is presently noted to sell a fine selection of traditionally inspired ales.
Situated beneath a railway arch along Brixton Station Road, ‘Brixton Beer’ was founded in 2013 by group of friends who shared a common enthusiasm for beer.
Operating in association with ‘Clarkshaw’s’ founded by Ian Clark and Lucy Grimshaw, ‘Brixton Beer’ also collaborates with both the ‘Brixton Craft Beer Company’ and the ‘London Beer Lab’, selling it’s ales both locally and on stalls at Brixton’s market.
THE BRIXTON DISTILLERY
Founded over the Arcade Market Run in Brixton by a former employee of the ‘Chivas Regal’ brewery named Patrick Venning, the ‘Brixton Distillery’ is, in supporting the sense of community embodied by Brixton’s thriving market economy, interestingly observed to be situated within the bounds of the old Plantagenet manor of Cold harbor, a pretext beneath which it continues to practice the curious art of distillation to which the area was, within reason, theoretically once devoted.
Being equipped with a selection of over one hundred copper and steel pot stills including one affectionately named ‘Eddy’ after the popular Brixton born Reggae musician ‘Eddy Grant’, the ‘Brixton’ distillery is presently noted to produce a fairly good range of spirits including both a fine selection of West Indian Rums and a fairly good interpretation of traditional London Gin, flavored with Black tea, Hibiscus and Rose.
THE BROCKLEY BREWERY
Situated along Harcourt road in Brockley, the ‘Brockley Brewery’, was noted to have been founded by the collaborative efforts of both Andy Rowland and a group of Brockley’s local residents in 2013 upon the grounds of an old builder’s workshop, a collusion of interests that, in subsequently being observed to extend compass to a second site with a regular tap room on Hither Green in 2019, is, in prioritising a sense of community to be it’s primary objective, currently reputed to be making a fine selection of locally brewed craft beers.
THE BULLFINCH BREWERY
Founded beneath a railway arch near Brockwell park by Ryan Malisan, an individual who, in being noted to have discovered craft beer whilst in tour as a sound engineer, was observed to have moved to a site near Gipsy Hill Station before occupying premises on Herne Hill, ‘The Bullfinch’ brewery owes it’s name to ‘Anspach and Hobday’s’ old brewery on the ‘Bermondsey Beer Mile’, a team with which Ryan Malisan was incidentally observed to have collaborated as a cuckoo brewer for some years.
THE BY THE HORNS BREWERY
Situated in the ‘Summerstown’ area near Wimbledon Stadium, the “By The Horns” brewery was recorded to have been founded in 2011 by Alex Bull and Chris Mills,
Recently involved in a dispute with the actor ‘Robert Lindsay’ after having depicted the television character ‘Wolfie Smith’ upon it’s bottles of Amber Ale, the ‘By the Horns’ brewery is, in applying an American approach to the production of British beer presently observed to brew a fine range of ales in a variety of different flavors, an instance in which the brewery’s tap room is also noted to sell pizza.
THE CANOPY BREWERY
Founded in 2014 beneath a railway arch near Herne Hill by a husband and wife team named Estelle and Matt Theobalds, the ‘Canopy’ brewery is observed to have been named in homage to the cyclist Tommy Simpson who was found to contain a combination of alcohol and amphetamines in his blood when he died.
Serving a selection of beers including “Brockwell I,P.A”, “Milkwood Amber” and “Ruskin Wheat Beer” a German Hefeweizen style brew, all sold at the ‘Sympathetic Ear’ public house on ‘Tulse Hill’, the ‘Canopy’ Beer Company is presently noted to be situated relatively close to the Herne Hill velodrome along Norwood Road in South London.
Originally founded in East Dulwich by Ian Clarke and Lucy Grimshaw, ‘Clarkshaw’s’ brewery was subsequently observed to have moved to Loughborough junction in Brixton.
Noted to collaborate regularly with both the ‘London Beer Lab’, and a number of other breweries in the Brixton area, ‘Clarkshaw’s brewery is observed to employ U.K. imports to produce it’s beer in efforts to prevent the environmental impact caused by the usage of other resource.
THE CRONX BREWERY
‘The Cronx’ brewery situated on the Vulcan Business Centre in Croydon was recorded to have been established in 2012 by Mark Russell and Simon Dale.
Although ‘The Cronx’ is a term loosely applied to Croydon’s post-code, the name of the brewery is allegedly also an analogy for the Bronx region of New York, the company being formed after it’s founders met at a beer festival in Crystal Palace during the riots which occurred throughout Croydon in 2011.
Producing a wide range of beers including, “Standard”, “Kotchin”, “Nektar”, “Entire” and “Mad Ass Entire”, a beverage which, in containing Smoked Chilli Pepper flavouring, is noted to possess a distinctive taste, the ‘Cronx’ is presently one of Croydon’s most well established brewing ventures.
THE DOG’S GRANDAD BREWERY
Founded in Brixton by a heavy metal enthusiast named Alex Hill who was observed to have installed the company’s Chinese built fermenters into a railway arch himself, the ‘Dog’s Grandad’ brewery is, although small, presently observed to be producing a fairly good selection of ales.
THE DOGHOUSE DISTILLERY
Founded in Battersea in 2017 the ‘Doghouse Distillery’ is, in it’s distinction recorded to be the only spirit producer in London that presently manufactures it’s liquor directly from substrate through to sublimate, distilling beer which has been brewed upon it’s premises, an instance in which the distillery is, in being at liberty to perform a few experiments in how such things may be executed, incidentally renowned for producing a number of intriguingly flavored liquors including ‘Baller Chilli and Bacon flavored Vodka’ and a good selection of exotically infused Gins.
THE DROP PROJECT BREWERY
Founded in 2019 as a West Sussex cuckoo brewery by John J.T. Taylor, Joe Slimo and Will Skipsey the ‘Drop Project’ brewery was, in subsequently being recorded to have moved to Streatham, noted, perhaps with reference to the proliferation of new breweries presently appearing in London, to be named after the concentric pattern made by rain into a pool of water.
Noted to work in tandem with nature, the ‘Drop Project’ brewery is, in it’s distinction, recorded to have pledged to plant a tree for every beer that it sells.
THE FLORENCE BREWERY…(discontinued)
Founded in 2007 by Tony Lennon The ‘Florence’ brewery was, in being observed to have been closed in 2015, once located upon the grounds of an old Irish pub opposite Brockwell Park along the Dulwich Road.
Having traded beer beneath the “Head in a Hat” brand name, the ‘Florence’ brewery was noted to have been acquired by Capital pubs, a proprietorship beneath which it was ultimately absorbed into the Suffolk based “Greene King” company and continued only in this name.
THE FOREST ROAD BREWERY
Founded in Hackney in 2021 by a New York brewer named Peter Brown, the ‘Forest Road’ brewery was observed to be named after Forest Road in Hackney were Peter Brown first sold his own beer.
Noted to have moved an old late Victorian ‘Mazawattee’ tea company building near the Grand Surrey canal in 2021, the ‘Forest Road’ brewery is, in presently neighboring the ‘Bermondsey Beer Mile’, noted to display a number of items which were salvaged from the canal during the creation of the brewery’s taproom upon it’s premises .
THE FOUR THIEVES
The ‘Four Thieves’ brewery established in Clapham during 2014 by the ‘Laine’s’ brewing company, is, amongst other things notable for distilling it’s own Gin with lavender grown on the brewery’s roof.
Attached to a public house of the same name, an establishment which has earned renown for hosting “The Lady’s Chastity Reserve’ interactive game at the weekend, the ‘Four Thieves’ was noted to have been twinned with the “Aeronaut” public house in Acton before it’s closure, a pretext beneath which it is nonetheless still observed to collaborate with the “People’s Park Tavern” in Hackney.
THE FRIENDSHIP ADVENTURE BREWERY
Founded in an old grain mill near Loughborough Junction in 2017 by Ed Pragnel, Toby Ejsmon Frey and Neil Waters, the ‘Friendship Adventure’ brewery was noted to have commenced it’s activities as a cuckoo brewery supporting local comedy events.
Subsequently establishing it’s own premises within which to brew, the ‘Friendship Adventure’ brewery is presently observed to be devoted towards the campaign for equal rights in the brewing trade and regularly donates money to this effect to the ‘Bay Tree’ charity for women’s rights.
THE GERMAN KRAFT BREWERY
Initially founded in 2017 as a bar in a disused paper factory near the Elephant and Castle by Anton Borkman, Andrea Ferrario, Michael Tiegh and Felix Bollen through association with the ‘Mercato Metropolitan’ trade fair in Mayfair, the ‘German Kraft’ brewery subsequently began to brew it’s own ale using Hungarian equipment to produce traditional Bavarian style beer.
Through coincidence with another ‘Mercato Metropolitan’ held in 2019, the ‘German Kraft’ brewery was noted to have opened a second ‘Greek revival’ brewery in the crypt of the nineteenth century ‘St Mary’s’ church in Mayfair, (no relation to the ‘St. Mary’s’ brewery on Primrose Hill), an unusual location which it was recorded to have decorated with glass bricks made from smelted bottles.
Recorded to have collaborated with the ‘Jim and Tonic’ craft gin distillery, the ‘German Kraft’ brewery was, in dwelling upon the freshness of it’s beer, subsequently observed to have witnessed further expansion, acquiring a third state of the art brewery in Dalston which, in possessing a tap room, is incidentally noted to house a kebab restaurant upon it’s premises.
THE GIPSY HILL BREWERY
Founded in West Norwood in 2014 by Charlie Shaw, Sam McMeekin and Simon Wood, ‘the ‘Gipsy Hill’ brewery is, in it’s distinction noted to be owned by it’s employees rather than it’s management staff, an instance in which each of it’s beers are named after people that work for the company.
Although reported to have suffered from an incident of subsidence in the brew house’s foundations in 2016, a problem which was subsequently fixed, the ‘Gipsy Hill’ firm, is, alongside it’s brewery, noted to own the ‘Douglas Fir’ public house, a location from which, in conjunction with a fairly wide distribution network through association with national supermarkets chains, it is presently noted to sell it’s beer.
Founded in Chicago in 1988, the ‘Goose Island’ brewery was through association with the American multi- national ‘Anheuser Busch Inbev’ observed to have established a brewery in Balham in 2011, a location from which it subsequently expanded, with a second brewery on Shoreditch High Street
Unusually using Nitrogen pumps in conjunction with wooden barrels to vend it’s beer, the ‘goose Island’ brewery effectively produces a unique range of craft beers with a distinctively satisfying flavor.
Established a number of years ago in Tooting Beck by a gin enthusiast named Victoria Christie, ‘Graveny Gin’ is, through association with an apprenticeship undertaken by Victoria in both the subtleties and practicalities of producing home made spirit, presently recorded to sell three varieties of the beverage upon the open market, including ‘Graveny’, a drink which , in retaining a local theme, is noted to have been inspired by the proximity of Tooting’s ‘St. George’s Hospital’ to the distillery, ‘Grove Fever’, a conventional London dry Gin and ‘Fig Marsh’, a traditional ‘Old Tom’.
THE HAYMAN’S GIN DISTILLERY
Located in Streatham, ‘Hayman’s’ Gin is, in being managed by James and Miranda Hayman who are recorded to be descended from the distillery’s original founder in the nineteenth century, noted to produce it’s spirit in accordance with the same ancient traditions beneath which it has always been distilled, an instance in which it is noted to infuse wheat spirit with Juniper for a period of two days to recreate the drink’s distinctive flavor.
THE IGNITION BREWERY
Initially founded on Kew Green by Nick O’Shea, the ‘Ignition’ brewery was observed to have moved it’s premises to an ex council community center in Sydenham in 2017, the ‘Ignition’ brewery is, in actively campaigning for a number of human rights issues, notably observed to employ people with learning disabilities.
Recorded to have collaborated with ‘Hop Grains’ and ‘Palace pints’, the ‘Ignition’ brewery is currently observed to produce a fairly extensive selection of craft ales.
THE INK SPOT BREWERY
Founded in 2012 Streatham Common by both an ex-soldier named Tom Talbot and an art dealer named Bradley Ridge, the ‘Inkspot’ brewery is situated in a barn neighboring Streatham’s public garden the Rookery, a location which is noted to preside over a particularly beautiful vista facing the North Downs.
Observed to maintain an environmentally conscientious attitude towards brewing, both using it’s waste Hops as fertilizer for the garden and flavor it’s beer with botanicals picked upon the site, the ‘Ink Spot’ brewery, is in it’s distinction, devoted to the idea of tapping Streatham Well within it’s vicinity to serve as a source for it’s beer,
Named after a military strategy involving the establishment of separate safe zones in enemy territory until they converge, the ‘Ink Spot’ brewery is also noted to support the Help for Heroes charity with any profit that it makes.
THE KANPAI BREWERY
Founded in 2017 in Peckham’s print village by Tom and Lucy Wilson, the ‘Kanpai’ brewery is, in being named after the Japanese word for ‘cheers’,presently noted to be virtually the only producer of ‘Junmai Sake’ in Britain, ‘Sake’ being a mildly alcoholic drink which, in fermenting un-malted un-mashed polished rice with Koji mould, is observed to represent something of traditional dietary supplement in Japan.
THE LATE KNIGHTS BREWERY… (discontinued)
Established in 2013 upon the grounds of a derelict Victorian slaughterhouse and candle factory along Southey Street in Penge, “Late Knights” brewery, was, when operational, observed to have been a small independent company founded by a group of friends.
Twinned with the ‘Beer Rebellion’ outlets on Gypsy Hill and Peckham, ‘Late Knights’ brewery was, when operational, noted to have run both the ‘London’ and ‘Brighton Beer Dispensaries’, a pretext beneath which it also sold beverages at the ‘Raven’s Gate Arms’ in Ramsgate.
Before it’s closure in 2016, ‘Late Knights’ brewery was also planning to open both a 300 seat Cinema upon the grounds of the old Alexandra theatre in Lewisham and another brewery at Crofton Park in Brockley.
THE LONDON BEER FACTORY
Founded in West Norwood in 2014 by Jim and Ed Cotton, the ‘London Beer Factory’ is unusually recorded to sell it’s beer in 360 degree cans with removable lids which enable them to be used as cups, a feature which, in being of a novel extraction, is effectively intended to allow people to appreciate the flavor beer of it’s beer more easily.
Currently noted to possess an extensive barrel vault containing two hundred kegs of ale situated inconspicuously beneath the arches of Bermondsey’s rail system, the ‘London Beer Factory’ is, through association with the ‘Bermondsey Beer Mile’ presently observed to be conducting a bar barrel project, selling cask beer on tap to those wishing to sample a range of unusual ales.
THE LONDON BEER LAB
Founded in 2014 as a tasting facility beneath an arch in Brixton by a pair of brewers named ‘Bruno Alajouanine’ and ‘Karl Durand O’Connor’ the ‘London Beer Lab’ is, in being recorded to be partnered with ‘Clarkshaw’s’ brewery in the area, noted to possess both a tap room and a restaurant.
THE LONDON DISTILLERY COMPANY
Originally established through association with a plan to build a tunnel beneath the Thames in 1807 by the Georgian serial engineer ‘Ralph Dodd’, the first run of the ‘London Distillery Company’ was dissolved after a series of legal disputes involving an Essex based corn distillery.
Interestingly ‘Ralph Dodd’ was, through association with ‘Thomas Telford’, also instrumental in re-building the Victorian incarnation of London bridge, a concourse which, in being noted to have suffered subsidence, was subsequently sold to an American entrepreneur and further reconstructed by Lord Holford.
Resurrected in 2011 by Darren Rook and Nick Taylor, through collaboration with the ‘Kew’ brewery the current run of the ‘London Distillery Company’ is noted to be located in a converted Victorian dairy cold room situated along Parkgate road in Battersea.
Officially the first malt whiskey distillery in London since the closure of the Lea Valley brewery in 1903, The ‘London Distillery Company’ is distinguished by both two traditional copper stills affectionately named “Matilda” and “Christina” one of which can , in possessing a sixty litre extraction chamber, contain a thousand litres of fluid, and a rotary evaporator called “Little Albion”
Currently producing a fine selection of spirits, compounds, cordials and gins, including the celebrated ‘Dodd’s’ Gin for which the firm initially earned renown, The ‘London Distillery Company’, is, in specialising in Whiskey, notable for incorporating both solar power and organic ingredients including ‘Plummage Archer’ malt and Kentish hops into the production of it’s beverages.
Presently observed to be conducting organised tours of it’s premises, events in which it is recorded to be possible to lay one’s own whiskey made upon the site in cold storage for a number of years, the ‘London Distillery Company’s’ wares can currently be sampled at the ‘Doodle’ Bar along Parkgate road or purchased from Fortnum and Masons, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.
Founded in 2015 along Stewarts Road in Battersea by Tom Parker and Todd Matteson, the ‘Mondo’ Brewing Company is notable for using Hungarian Zip fermenters to brew beer and is currently observed produces a fine selection of craft beers.
NINE ELMS BREWERY
Founder by a partnership between ‘Mosaic’ pubs and a former’ Young’s manager named Steve Kelly, ‘The Nine Elms Brewery’ is noted to be situated under two railway arches along the Grosvenor route.
With one of it’s arches devoted to brewing and the other converted into a bar, ‘The Nine Elms Brewery’ is also witnessed to be situated upon the premises of what was once Battersea Power Station, a novel location with a unique industrial heritage.
THE ORA BREWERY
Initially Founded in 2016 in the town of Modena in Italy by Emilio Romagna, the ‘Ora Brewery’ was, in attempting fuse the twin styles of North Italian and London craft beer together with each other, observed to have bought a small Italian run company called ‘Brewheadz’ in Tottenham in 2019, a pretext beneath which it subsequently established it’s own premises in the area.
Brewing with live yeast to produce unusually flavored beer, the ‘Ora’ brewery is recorded to have a tap room by the Lea valley Park from which it serves a fairly wide selection of craft beers.
THE ORBIT BREWERY
Founded in 2014 under a railway arch near Thameslink Sutton by Robert Middleton who was, through association with brewing, observed to have written a book about three Scottish breweries, the ‘Orbit’ brewery was, in being noted to have collaborated with Stuart Hutch of ‘Twickenham Fine Ales’, observed to have substantially expanded it’s premises to encompass four neighboring arches within it’s vicinity.
Although not strictly within the ‘Beer Mile’ itself, “Orbit” is in being situated beneath an old Southwark railway arch, nonetheless reminiscent of many similar concerns in the Bermondsey area
Influenced by old vinyl records, an inspiration through which the company is recorded to have collaborated with ‘Hi-Fidelity’ brewing, ‘Orbit’s’ selection of German style craft lager is, in being distinguished by a picture of radio amplification dial on it’s label, currently available at the ‘Brewery Tap’ in Walworth.
A company known as ‘Ludlam And Grant’ was recorded to have produced beer at the Shirley brewery in Croydon throughout much of the nineteenth century, an interest that, in 1893 was noted to have been acquired by a man named Nathaniel Page, who, through association with the experienced brewer Henry Overton, founded what was to become the ‘Page Overton’ brewery, a venture which, in proving successful, was substantially enlarged throughout the early years of the twentieth century.
Ultimately bought by the renowned patron of the historic ‘Red Lion’ brewery of Lower East Smithfield ‘Hoares’s bank’ in 1929, the ‘Page And Overton’ brewery continued to operate in the Croydon area through to 1954 whereupon it was unfortunately closed.
By far the largest of region’s breweries when operational, ‘Page And Overton’s’ absence from the field left Croydon remarkably unproductive in brewing terms for a number of years, a dearth gradually salvaged from neglect by a number of smaller craft breweries in the area.
THE ROCKY HEAD BREWERY… (discontinued)
Established in 2012 by a group of friends inspired by American Craft Beers, the ‘Rocky Head’ Brewery was, when operational, situated along Glenville Mews in Wandsworth, a pretext beneath which it acted as something of a retainer for the region’s brewing heritage after the closure of the Ram.
Distinguished by the image of an Elephant printed upon it’s bottles, ‘Rocky Head’s’ selection of beer was, during the brewery’s activity, on sale at Selfridges in Oxford Street.
Situated in a converted photographic studio along Yelverton Road in Battersea ‘Sambrook’s’ Brewery was established in 2008 by the former City Accountant Duncan Sambrook, an undertaking assisted by the former managing Director of Hampshire’s ‘Ringwood’ Brewery, David Welsh.
Subsequently observed to have acquired premises in Wandsworth’s Ram quarter in 2020, a location which, in possessing a brewing heritage that dates back to 1533, having cycled a thousand generations of ‘Young’s’ distinctive yeast, noted to have been commandeered by John Hatch and Derek Prentice as the location for a microbrewery,
Although John Hatch and Derek Prentice’s wish to continue brewing upon the site was delayed until 2019, their brewery was, in distinction to the ‘Sambrook’s’ original Yelverton Road site, ultimately opened upon the same premises as that of Duncan Sambrook in the area beneath the brand name ‘Sly Beast’ and currently serves it’s beers at the newly refurbished Ram Inn which was once the flagship of the original ‘Ram’ brewery.
Initially Conceived about the idea that modern commercial breweries need a stock-hold of at least twenty barrels to operate in an open market, ‘Sambrook’s’ beers are, in distinction to those of ‘Sly Beast’ currently widely available at many branches of Tesco’s.
THE SIGNAL BREWERY
Founded in a garden shed in 2016 by a brewer named Murray Roos, who is noted to be a relative of William Roos who founded ‘Seagrams and Roos’ ‘in Battersea during the nineteenth century) the ‘Signal’ brewery was reputed to have been established following an incident in which Murray Roos’ children both discovered and drank his home brewed beer cache, compelling him to find property elsewhere upon which to produce beer.
Subsequently moving to an industrial estate in Beddington accompanied by a fellow brewer named Charlie Luckin, the ‘Signal’ brewery is, despite the unfortunate pretext which served to inspire it’s creation, presently observed to be producing a fine selection of craft ales.
THE SMALL BEER BREWERY
Founded in South Bermondsey in 2017 by James Grundy and Felix James of ‘Sipsmith’ Gin , the ‘Small Beer’ brewery is, in sparging it’s beer to limit the amount of alcohol that it contains, named in homage to the standard strength of beer during the seventeenth century, an instance in which small beers were observed to be the lowest rung of a hierarchy that distinguished the alcohol content of various beverages to rise through double, triple and quadruple strength beers.
Produced without alcohol extraction or multiple sparging in keeping with the Tudor conventions which pertain to such things, the ‘Small Beer’ brewery’s range of ales is presently observed to be of an authentic traditional character.
THE SLY BEAST BREWERY… (HATCH’S BREWERY)
Although Young’s massive “Ram” brewery no longer exists in Wandsworth, a small Nano-brewery run by a former Ram employee named John Hatch, is still recorded to be producing beer in the area.
Situated in one of the ‘Ram’s’ original stable buildings, John Hatch’s brewery was initially conceived to preserve the site’s status as the oldest brewer in London, a project which, although legally unable to sell beer until 2016, was nonetheless reported to be producing some very good ales.
Finally opened beneath the brand name ‘Sly Beast’ in 2021, a name chosen in homage to two dogs respectively named ‘Sly’ and ‘Beast’ which were recorded to have been owned by a woman named ‘Kerie De Villier’s’ sister who was circumstantially associated with the brewery, ‘Sly Beast’ was subsequently bought by ‘Punch Taverns’ who in turn sold it to the U.S. firm ‘Fortress Investments’.
Selling it’s beers locally upon the newly refurbished premises of the nineteenth century ‘Ram’ Inn in Wandsworth, the ‘Sly Beast’ brewery is also noted to have converted a Mini Cooper into a mobile bar.
A museum dedicated to the history of brewing also remains open to the public upon the site of the old brew-house, and, replete with a selection of Victorian beam engines which were once used to pump wort around the brewery, currently affords a fascinating insight into the area’s brewing heritage.
THE SOUTHEY BREWERY
Conceived in 2013 by Steve Keegan as a successor to the ‘Late Knights’ brewery, the ‘Southey’ brewery is, in being christened in honor of the Scottish poet ‘Robert Southey’ who was noted to lend his name to the street in which it is situated, observed to collaborate with many of the interest that ‘Late Knights’ once did, including ‘Beer Rebellion’, the ‘Gipsy Hill Brewery’ and the ‘Shoreditch Shamblehouse’
Essentially situated upon the same premises that ‘Late Knights’ once occupied, the ‘Southey’ brewery currently produces a wide range of beers which it is noted to serve at the three beer dispensaries owned by ‘Late Knights’.
THE ST. FELIX PLACE BREWERY…(LAGUNITAS)
Founded in 2021 near the old Borough Market by Ben Lovett, the ‘St. Felix Place’ brewery was, in latterly being recorded to have been sold to a U.S. branch of Heineken’s which specialised in craft beers, observed to have added ‘Lagunitas’, (the name of the district in which ‘Hieneken’s’ Californian brewery is situated). to it’s title, a pretext beneath which the brewery is coincidentally noted to sell a number of unusual Heineken brands upon it’s premises.
THE SULTAN BREWERY…
Established in 1986 by John and Julie Gilbert, The Sultan brewery in Wimbledon is, through association with ‘Summer Lighting’ Golden Ale, presently noted to be London’s only Hop Back brewery,
Named after a famous race-horse called the Sultan, the ‘Sultan’ public house is also distinguished by the ‘Ted Higgins’ bar, a room Inspired by Walter Gabriel’s interpretation of country life in the popular B.B.C radio programme “The Archers”.
THE THAMES DISTILLERY
Founded in 1996 along Timbermill way near Clapham by Charles Maxwell whose family is notably recorded to have been associated with the distillation of Gin since the dawn of it’s popularity in London beneath the reign of William the Third during seventeenth century, the ‘Thames Distillery’ is, in employing two copper stills affectionately named ‘Tom Thumb’ and ‘Thumbelina’, from which the term ‘Old Tom’ that is applied to the drink was presumably once derived, presently noted to produce Gin for over sixty different labels alongside bottling it’s own, a pretext beneath which the traditional Dutch recipe which features in the distillery’s interpretation of the beverage may be observed to appear beneath many guises.
Recorded to have recently perfected a variety of the spirit using a grape rather than a grain base through association with an English Craft Gin Club, the ‘Thames Distillery’ is perhaps one of the most well established concerns to be included within this index.
THE TWO TRIBES BREWERY
Founded in 2000 after the sale of the historic nineteenth century East Sussex brewery ‘King and Barnes’ to ‘Badger’, by a descendent of the brewery’s founder, ‘Bill King’, the ‘Two Tribes’ brewery, is devised as a meeting place for artists and creative minded people.
Observed to be equipped with an outdoor fire pit rigged for both barbeques and musical performances and a number of bars made from shipping containers, the ‘Two Tribes’ brewery presently produces a wide selection of craft ales including, ‘Metroland Session I.P.A’ and ‘Dream Factory Pale Ale’,
THE UPSTAIRS BREWERY…(discontinued)
Categorised as a ‘Cuckoo’ brewery, or a company the relies upon equipment provided by established brew-houses to produce beer, the ‘Upstairs’ brewery, was initially established in Walthamstow as a hobby in 2013 by Michaela White, a pretext beneath which it was recorded to have launched a milk stout called “Arabian Nights”.
Later inspired to produce commercial ales, the ‘Upstairs’ brewery, subsequently collaborated with the pub company, ‘J.D Wetherspoon’ to produce American wheat beer, and, when operational, made an excellent wild hop ale made from hops grown in the Croydon area.
THE VOLDEN BREWERY…(ANTIC)
Established in 2015 when ‘Antic’s’ founder ‘Antony Thomas’ acquired ‘Clarence and Frederick’s, a small ten barrel microbrewery which, in itself having been founded by Duncan Woodhead and Victoria Barlow three years earlier in the Croydon area, was noted to have brewed with it’s own house yeast strain
Christened in homage to the ‘1950’s Vulcan Lorry’ through association with Antony Thomas’ enthusiasm for vintage cars, (and the name of trading estate upon which it was situated), the ‘Volden’ brewery was subsequently observed to have relocated to Forest Hill, being temporarily closed in 2020 during the imposition of the government’s ‘Covid 19, Coronavirus’ restrictions, an instance in which it nonetheless plans to recommence it’s activities sometimes in 2022.
THE WIMBLEDON BREWERY
Founded in 2015 in an industrial unit in Merton Abbey Mills by Mark Gordon and Richard Coultard, a location which, in having once been the site of a monastery, was, in it’s distinction, also reputed to have been occupied by a brewery during the sixteenth century, the ‘Wimbledon’ brewery is noted to be the first example of it’s type in the Wimbledon area since 1889 when a fire was noted to have destroyed the brewery’s previous incarnation.
Devoted to producing well balanced drinkable beer, the ‘Wimbledon’ brewery, is, in presently possessing both a shop and a tap room, noted to be surprisingly well equipped for a new brewery.
THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS BREWERY
Founded near Hither Green in Catford in 2019 by Daniel Jackson, the ‘Wrong Side Of The Tracks’ Brewery is noted to pay homage to Catford with the image of a cat on it’s label.
Not far from Brockley Brewery lies “The Beer Shop London”, a tiny bar which, in being situated on Nun-head Green, close to the area’s famous cemetery, sells a number of very well kept cask ales by gravity dispense and a fine selection of bottled beers.
Linked with both Ivy house on the other side of the cemetery and the “Flying Pig” in East Dulwich, the ‘Beer Shop London’ remains, beneath the proprietorship of John Proctor, a fine outlet for local beers, an instance in which, ‘The Fourteenth Colonie’ Clerkenwell is similarly recorded to serve a good selection of beers brewed within the Brockley area.
There is apparently also a ‘Distortion brewery’ in Battersea which trades with “We bought beer” in Balham, an outlet, that in specialising in unusual ales, is further noted to sell a selection of about 350 bottled beers, some of them surprisingly rare
THE LAMB STUDIOS, CHISWICK
WEST LONDON Including…The Aeronaut Brewery / The Anomaly Brewery / The Big Smoke Brewery / The concrete Island Brewery / The CTZN Brewery / The Dragonfly Brewery / The Ealing Park Tavern Brewery / The Fearless Nomad Brewery / The Ginstitute / The Griffin Brewery / Harman’s / The Jawbone Brewery / Jefferson’s Brewery / The Kew Brewery / The Lofty Turtle Brewery / The Macintosh Brewery / The Owl And The Pussycat Brewery / The Parakeet City Brewery / The Park Brewery / The Perivale Brewery / The Pinnora Brewery / The Portabello Brewery / The Sipsmith Gin Distillery / The Sultan Brewery/ Twickenham Fine Ales / The Weird Beard Brewery / Local Area
THE AERONAUT BREWERY…(discontinued)
Founded by ‘Laine’s’ brewery in Acton in 2013, the ‘Aeronaut’ brewery, was observed to have been established to commemorate the endeavours of ‘George Lee Temple, a former resident of Acton who was recorded to have been the first Englishman to fly an aeroplane upside down.
Closed through association with a fire upon the premises in 2017, the ‘Aeronaut’ was, when operational, noted to have staged a cabaret and circus act on Friday and Saturday nights, a venue which, in proving spectacular, was observed to have attracted a substantial following.
THE ANOMALY BREWERY
Founded in Old Malden near Kingston in 2017 by Adam Sutton, ‘The Anomaly’ brewery was observed to have graduated from a small brew house situated in a garage to a larger professional venture specialising in a selection of both Pale Ales and Seasonal beers, a pretext beneath which it presently produces a fine range of beers.
THE BIG SMOKE BREWERY
Founded fairly recently along Maple road in Surbiton by James Morgan and Richard Craig, the ‘Big Smoke’, is observed to specialise in a fine German style beer made from wood smoked Bamberg malt, a brew which may be purchased from both the ‘Antelope’ in Surbiton and the ‘Sussex Arms’ in Twickenham, outlets which, in stocking a multitude of craft beers, also serve a good selection of ales, ciders and bottled beers.
Distinguished by the image of a Pigeon upon shop shelves, the ‘Big Smoke’ is, through association with it’ outlets, presently also noted to be part of the London beer exchange.
THE CONCRETE ISLAND BREWERY
Founded near the Westway flyover in Shepherd’s Bush by Steve Smith, the ‘Concrete Island’ brewery has, although small, been noted to win a number of awards for the quality of it’s beer which is observed to be sold both locally and by mail order.
THE CTZN BREWERY
Founded in a garage in East Sheen by David Scott, the ‘CTZN’ brewery, was through collaboration with the ‘Kew’ brewery observed to have traded beer at Kew market in 2015, a process through which it gained a local reputation for producing good craft beer.
Noted to have been sold to a Dutch brewer named ‘Jana Grey’ in 2018, the ‘CTZN’ brewery, is in deriving it’s named from the consonants in the word citizen, observed to use sustainable African ingredients in it’s beer and has recently opened a bar and tap room on York street in Twickenham.
THE DRAGONFLY BREWERY
The ‘George And Dragon’ Public House along Acton high Street is, in being of Tudor origin, potentially one of the most well established drinking houses in London despite occupying what would ordinarily be considered a relatively unexceptional suburban location between Ealing and Shepherd’s Bush.
Recorded to have been a Traveller’s Inn during the sixteenth century, the ‘George And Dragon’ was observed to have been extensively re-built in the seventeenth century through association with Acton’s popularity as a spa town, the present public house having remained largely unchanged since this date, a heritage further testified upon the walls of the premises with a list of Lands Lords that extends back to 1759.
Distinguished by a polished mahogany bar, a number of soaring colonial style statues and an intriguing foliage print mural at it’s rear, the ‘George And Dragon’ is further notable for being the site of the ‘Dragonfly’ Brewery, a small independent concern established in 2014 by ‘Conor O’Donoghue’ of Chiswick’s ‘Lamb’ brewery.
Selling a fine selection of beverages including a bitter called “2 O’Clock Ordinary”, a Bavarian style beer called “Achtung” and a Stout named “Dark Matter”, both the ‘George And Dragon’ and the ‘Dragonfly’ brewery represent a wonderful combination of ancient tradition and modern ingenuity.
THE EALING PARK TAVERN BREWERY… (LONG ARM).
Having been occupied between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the ‘Lewis Furnell’ brew-house, the ‘Ealing Park Tavern’ along the South Ealing Road upon the outskirts of London is presently distinguished by it’s collection of old oak casks, many of which are cleverly employed as tables for guests.
Further decorated with both a moose head, an array of boar’s heads and a fine butterfly collection, the ‘Ealing Park Tavern’ was also once distinguished by the ‘Long Arm’ brewing company, a small independent concern notable for producing both “Birde Flipper”, a watery dark bitter and a number of spirits which may be purchased upon the premises as cocktails or spritzers.
‘The Long Arm Brewery’ was, in this instance, observed to have been founded in 2015 by the ‘E and M’ pub group run by Ed and Tim Martin, a prestext beneath which it operated in the ‘Ealing Park Tavern’s’ hayloft through until 2017 before moving to a larger venue in Shoreditch.
Recorded to have conduct guided tours of the brewery during it’s period of tenure upon the premises, the ‘Ealing Park Tavern’ remains, despite ‘Long Arm’s’ absence, an interesting location to engage in social discourse.
THE FEARLESS NOMAD BREWERY
Founded upon the premises of a freshly restored Victorian public house named the ‘Albany Arms’ in Brentford, by Ash Zobel accompanied by two brothers named Petif and James Brew, who were noted to have been instrumental in setting up the ‘Big Smoke’ brewery in Surbiton, the ‘Fearless Nomad’ brewery is presently observed to sell a good selection of craft beers in a fairly pleasant location.
Based along the Portobello Road in Notting Hill, the ‘Ginstitute’ is through association with the ‘Portobello Road’ Gin distillery, noted to house a small museum devoted to the production of gin, a base from which it is observed to offer training for people that wish to distill their own version of the classic eighteenth century spirit.
THE GRIFFIN BREWERY
Currently responsible for the management of about 380 public houses in South west England, ‘Fullers’ is still remarkably a family run concern and, it’s flagship brewery, the ‘Griffin’ in Chiswick is presently one of the most well established beer producers in London having been operational in the area for over 350 years.
Distinguished by both the ‘Mawson’s’ Arms public house which is situated at the brewery’s circumference and a particularly extensive Wisteria vine which presently festoons the exterior wall of Bedford House upon the premises, the ‘Griffin’ is renowned for producing almost 250,000 pints of ‘London Pride’ bitter every day, a speciality supplemented with similarly sizeable quantities of both ‘Chiswick’ and ‘Extra Special’ bitter.
Recorded to cycle it’s beers by taking runs at different gravities whilst turning it’s Hops, the ‘Griffin’ brewery’s production method is, in being dredged from years of experience in the field, perceived to represent a curious combination of ancient tradition and contemporary sterilisation procedure.
Observed to have bought both the West Sussex brewery ‘Dark Star’, an interest which, in having been founded as ‘Pit’s Field’ brewery by Rob Jones and Martin Kemp in 1982, was largely responsible for popularising the usage of New World Hops in brewing during the latter years of the twentieth century and the Hampshire jam producing concern ‘Gale’s’, the ‘Griffin’ brewery was alongside ‘Meantime’ in Greenwich notably recorded to have been sold to the Japanese company ‘Asahi’ in 2016, a managerial body beneath which the ‘Mawson’s’ arms public house situated upon the premises was permanently closed.
For those interested in beer, The ‘Griffin’ brewery is notable for staging excellent organised tours, an instance in which Colin Ford comes highly recommended as a guide, a true beer enthusiast, who really understands brewing. There is also a museum on the site and it is possible to buy vintage ale from the brewery’s shop.
HARMAN’S BREWERY … (discontinued)
Established in 1763 by George Harman, a venture which, in having remained active in the Uxbridge area throughout the eighteenth century, was recorded to have moved to Uxbridge High Street in 1875, ‘Harman’s’ brewery stands as a testament to a North London brewing heritage which effectively no longer exists.
Acquired by the ‘Courage’ company during the mid twentieth century, an interest that closed the brewery in 1964, ‘Harman’s’ brewery, was, during it’s period of operation a fairly extensive concern, producing a substantial quantity of beer for local consumption.
THE JAWBONE BREWERY
Founded in the relatively idyllic environs of what was once an artist’s studio within a boatyard on ‘Swan Island’ in the Thames near Twickenham by Ben Hughes in 2020, the ‘Jawbone’ brewery is, upon being steam heated in the manner that many Victorian breweries once were, occasionally also observed to deliver it’s beers to the mainland by boat.
Founded in Barnes in 2017 by Freddie and George Jeffries, the ‘Jefferson’s’ brewery is, in being located beside the ‘Stag’, one of the most well established breweries in London, itself fairly small, although it’s beers are nonetheless reputed to be fairly good.
Renowned for brewing a good selection of Hog’s Back and Fine Ales, including “Botanic”, “Pagoda Ale” and “Richmond”, which are regularly served at both the ‘Brewery Tap’ in Brentford and the ‘Lamb’ public house in Chiswick, ‘Kew’ brewery, situated in the ‘Botanist’ Public House on Kew Green, is, in it’s distinction, affiliated with the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, an interest which, in preserving a horticultural theme, presently serves as the inspiration behind the popular Young’s beverage ‘Kew Brew’.
Being noted to periodically cease it’s activities before commencing afresh, I am afraid to announce that I remain undecided as to whether or not ‘Kew’ brewery presently remains functional in a commercial sense, although, with regards to this issue, many brewers claim to have collaborated with it through association with their own ventures when it is, itself, not operational.
THE LOFTY TURTLE BREWERY… (discontinued)
Situated along Upper Richmond Road in East Sheen, the ‘Lofty Turtle’ distillery was, when operative, observed to specialise in the production of American style spirits.
Influenced by American culture, the ‘Lofty Turtle’ public house is, irrespective of it’s brewery, notable for possessing both a 1950’s Wurlitzer theatre organ and a traditional black and white film projector which occasionally runs old films upon it’s premises.
THE MACINTOSH BREWERY
Founded in Stamford Brook in 2018 by Charlie Macintosh, after whom the brewery is named, the ‘Macintosh’ brewery is presently fairly small although it’s selection of craft beers are noted to be fairly good.
THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT BREWERY
Founded in 2016 as a brewpub by Paul Nock and Mark Yarnell, ‘The Owl And The Pussycat’ brewery was, three years, noted to have expanded it’s interests to encompass the production of beer on an industrial estate in Brentford, a term beneath which both sites are effectively observed to work in conjunction with each other.
THE PARAKEET CITY BREWERY
Named in homage to the proliferation of green ring necked parakeets which may presently be seen in London, the ‘Parakeet City’ brewery was observed to have been founded in 2020 upon ‘Pitshanger Manor’ in Ealing by two local brewers named Thomas and Martin.
Although presently fairly small, the ‘Parakeet City’ brewery is nonetheless hoping to expand in the near future.
THE PARK BREWERY
Founded in 2014 between Teddington and Kingston by Josh and Frankie Kearns, the Park Brewery is observed to be a small nano-brewery which currently brews a selection of five ales that are presently available at a number of local outlets including “Taylor’s Fine Wines” in Kingston and “Wined Up Here” in ‘Norbiton’, the firm’s drinks also being served at “The Jam Tree” in Clapham, “The Swift” in Putney and “The Copper Kettle” in Surbiton.
THE PERIVALE BREWERY
Founded upon the grounds of ‘Horsenden’ farm in Ealing by Mike Siddell, a brewer who, in having experimented with home brewing upon a narrow boat, using the water upon which the vessel was situated to to cool his equipment, was subsequently observed to have collaborated with both the ‘friends of Horsenden Hill’ and the local council to expand, the ‘Perivale’ brewery is, in being situated in a traditional working farmhouse, presently noted to grow it’s own vegetables, farm it’s own livestock and make it’s own bread.
Possessing a delightfully rural free range atmosphere, the ‘Perivale’ brewery is, owing to it’s location, currently recorded to use both it’s own hops and fruit for brewing beer, an instance in which it’s signature ale ‘Veripale’ is uniquely observed to be made with honey harvested on the estate.
THE PINNORA BREWERY
Established in the Urvale business center in Pinner in 2019 by Gareth and Gawain Cox, the ‘Pinnora’ brewery is recorded to be dedicated to it’s founders’ father’s love of beer.
Noted to be named after the thirteenth century name for Pinner, the ‘Pinnora’ brewery, currently produces a relatively extensive selection of beers which are sold at local outlets .
THE PORTABELLO BREWERY
‘The Portabello’ brewing Company situated upon the Mitre Bridge Industrial Estate behind Wormwood Scrubs prison is, although presently bereft of a tap room, observed to be the largest brewer in the ‘Portabello’ area since the closure of the ‘Whitbread’s’ brewery once located on the Westway
Founded by Rob Jenkins and Iain Masson in 2012, the ‘Portabello’ Brewing Company works in conjunction with the ‘Madness’ brewing company, an interest which, in being, inspired by the popular music group ‘Madness’, currently produces a fine London porter called “Night Boat” and an excellent craft lager named “Gladness”.
Subsequently observed to have collaborated with John Hatch and Derek Prentice who, through association with the revivification of Wandsworth’s Ram brewery, appear pleased to offer their assistance in a number of local ventures, the ‘Portobello’ brewery is, in being situated in an industrial location, unfortunately observed to possess no tap room but it’s beers can nonetheless be bought from a number of national supermarket chains.
THE SIPSMITH GIN DISTILLERY
Located along Cranbrook Road in Chiswick, ‘Sipsmith’ spirits is, in having being founded in 2009, noted to specialise in experimental small batch hand-made spirits, producing a range of Gins with unusual flavors including both ‘Ham and Mustard’ Gin and ‘Orange and Cacao’ Gin.
Employing three traditional German Copper affectionately named ‘Prudence’, ‘Patience’ and ‘Constance’ to create a variety of different spirits, ‘Sipmith’s’ spirits are currently available at Fortnum and Masons alongside being sold in a number of local supermarkets, an instance in which, they may be distinguished by the surreal image of a Swan’s head sprouting from a bottle neck upon shop shelves.
THE STAG BREWERY
Not far from The Griffin lies Watney Combe, Reid’s magnificent ‘Stag’ brewery in Mortlake.
Now leased to the American beer giant ‘Anheuser Busch’ which produces the globally renowned ‘Budweiser’ brand of beer, the ‘Stag’ is notably situated upon a stretch of the Thames which serves as the last phase of Oxford Cambridge boat race, an instance in which the many riverside public houses in the area are debatably the best place to drink it’s beers.
THE TWICKENHAM FINE ALES BREWERY
Located along Mereway road in Twickenham, ‘Twickenham Fine Ales’ was founded in 2004 by Steve Brown.
The first brewery in Twickenham since the closure of ‘Cole’s’ brewery in 1906, ‘Twickenham Fine Ales’ currently makes a number of excellent beverages including ‘Tusk I.P.A’ and ‘Naked Ladies’, a brew peculiarly named after a group of marble statues which stand in a cascade at nearby York House.
Officially the oldest micro-brewery in London, ‘Twickenham Fine Ales’’ beer is presently served at both the ‘White Swan’ in Twickenham and the ‘Druid’s Head’ in Kingston, an instance in which the brewery is also noted to have acquired the ‘Rifleman’ public house in Twickenham as an outlet.
The firm’s ‘Grandstand’ and ‘Sun-Dancer’ labels are, in being popular with the many rugby supporters that are inclined to visit Twickenham rugby stadium during match season, also noted to be available at a number of ‘Marks And Spencer’s’ stores.
THE WIERD BEARD BREWERY
Founded by Gregg Irwin and Bryan Spooner in Hanwell beside the Brent River Park in 2013, the ‘Weird Beard’ brewery was, in rapidly accruing a reputation for producing high quality beers, initially observed to have operated in conjunction with another brewery named ‘Ellenberg’s’, which it ultimately bought.
Currently managed by Bryan Spooner who is recorded to collaborate with the popular ‘Brewdog’ chain of craft pubs, ‘Weird Beard’s’ beer may be recognised on shop shelves with the picture of a skull upon it’s label, an instance in which it’s brand name is observed to pay homage to both the curious volatility of yeast when added to wort and prevalence of facial hair among those that drink beer in public houses, factors which, by theory of cross-association, are inclined to interact with each other.
Currently planning to convert a Volkswagen Type Two Campervan into a mobile bar, the ‘Weird Beard’ brewery is noted to represent an oddly idiosyncratic addition to London’s list of beer producers.
With regards to the topic of West London beer culture in general terms, both the ‘Draft House’ in Hammersmith and the ‘Magpie And Crown’ on Brentford High Street serve a good selection of real ales, as does the ‘Express Tavern’ on Kew bridge, an instance in which also I firmly recommend ‘Fullers’’ new public house “One over the Ait” in Brentford, a great place to drink Camden Hell’s Lager on draft.
The Italian Job founded by ‘Birrificio Del Ducato’ along the Devonshire Road in Chiswick also currently trades in some of the best Italian beers on the market. and, there was apparently also a ‘Workshy’ brewery founded recently in 2021 within the Richmond area.
THE BLACK EAGLE BREWERY, BRICK LANE
EAST LONDON Including…The 40ft Brewery / The ‘58’ Gin Distillery / The Beavertown Brewery / The Beerblefish Brewery / The Bexley Brewery / The Boheme Brewery / The Boxcar Brewery / The Bow East London Liquor Company / The Brick Brewery / Brodie’s Brewery / The Broken drum Brewery / Butler’s Gin Distillery / The Crate Brewery / The Deviant And Dandy Brewery / The Devil’s Botanicals Distillery / The East London Brewing Company / The East Side Brewery / The Enfield Brewery / The Exale Brewery / The Five Points Brewery / The Goodness Brewery / The Gravity Well Brewery / The Greater Good Brewery / The Greywood Brewery / The Hackney Brewery / The Hackney Church Brewery / The Hop Stuff Brewery / The Howling Hops Brewery / The Husk Brewery / The Left Bank Brewery / The Little Faith Brewery / The London Fields Brewery /the Magic Spells Brewery/ The Mammoth Brewery / The Marlix Brewery / The Meantime Brewery / The Mutineers Brewery / The Neckstamper Brewery / The Nirvana Brewer / The Oddly Beer Brewery / the Old Kent Road Brewery / The One Mile End Brewery / The People’s Park Tavern Brewery / The Pillars Brewery / The Pressure Drop Brewery / The Pretty Decent Brewery / The Red Church Brewery / The Redemption Brewery / The Signature Brewery / The Solvay Society / The Tap East Brewery / The Taxi Spirits Distillery / The Truman’s Brewery / The Up The Creek Brewery / The Villages Brewery / Local Area
THE 40 FT BREWERY
Founded in Dalston by the collective efforts of Frederick and Andreas Peterson, Ben Ott and Steve Ryan, the ’40 ft’ brewery is, in it’s distinction, located in a converted shipping container, a predicament to which it is observed to owe it’s name.
Employing horizontal lagering tanks and open fermenters due to the restricted nature of the brewery’s scheme, a number of other containers were, upon the strength of the first, subsequently noted to have been added to the ‘40ft’ brewery’s premises, two of which presently serve as tap rooms from which drinks can be bought.
THE ‘58’ GIN DISTILLERY
Founded by Mark Marmont beneath a railway arch on Hackney Downs the ‘58’ Gin distillery represents something of a purist’s ideal with regards to the production of craft Gin, the brewery being dominated by a copper still situated beneath the concave of a traditional Victorian railway arch, a pretext beneath which it’s cycle is frequently observed to represent a manifestation of London’s soul.
THE BEAVER TOWN BREWERY
‘The Beavertown’ brewery situated in Tottenham Hale was established in 2013 by Logan Plant the son of the ‘Led Zeppelin’ singer Robert Plant.
Notable for staging the ‘Tempus Project’, an experiment to gauge how aging beer in wooden wine barrels, hand built ceramic amphorae and Belgian ‘Foeders’ affects it’s flavor, The ‘Beavertown’ brewery is currently observed to be one of largest additions to London’s catalog of new breweries in recent years and plans to link it’s Tottenham site to that at Ponder’s End with a ferry service within the next few years.
Inspired by Canadian beer, ‘Beavertown brewery’s’ selection of beverages are distinguished upon shop shelves by the image of the pyramid which appears on American dollar bills and were initially served at “The Duke’s Brew” an eighteenth century public house situated in ‘De Beauvoir Town’ a location which, in being frequented by visiting food vendors, is observed to have initially inspired the brewery’s name.
Subsequently extended to encompass breweries upon the premises of an old ‘Edison Swan’ electric light company factory in Ponders End near the Lea Navigations, upon the grounds of the Tottenham Hotspur football stadium and in Tottenham Hale, the ‘Beavertown’ brewery is, in having been partially sold to ‘Heineken’ in 2018, also presently observed to be conducting successful trade with a number of nationwide supermarket chains, and can currently be seen on shop shelves virtually everywhere in London.
THE BEERBLEFISH BREWERY
Originally formed in collaboration with a cuckoo brewer named ‘Tankleys’, ‘Beerblefish’ , began trading with a brew house constructed from an old Grundy tanks by the collective efforts of James Atherton and Glen Heinzel.
Observed to be devoted towards the employment of retired ex forces personnel, ‘Beerblefish’ is, in it’s distinction, noted to be named after a character from the popular ‘Douglas Adams’ book ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy’.
Once the location of ‘Refell’s’ brewery, a small privately owned venture established in 1876 by the local vintner Henry Refell, Bexley has, throughout the last fifty years, perhaps been one of the least productive of London’s beer making districts.
However, this forecast changed with the foundation of ‘Bexley’ brewery in the area, a project opened in 2014 upon Erith’s ‘Manford’ Industrial Estate near the Crayford Marshes by the husband and wife team Cliff and Jane Murphy.
Distinguished by the image of a green ring necked parakeet upon supermarket shelves, ‘Bexley’ brewery’s range of beverages arre observed to have featured a number of intriguing craft beers within it’s catalogue, including a fine Golden ale named after Bexley’s village green, a brew known as “Red House” after the residence of the celebrated textile designer, ‘William Morris’, a rich dark beer called ‘Black Prince Porter’ and a brew known as “B.O.B” which serves as an acronym for Bexley’s own beer.
For those interested in Kentish ales and more specifically the Victorian wayfaring of ‘William Morris’, then ‘Bexley’ Brewery comes highly recommended, the firm’s selection of beers being both distributed locally and sold in-house at the brewery.
THE BOHEM BREWERY
Founded in Tottenham by ‘Peter Scocek’ and ‘Zdenek Kudr’ from the brewing district of ‘Pizen’ in Czechoslovakia, The ‘Bohem’ brewery is presently observed to produce a fine range of traditional Czechoslovakian beers
Latterly accompanied by ‘Mataj Knzek’ from the ‘Brevnov’ monastery in Prague, the ‘Bohem’ brewery is noted to incorporate a number of features unique to Eastern European brewing into the production of it’s beer including a grist mill for grinding malt.
THE BOXCAR BREWERY
Founded by beneath a pair of railway arches near Bethnal Green, the ‘Boxcar’ Brewery is, through collaboration with Sam Dickinson, presently noted to trade in a selection of traditional East London beers.
BOW EAST LONDON LIQUOR COMPANY
Situated in former glue factory on bull Wharf, the ‘Bow East London Liquor Company’ is, through collaboration with ‘’Kew’ brewery, recorded to distill it’s own spirits with Holstein copper stills, an instance in which it is also notable for selling exceptionally fine imported Jamaican Rum that are observed to be sold at both the Borough Market and in Mile End.
THE BRICK BREWERY
Founded beneath an arch in Blenheim Grove near Peckham Rye station by a man named Ian Stewart, ‘The Brick Brewery’ was noted to have moved in 2018 to a site by the Grand Surrey Canal in Deptford.
Employing a Chinese built brewhouse to produce beer, ‘The Brick Brewery’, is noted to donate to local charities supporting people with learning disabilities and has succeeded in achieving a degree of local renown for it’s home made Elderberry and Almond Sours which are rumored to taste like desserts in a glass alongside serving a fairly wide selection of foods at it’s bar.
BRODIE’S BREWERY… (discontinued)
Brodie’s brewery established in 2008 by siblings, Jamie and Lizzy Brodie upon the grounds of an old abandoned brew house along Leyton High Road was, when operational witnessed to produce an excellent range of beers which were available at the family’s ‘King William The Fourth Public House’ on Leyton High Road.
Although a relatively small venture ‘Brodie’s’ sour beers were, in being phenomenally poignant, considered by some to be amongst the best in London, however the brewery was, despite the quality of it’s ale, noted to have experienced financial difficulties in 2016 and was forced to close
THE BROKEN DRUM BREWERY
Founded upon the premises of a former nail bar Black Fen near the Erith marshes in 2015 by Andy Wheeler, the ‘Broken Drum’ brewery is observed to be named in homage to the geography of the fictional world of ‘Ankh Morpok’ described in ‘Terry Pratchett’s’ series of books and currently produces a fine selection of beers.
Located in the Broadway Market, ‘Butler’s’ Gin was reputed to have been conceived aboard a speed boat moored in Hackney by the company founder Ross William Butler.
Specialising in the production of traditional Victorian tea infused Gin, ‘Butler’s spirits can currently be sampled at the Last on Clapham High Street among other places.
THE CRATE BREWERY
Within the vicinity of the ‘People’s Park’ tavern lies the ‘Crate Brewery’ an interest situated at the top end of Victoria Park in an old canal side print factory called the White Building.
Associated with ‘ Silo’ a zero waste restaurant which presently serves excellent stone baked pizzas upon it’s premises, the ‘Crate’s’ riverside location in the shadow of ‘Westham United Football’ stadium is notably observed to be neighbored by the brewery’s own boat, a vessel which, in being named ‘The Alfred Le Roy’ presently serves as cocktail bar, a feature which, in being observed to exploit the brewery’s canal side location, also extends to encompass the hiring of kayaks for afternoon boating expeditions.
THE DEVIANT AND DANDY BREWERY
Founded within a garage in 2018 by United States exile Byron Knight and local brewer Rupert Selby, individuals who are respectively noted to represent the Deviant and the Dandy described in the brewery’s brand identity, ‘Deviant and Dandy’ was subsequently observed to have expanded it’s interests, installing a Chinese built brewhouse into a railway arch on Wandsworth Road, a location in which it is presently observed to produce a fine selection of beer.
THE DEVIL’S BOTANICALS DISTILLERY
Established fairly recently by the river Lea in East London, the ‘Devil’s Botanicals’ distillery is, in preserving the distinction of being the first Absinthe producer ever founded in the capital, noted to refer back to the spice shops of the ‘curious apothecaries’ of eighteenth century for it’s inspiration, a pretext beneath which, in perceiving those that made Absinthe to have been ‘friends of the Devil’ during the era to which such texts ascribed, the distillery is observed to derive it’s name.
Using a Swiss recipe for ‘Extrait D’Absinthe’ as it’s model, a drink which, in having been served as an Aperitif in the Swiss municipality of ‘Val De Travers’ where Absinthe was traditionally made during the Georgian era, the ‘Devil’s Botanicals’ Distillery, manages to produce a surprisingly faithful interpretation of the drink, a distinctively aromatic spirit which, in ascribing to the practice of ‘louching’ or dilution in water to change it’s color from green to white, does not, as the old conventions which ascribe to such things would suppose, need to be infused with a burning sugar cube to effect it’s miracle.
The explanation for this strange transformation being, in the instance of ‘Devil’s Botanical’s’ absinthe, that an active chemical called ‘Anethole’ within the drink’s constituency is observed to remain dilute in alcohol but not in water, a property which, in changing color when rinsed, infers that Swiss Absinthe was devised to be a cordial rather than a form of Hot Toddy as legends pertaining to the usage of perforated silver spoons through association with the consumption of the drink would appear to suggest.
THE EAST LONDON BREWING COMPANY
‘The East London Brewing Company’ established in 2011 on the Fairways Business centre Lammas Road near the Lea Bridge railway station is presently perceived to be a small family brewer run by both a research chemist named ‘Sid Lascelles’ and his wife.
Assisted by The real Ale Appreciation organisation “Camra” and the local micro-brewing community, the ‘East London Brewing Company’ is currently noted to maintain a fairly extensive distribution network, selling beer to about 150 public houses around the capital.
THE EAST SIDE BREWERY
Founded on an industrial estate in Romford in 2021 by Thomas Newman and an Indian brewer named Raj Singh Mahal, the ‘East Side’ brewery, is in being situated close to where Frederick Ind’s old Star brewery was once located, presently producing a fine selection of beers including some good traditionally inspired India Pale Ales.
THE ENFIELD BREWERY
Founded in 2015 by Rahul Mulchandani, the ‘Enfield’ brewery is, in being sourced from it’s own well, observed to produce a cloudy beer which contains much of the mineral content of the area’s water system, a pretext beneath which the brewery’s beers are noted to be both filtered and treated with ultraviolet light to insure their sterility.
THE EXALE BREWERY
Founded in 2019 as Hale brewing in Walthamstow by Daniel Vane, the ‘Exale’ brewery is, in being observed to brew a selection of unusually flavored ales also recorded to turn it’s waste beer into vinegar and soap.
Although presently perceived to be quite small, the ‘Exale’ brewery is noted to both cuckoo brew for other breweries and perform apprenticeships.
THE FIVE POINTS BREWERY
The ‘Five Points’ brewery founded by Edward Mason of ‘Mason and Taylor’ at institute Place in Hackney is, in being named after a five way road junction situated near it’s premises, effectively observed to be a traditional Mare Street brewhouse which incorporates old world techniques to brew beer.
Harking back to the preference for organic beer over that containing artificial additives which was witnessed to have been espoused by drinkers in the nineteen sixties through association with the usage of chemical foaming agents to increase the gravity of beer following the German oriented production methodology of the Victorian era, the ‘Five Points’ brewery, is like ‘Newcastle’ Brown Ale, effectively perceived to be a proponent of the current taste for stable organic produce, a preference which, in being signified by both the fragmentary nature of most of London’s brewing industry and many of Britain’s country pubs, presently serves to distinguish what may appear to be the rather ambivalent apparel of much late twentieth century trade.
Noted to specialise in a wide selection of traditional unfiltered unpasteurised beers, including both Pilsners and Belgian Session Ales, an instance in which it’s Railway Porter is considered by some to be among one of the finest example of it’s type in London, the ‘Five Points’ brewery was, in having once owned the ‘Pembury Tavern’ in Shoreditch, subsequently observed to have developed it’s tap room to similar effect serving beers on site.
Currently one of London’s largest independent craft brewers, the premises upon which the ‘Five Points’ brewery is situated are, in being blessed with a large amount of space at their rear, also presently noted to host tours for those interested in the trade.
THE GOODNESS BREWERY
Initially founded in a repurposed chocolate factory Haringey in 2016 by Damien Legg, Mike Stirling, Zack Ayman, Joe Sheasgreen and Oliver Newberry, the ‘Goodness’ brewery was subsequently observed to have moved to an industrial unit in Clarion Yards.
Blessed with a yard which is distinguished by both a banana tree and a phalanx of canopy heaters within it’s confines, the ‘Goodness’ brewery is, in being witnessed to espouse a positive attitude upon it’s label, presently noted to serve a fairly good selection of beers.
THE GRAVITY WELL BREWERY
Founded in Leyton by Ben Duck who was observed to have spent some time perfecting a selection of recipes for his beer , the ‘Gravity Well’ brewery was subsequently noted to have moved to an arch beneath a railway line near Gospel Oak, a location in which it is presently witnessed to produce a relatively extensive selection of home made craft ales.
THE GREATER GOOD BREWERY
Founded in Waltham Forest in 2020 by the former music pioneers Ralph Broadbent and Alex Dixon, the ‘Greater Good’ brewery is noted to use a rather neat home brewing gadget called a ‘Pinter’ to produce it’s beer, a device which, in having taken seven years to develop, was recorded to have been invented by ‘Evangelos Tsionos’ of Camden breweries.
Being observed to brew it’s beer by employing a ‘Pinter’ to dissolve a pressed concentrate which, in being only a few inches in diameter, can be delivered by mail in cold water, the ‘Greater Good’ Brewery, is through association with ‘Evangelos Tsionos’’ ingenious contraption, noted to be both space efficient and ecologically friendly.
THE GREYWOOD BREWERY
Founded in Haringey in 2020 by a beer lover named Adam Strong, the ‘Greywood’ brewery is currently observed to sell a fairly wide selection of beers on the Haringey ladder leading out towards Kent.
Founded on Laburnham street under the Kingswood viaduct along Black Horse Lane in 2012 by Peter Hills and John Swain ‘The Hackney Brewery’ was, in having undergone an expansion in 2015, subsequently observed to have moved to an industrial site in Walthamstow, thereby representing something of a misnomer, although the beers are apparently quite good.
THE HACKNEY CHURCH BREWERY
Founded in 2018 beneath two railway arches in Hackney’s brewery run by Bryan Robbins, ‘The Hackney Church’ Brewery is, in being christened in homage to ‘St. John’s’ Church in the area, observed to support a number of local charities, assisting the homeless and offering apprenticeships for those needing to find work.
Presently situated in a Victorian industrial building which, in being blessed with a wooden beamed roof, is perceived to resemble a church, the ‘Hackney Church’ brewery retains an element of charm that, in attracting a strong following of students at weekends, is currently witnessed to be conducive to social drinking.
THE HOP STUFF BREWERY… (discontinued)
Recorded to have been founded by a man named Jamie Yeomans in Woolwich, the ‘Hop Stuff’ brewery was, when operational, observed to have been situated close to the grounds of the North London Football Club near the Royal Arsenal.
Located in an old ordinance storage depot and munitions works upon Gunnery Terrace by ‘Wennington Park’, the grounds of the Hop Stuff brewery, were, in being associated with the explosive industry, once occupied by the Royal Regiment of Artillery, a pretext which the brewery was noted to emblazon it’s labels with the image of a Napoleonic cannon.
THE HOWLING HOPS BREWERY
Operating in conjunction with both the ‘Partizan’ and ‘Kernel’ breweries in Bermondsey, the ‘Howling Hops’ brewery was recorded to have been founded along Mare Street in Hackney in 2012 by Peter Holt.
Distinguished by the picture of a Wolf printed upon it’s bottles, a design inspired by the Latin name for the Hop Plant “Humulus Lupulus” or Wet Wolf, the tanks in ‘Howling Hops’ tap room are unusually connected directly to it’s taps, an instance in which flagons of ale can be purchased across the bar.
Beneath the management of Ed Taylor and supervision of Tim O’Rourke ‘Howling Hops’ is currently recorded to sell a fairly extensive selection of 100 beers, a selection which it is correspondingly noted to sell at the ‘Cock Tavern’, a traditional London public house in Hackney among a number of other local outlets.
THE HUSK BREWERY
Founded in a railway viaduct near the Royal Dockyard in Silvertown in 2016 by the South African brewer Chris Van Der Vyver, the ‘Husk’ brewery is noted to use barley to brew it’s beer and presently produces a fine range of unusually flavored ales.
THE LEFT BANK BREWERY… (discontinued)
Named after it’s location East of the River Lea, the ‘Left Bank’ brewery established in 2014 at the Blackhorse workshop in Walthamstow was, when operational, notable for using a “fermentarium” to produce craft beer.
Subsequently observed to have moved to a site neighboring the ‘Doluacothi’ gold mines amidst the Brecon Beacons in 2018, the ‘Left Bank’ brewery, no longer brews in the capital.
THE LITTLE FAITH BREWERY
Founded in a Pentecostal Church near Deptford Creek in 2016, by two brewers named Alex and Harry, the ‘Little Faith’ brewery is, in retaining the religious theme inferred by it’s location, observed rather contritely to sell it’s beers from a bar constructed from a shipping container.
Possessing a 1 A.M licence which in permiting extended drinking hours at weekends, serves as a pretext beneath which it stages live music venues, the ‘Little Faith’ brewery is, in doubling as a club, also recorded to serve both Indian street food and sourdough pastries upon it’s premises
THE LONDON FIELDS BREWERY…(discontinued)
Founded between London Fields and Mare Street following the London riots of 2011 by both ‘Ian Burges’ and the convicted Cocaine smuggler ‘Julian De Vere Whiteway Wilkinson’, a pretext beneath which it was, in possessing a tap room that sold both rice lager and Belgian beer, noted to have been barricaded by the police, the ‘London Fields’ brewery, was, when operational, noted to have collaborated with a host of entertainment companies including a number of film production studios during it’s period of activity
Subsequently extending province to Lincolnshire and Sussex where it became associated with ‘Jules Whiteway Wilkinson’s’ trial for tax evasion through association with deficits which were observed to have arisen in a parole repayment scheme, the ‘London Fields’ brewery was, in 2017, noted to have gone into receivership, being bought by the ‘Carlsberg Marstons’ group and permanently closed in 2021.
THE MAGIC SPELLS BREWERY
Founded in Epping in 2017 as ‘Hare’s Wines’ by Jas Hare, the ‘Magic Spells’ brewery was subsequently noted to have moved to larger premises in Leyton, a pretext beneath which, in featuring at local ‘brewers for the day’ events, it is presently observed to sell it’s beers at the ‘Red Fox’ public house in Coggleshall among other places.
THE MAMMOTH BREWERY
Founded in 2021 in Hackney Wick by ‘Mark Pether’, the ‘Mammoth’ brewery was, in being partially responsible for finding ‘The Crate’ brewery it’s present premises near Hackney Bridge, noted to have forged a collaboration with the music entrepreneur ‘Vikram Gudi’ who is recorded to stage live venues in the Hackney area.
THE MARLIX BREWERY
Christened in homage to Mark Irwin and Alex Mears, two brewers who, in having shared an interest in beer with each other since 1975,were recorded to have founded the ‘Marlix’ brewery in Pett’s Wood in 2020.
Presently producing a fairly wide range of ales that are, in their distinction, noted to be named in homage to a number of popular 1980’s television series including the alternative comedy ‘The Young Ones’ which was noted to have achieved renown for espousing a generally irreverent attitude towards humor during it’s broadcasting run, the ‘Marlix’ brewery is, in remaining fairly small, effectively observed to reflect it’s founders love of both beer and pub culture.
THE MEANTIME BREWERY
The ‘Meantime’ brewing company situated on the Lawrence trading Estate ‘Blackwall Lane’ was, in being recorded to be the largest and most expensive brewery built in London for eighty years at the time of it’s foundation, recorded to have been established in 2000 by the German trained brewer Alastair Hook.
Observed, upon inspection, to be a comparatively vast undertaking, the ownership of the ‘Black Wall Lane’ brewery is, in effect, witnessed to make ‘Meantime’ the second largest beer producer in the capital, a distinction through it is, in possessing both a walk in beer fridge and a retinue of tasting rooms, also noted to house a small museum containing the eminent beer writer ‘Michael Jackson’s’ extensive collection of European serving glasses, noted to be both a little smaller than Fullers ‘Griffin’ brewery in Chiswick and slightly larger than Jasper Cuppaidge’s ‘Camden’ brewery in North London.
Being located just East of the Greenwich Meridien, the ‘Meantime’ brewery was, in paying homage to Greenwich Meantime, (a nautical term derived from the practise of using an astronomer’s sextant at different times of night to estimate one’s location when at sea), temporarily, observed to have owned the old brewhouse of the Royal Naval College in the National Maritime Museum, a pretext beneath which it was noted to have sold beer at the ‘Greenwich Union’ Public House on Royal Hill.
Recorded to have been sold to ‘S.A.B. Miller’ in 2015, a company which, in itself ceding to ‘Anheuser Busch’ who, in turn, conferred it’s ownership to ‘Asahi’, the ‘Meantime’ brewery is presently witnessed to have been placed beneath the same management as Fuller’s ‘Griffin’ brewery in Chiswick, an instance in which it’s historic premises in the National Maritime museum were, in 2016, noted to have been acquired by ‘Young’s’ and fallen out of usage.
Easily distinguished upon Supermarket shelves, the ‘Meantime’ brewery, is currently one of the foremost suppliers of beer for the Sainsbury’s ‘Taste The Difference’ range of beverages, an instance in which, the firm’s I.P.A and Coffee Porter are recorded to be amongst the most historically accurate representations of such drinks presently available on the market, the company also being observed to specialise in the preparation of bar food with a branch of ‘Mash and Air’ restaurants in Manchester.
MELLOR’S BREWING COMPANY
Founded in 2021 by Josh Mellor on the ‘Haringey Ladder’ a term applied to what was once the ‘Old Kent Road’ which stretches out towards the Hop gardens of rural England, ‘Mellor’s Brewing Company’ was temporarily observed to have moved to Suffolk before returning to London and establishing premium in Deptford.
Noted to use a variety of distinctive recipes for it’s beer, ‘Mellor’s Brewing Company’ is presently noted to sell beer to a number of traditionally rural outlets including the ‘Stroud Green’ farmer’s market.
THE MUTINEERS BREWERY
Founded in 2018 by Rob Vote, Gareth Bathers, Lee Hayes and Joe Miles, the ‘Mutineers’ brewery was observed to have been inspired by ‘an experience’ day at ‘London Fields’ and presently produces a fine range of beers.
THE NECK STAMPER BREWERY
Founded in Leyton in 2017 by a former formula one racing car engineer called Adam Jeffries, the ‘Neck Stamper’ brewery is noted to derive it’s name from the eighteenth century term for pot boys who delivered beer to private estates, a mode of expression which it also employs to describe the various types of ale in it’s range.
THE NIRVANA BREWERY
Founded in Leyton in 2017 by Steve Dass and Becky Kean the ‘Nirvana’ brewery specialises in low strength beers which, although traditionally made, are brewed with reduced amounts of malt at moderate mash temperatures to limit their alcohol content.
THE ODDLY BEER BREWERY
Founded through collaboration with the ‘Tiny Vessels Brewery’ upon the relatively idyllic shores of ‘Platt’s ait’ in Hampton by Brian Watson in 2017, ‘Oddly Beer’ was, after having countenanced difficulties with regards to the transportation of beer over the ait’s narrow footbridge, unfortunately noted to have moved in 2019 to a trading estate in Tottenham.
Currently recorded to be operating at a reduced capacity, ‘Oddly Beer’ is nonetheless still observed to sell a range of experimental beers to specific clients and bottle clubs.
THE OLD KENT ROAD BREWERY
Founded in Peckham in 2016 by Will O’Neale and and David Clack, the ‘Old Kent Road’ brewery is noted to have been inspired by both brewers’ fascination with the history of the ‘Old Kent Road’, a concourse which, in once having been used as a trade route into London by Kentish hop farmers, is noted to have been intimately associated with the capital’s brewing heritage since the medieval era.
Recorded to have collaborated with ‘U Brew’ in Bermondsey, the ‘Old Kent Road’ brewery is, in preserving it’s historical pretext, presently observed to sell a fairly good selection of beers.
THE OLD STREET HACKNEY BREWERY
Founded in the bathroom of a flat on Old Street in Hackney by an American ex patriot named Adam who, in having been impressed by the range of beers available whilst touring America, was compelled to perform an investigation into why some of the beers that he tried were good and others bad, a process through which, with the assistance of a laboratory provided by a Finnish man named Andreas, the ‘Old Street Hackney’ brewery was ultimately founded.
Initially noted to have sold beer to the ‘Queen’s Head’ public house in King’s Cross, the ‘Old Street Hackney’ brewery was, in collaborating with an artist named Matty McMullen further observed to moved to Bethnal green in 2018, before expanding to encompass it’s present premises in Hackney Wick in 2021.
Currently producing a fairly wide selection of ales including ‘Comic Book Beer’, ‘Hypotenjuice’, ‘Vlad the I.P.Aler’ and ‘Herculade’ sports beer, each of which may be distinguished upon shop shelves by ‘Matty McMullen’ artwork, the ‘Old Street Brewery Hackney’, is, in paying homage to Hackney’s brewing tradition, paradoxically noted to be a relatively recent addition to the catalog of breweries which presently operate in the capital.
THE ONE MILE END BREWERY
Recorded to have been founded by a collaboration between a former musician named Simon McCabe and Hackney’s ‘Redemption’ brewery, the ‘One Mile End’ Brewery was, in initially having been situated upon the premises of the ‘White Hart’ public house in Whitechapel, a building which, through association with ‘Charrington’s’ was once noted to have been second largest brewery in London, ostensibly perceived to serve as a retainer for the East end brewing tradition to which the tavern once ascribed, an instance in which the brewery’s name was, in it’s distinction, noted to pay homage to it’s street address.
However, in being observed to have been re-assigned to a winery in Finland before work at the ‘White Hart’ commenced, Simon McCabe’s proposition proved to be inconclusive, and the brewing facilities which he had installed upon the pub’s premises remained unused, the brewery’s subsequent output instead being derived from a separate site in Tottenham.
THE PEOPLE’S PARK TAVERN BREWERY
Originally being observed to have operated in correspondence with Gavin George’s ‘Inn Brighton’ pub chain, the ‘People’s Park’ tavern situated upon the edge of Victoria Park in Homerton is presently recorded to be run by Sam Dickinson on behalf of ‘Laine’s’ brewery, a small independent venture which following the closure of the ‘Aeronaut’ in Acton, is also noted to have other branches in both Hackney and Brighton.
Situated in a large public house with a surprisingly extensive garden which, in selling ‘People’s pints’ alongside a host of experimental and extreme beers is dedicated to the communal pretext beneath which alcohol is both brewed and drunk, the ‘People’s Park’ tavern’ is also noted to have collaborated with the ‘Hepworth’ brewery in Sussex, an interest with which it presently continues to brew beer.
THE PILLARS BREWERY
Originally founded in a garden shed in Walthamstow by 2016 by Eamonn Samine, Tomar Razaq and Gavin Litton, the ‘Pillars’ brewery was, in occupying a disused car body shop on a local industrial estate, a building which, in being noted to have been distinctively decorated with a large mural of an eye, subsequently observed to have substantially expanded it’s interests, a pretext beneath which, in pledging adherence to the standards laid down by most modern Bavarian breweries, it is currently witnessed to produce a fine selection of German lagers.
THE PRESSURE DROP BREWERY
Founded in 2013 in a garden shed by Graham O’Brien, Sam Smith and Ben Freeman, the ‘Pressure Drop’ brewery was, through collaboration with Cornwall’s ‘Verdant’ brewing company, subsequently noted to have increased considerably in size, occupying a site beneath the railway arches of Bohemia place in Hackney before moving to far larger premises in Tottenham Hale in 2017, an instance in which the brewery’s previous base of operations in Bohemia Place were noted to have remained in use as an experimental bar.
THE PRETTY DECENT BREWERY
Founded by James Casey in an arch beneath the Gospel Oak train line in Forest Gate in 2017, the ‘Pretty Decent’ brewery is, in it’s distinction, noted to donate money to the ‘pump aid’ charity for clean water in Sub Saharan Africa.
THE RED CHURCH BREWERY
The ‘Red Church’ brewery situated beneath a parade of railway arches on ‘Poyser Street’ by Bethnal Green was founded in 2011 by ex-solicitor Gary Ward, a project which, in expanding from a small home based brewery, was noted to have moved to it’s current location in 2012.
Specialising in unpasteurised, unfiltered beers, The ‘Red Church’ Brewery currently brewery produces a fine selection of ales which are available from local outlets.
THE REDEMPTION BREWERY
The ‘Redemption’ brewery was established in 2013 on the Compass West Estate in Tottenham by ‘Andy Moffat’, and represents one of the first of the many new wave craft brewers that are presently noted to be establishing premium the the Tottenham area
Subsequently modified by Dan Smith, the ‘Redemption’ brewery’s taproom is, although known to attract a relatively rough crowd into it’s midst , currently producing a fine selection of session strength cask ales using both it’s own yeast culture and water extracted locally from the Lea valley, an instance in which it’s beers may be distinguished upon shop shelves with a six pointed star, a motif that, (in distinction that which appears upon bottles of ‘Newcastle’ Brown ale), is reputed to have been used by the London Brewer’s guild during the fourteenth century.
THE SIGNATURE BREWERY
Founded in 2013 in Walthamstow by a pair of music lovers named Tom butt and Sam McGregor, the ‘Signature’ brewery is, in wishing to challenge the respective hegemonies that apply to both music and brewing by breaking down the market barriers that apply to both trades, observed to brew special edition beers for live music events.
Subsequently recorded to have expanded it’s premises to encompass a site on Blackhorse Lane also in Walthamstow, the ‘Signature’ brewery ‘s tap room is, in it’s distinction, noted to possess a burger bar.
THE SOLVAY SOCIETY
Founded in 2014 by Roman Hochuli and J.P. Hussy along Higham Hill Road in Walthamstow, the ‘Solvay Society’ is largely devoted to the formulation of traditional Belgian brewing styles.
Named after the ‘Solvay Debate Society’, a Belgian discussion group which proposes to confront modern youth issues, the ‘Solvay Society’ of London is paradoxically primarily concerned with the making of beer, being intent upon the re-creation of late nineteenth century Belgian session beers and lagers.
Noted to have moved to a pastoral location upon the grounds of the ‘Ha’penny’ public house in Aldborough Hatch in 2016, a location which, in being cold, was subsequently deferred in favor of a railway arch in Leyton, the ‘Solvay Society’ is noted to possess a small brewery located in the Cellar of the ‘Hops And Glory’ Public House along the Essex Road, and currently operates in conjunction with Earl’s Brewery of Islington to produce a fine beverage called “Single Barrel Tripel Rye”.
THE TAP EAST BREWERY
Located opposite Stratford International Station along Montfichet Road, “Utobeer” or “Tap East” is notably situated in the area depicted by the popular B.B.C television drama “East Enders”.
Founded by ‘Richard Dinwoodie’ and ‘Mike Hill’ in 2011 after the sale of the Cumbrian “Bitter End” Brewery, in efforts to create a brewpub near Stratford’s Olympic park, “Utobeer”, currently also trades at the Borough Market in Southwark, a location in which it’s beers may be purchased from “The Rake” Public House.
THE TAXI SPIRITS DISTILLERY
Founded in Mile End in 2018 with the creation of ‘Cabby’s’ White Rum following a prolonged experiment with Juniper twigs by an ex cab driver named Moses Ordong who, through collaboration with a man named Abisheck Banik and a woman called Bianca Whiskey, was ultimately observed to have deferred gin in favor of the time honored staple of traditional naval Rum, the ‘Taxi Spirits’ distillery pays homage to the Hackney carriage, a variety of wooden cab drawn by a breed of horse known as a ‘Hacquenee’ that, in having once been considered indigenous to the capital’s East end, is of significance with regards to the medieval etymology of Hackney’s name.
Presently located at the center of what was once the hub of the East London brewing industry, the ‘Taxi Spirits’ distillery selection of drinks is, through association with the conveyance of people around London’s East end, currently available in a number of liquor outlets both in and around the Hackney area, an instance in which it’s White Rum is reputed to be fairly good.
Founded in 2013 in ‘the eyrie’ on ‘Fish’ Island in Hackney Wick by by James Moran and Michael George Hemus, a pair of brewers who, in being dedicated to reviving the ‘Truman’s’ brand name after the great brewery’s closure in 1989, managed to persuade the ‘Hieneken’ company to grant them usage of the ‘Truman’s’ logo beneath which to produce beer.
Subsequently forced to move from ‘Fish’ Island, the new incarnation of ‘Truman’s’ was observed to have temporarily taken over the ‘Crate’ brewery in Hackney before moving to fresh premises on ‘Blackhorse Lane’ in Walthamstow, a location from which it is presently observed to brew beer for the ‘Newman’s Arms’ in Fitzrovia using an original ‘Truman’s’ yeast strain.
THE UP THE CREEK BREWERY
Founded in 2018 in Greenwich upon the premises of a church hall which was, during the 1990’s, noted to house of a comedy club founded by a local comedian named Malcom Hardee, the ‘Up The Creek’ Brewery, is, although small, presently noted to produce a number of interesting ales.
Founded in 2016 beneath two railway arches in Deptford by siblings Archie and Denis Village, the ‘Villages’ brewery is, though relatively small, reputed to produce fairly good beer.
Situated in an area where a number of railway arches have been turned into shops selling traditional market foods such as French cheese, Iberico ham and Belgian beer, the ‘Villages’ brewery, is in contrast to the raw functionality of many other beer producing arches in London, observed to be quite well finished in the manner of a conventional high street outlet.
THE WENLOCK BREWERY (BLOCK BREWERY)
Established in 1836 by the Lane and Bowden firm, the ‘Wenlock’ brewery near the Wenlock Basin on the Regent’s canal, was recorded to have been managed between 1840 and 1873 by John Lane, a proprietorship beneath it earned renown for producing fine cask ale.
Associated with the brewing traffic which distinguished the Lee Navigations throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the ‘Wenlock’ Brewery unfortunately no longer exists, being replaced by a cornucopia of small craft breweries in and around the Hackney area although, in recently having been refurbished with beer making facilities by the ‘Block’ brewery , the ‘Wenlock Arms ‘public house is, in currently brewing craft beer, observed to remain standing upon approximately the same site that the establishment’s original brewery once occupied.
THE WILD CARD BREWERY
Founded in Walthamstow in 2014 by hobbyists ‘William John Harris’, ‘Andrew Birkby’ on ‘Shernhall’ Street in Walthamstow, the ‘Wild Card’ brewery was initially recorded to be “a Cuckoo brewery”, a term beneath which it ostensibly produced beer upon other company’s premises.
Latterly accompanied by ‘Jeaga Wise’ who was observed to have earned recognition among local brewing circles for both her extensive knowledge of beer and her campaigns for diversity within brewing, the ‘Wild Card’ brewery is noted to label it’s selection of beers in homage to the various suites which appear in traditional decks of playing cards.
Subsequently extending compass to the ‘Warrant Officer’ public house on Higham hill, a pub which it was later noted to have both bought and re-named the ‘Tavern on the Hill’, the ‘Wild Card’ brewery was observed to have moved temporarily to the ‘Ravenwood’ industrial estate near Walthamstow village, before settling along ‘Blackhorse’ lane by Walthamstow’s wetlands.
THE ZERO DEGREES BREWERY
Situated along Montpelier Vale near Blackheath The ‘Zero Degrees’ brewery is, (like the ‘Meantime’ brewery) observed to be named in homage to Greenwich’s naval tradition, an instance in which it is observed to be located upon the prime Greenwich meridian.
Having been founded in 2000, the ‘Zero Degrees’ brewery is presently noted to be both the oldest independent brewer and longest serving independent brewpub in London, a premium beneath which it is observed to have founded branches in Cardiff, Bristol and Reading.
Devoted to bringing hand crafted beer to the people, the ‘Zero Degrees’ brewery hosts Jazz evenings in which Italian food is served and, in using activated charcoal to filter it’s ale, observed to employ polythene covered maturation tanks with which to serve it in house beneath air pressure, the brewery also selling five litre mini-kegs of ale to those interested in sampling it’s ware off site.
15… BEER INDEX
THE STAG, MORTLAKE
To conclude brewery Lanes I had decided to include a list of the many beers produced both in London and Europe during the era placed beneath question in efforts to present some estimation as to the amount of creative energy invested in the drink’s formulation.
AMBER KEEPING BEER…
(Light or Pale Ale, Belgian amber ale, India Pale Ale, Hop Attenuated Ale, American Pale Ale)…. Amber keeping beer is essentially a beer made from amber malt which is matured for between nine and twelve months.
Undoubtedly the most famous Amber keeping beer is India Pale Ale, a beverage initially conceived to withstand long distance sea voyages.
Despite the application of the term wine to such beverages, Barley Wine is actually an extra strong ale however the preparation is of such potency that the brew is instead referred to as a wine.
(Ein Rotes, Ein Grunes, Mitt Schuss) A sour wheat beer which, in having been brewed since the medieval era, is presently observed to be made solitarily in Berlin
BIERE DE GARDE…
Composed purely of malt, ‘Biere De garde’ is, in it’s distinction, brewed for eight weeks, it’s name being derived from the brewing tradition of Picardy in Northern France.
(Best bitter, Premium Bitter, Altbier)…A popular well hopped drink which gravitates in strength through “Best” to “Premium” bitter, that has become something of a staple in most London pubs, “Altbier” being a German variety of bitter.
(Summer Ale)… A light bitter.
A heavily seasoned German beer which when translated into English means “Billy Goat”. Also called Dunkler Bock, Maibock, Doppelbock, Tripelbock or Urbock in denotation of it’s strength, Bock is occasionally frozen during fermentation to make Eisenbock, a stronger brew similar to lager. The Erdinger company of Germany are, in this instance, also known to make Weizenbock, a beverage which, in tasting like a dry wheat beer, stands in distinction to most other Bocks possessing a markedly different flavor.
A North African malt drink which, in being similar to those of ancient Persia, is observed to possess a thick milky consistency and a slightly acidic sweet flavor.
(Old Ale, Oud Bruin, Flemish Red, Nut brown ale, Winter or Christmas Beer)
A strong dark brown beverage, sometimes called Winter Warmer, Barley Wine, ‘Stingo’ or ‘Spingo’ which is made from a combination of wild and cultivated yeasts. Although technically also a Brown Ale “Flemish Red” is, in possessing a red coloration, sourer than most other varieties of the beer.
A Cask conditioned beer contained within a wooden barrel or butt.
A primitive Brazilian tribal drink which, like Japanese ‘Sakhi’, is observed to be made from pre-chewed vegetable matter left to ferment with water in a pot, an instance in which ‘Cauim’ is noted to be made from the root of the Manioc plant rather than rice.
(Biere Brut, Bosteel)… A traditional beer brewed using secondary fermentation generally beneath labour intensive conditions.
A traditional Tibetan beer made by pouring boiling water through a bamboo cane containing fermenting millet, rice or barley into a pot which, in being with plied with an amount of additional yeast, is left alone for about ten days.
(Adambier)…A clean malty beer brewed in the Dortmund region of Germany, Adambier being a very strong top fermented nineteenth century ale which was also brewed in the Dortmund region of Germany throughout the Victorian era.
A dark German wheat lager beer originating from Munich.
A traditional beer re-created from an ancient Celtic recipe by the Williams Brothers company of Alloa Scotland.
(Blonde Ale)… A revolutionary new light beer developed as Summer Lightning in 1989 by John Gilbert of the Mortlake Stag.
A weak heavily seasoned sour smoky beer which, in being thought to be of Viking origin, is observed to contain Beech sap, honey, and juniper twigs which are left to ferment for about a week before consumption.
A medieval beer which, in containing fruit, is hopped with any one of a number of European herbs including ‘Ground Ivy’, ‘Yarrow’ and ‘Mugwort’, a term beneath which, in potentially being poisonous, it was subject to royal legislation, a term beneath which it was frequently composed of ingredients that grew within the vicinity of the brewery in which it was made.
GLUTEN FREE BEER…
A craft beer which either contains no gluten or a reduced amount of gluten owing to soluble enzymes in it’s constitution, an instance in which gluten is, in being an organic protein that binds plant tissue together, observed to cause an allergic reaction in those with ‘Celiacs’ disease when gluten free produce does not.
A Cloudy German bottle conditioned beer.
Pioneered in 1993 by the Labatt’s brewing firm of Canada, Ice beer is, in it’s distinction, effectively chilled to minus four degrees centigrade before maturation.
IRISH RED ALE…
Based upon traditional Celtic brewing techniques, Irish red ale possesses a deep bronze colour and distinctive nutty flavour.
A beer matured for between nine and twelve months.
Unfiltered hopped German lager
A German ale which tastes surprisingly like lager, true Kolsch is, in it’s distinction, brewed only in Cologne.
A low alcohol Eastern European beer made with fermented rye bread flavored with yeast, honey and sugar.
(Pilsner, Export, Pale Lager, Hells, Malted Lager, Rye Lager, Vienna Lager, Premium lager, Munich light lager, Adjunct lager)… A bottom fermented beer traditionally divided between Pilsner and Export styles which is currently very commercially popular, including the ‘Carlsberg’, ‘Heineken’, ‘Carling’, ‘Kronenbourg’ and ‘Stella Artois’ brands amongst it’s catalog of producers. ‘Hells’ is a variety of German lager perfected by a man named Georg Hell in the nineteenth century, a term beneath which the brew’s name is also noted to describes the beverage’s light colouration, “Vienna Lager” being variety of the drink perfected by Anton Dreher at approximately the same time. Interestingly “Michelob” brewed by the Molson Coors company is virtually the only variety of Rye Lager currently made, a distinction through which Michelob Ultra is uniquely classified as a low carbohydrate lager. In being universally popular, the beverage is consumed internationally an instance in which Adjunct lager is a variety of the drink brewed in Asia.
(Gueuze, Kriek, Framboise, Fruit Beer, Sour Ale)… Sour beer drafted at source from natural fermentation. Lambic beers are conventionally composed of a third raw wheat and fermented over a period of years, ‘Geuze’ being ‘Krausened’ or mixed with old beer, ‘Kriek’ being made with cherries, ‘Framboise’ with raspberries an instance in which ‘Lindeman’s Geuze’ is coveted by Belgian beer enthusiasts who are inclined apparently store it like fine wine in their cellars.
(Midus, Myod, Metheglin, Oxymol, Pyment, Melomel, Hippocras Braggot, Blue Mead)… An ancient brew composed of fermented honey, ‘Oxymol’ being a Greek honey wine which is mixed with vinegar and maple syrup, ‘Pyment’, ‘Melomel’ and ‘Hippocras’ being fermented with fruit and grain peppers, ‘Braggot’ being a shandy that contains both mead and beer, ‘Blue Mead’ being mixed with mold during fermentation.
In deriving it’s name to the healing properties which mead was once considered to possess, ‘Metheglin’, a heavily spiced variety of the drink was consumed as a restorative in Wales at a relatively early date, ‘Midus’ being a Lithuanian interpretation of the drink brewed with different ingredients, an instance in which Russian ‘Myod’ from ancient Colchis is, in it’s distinction, noted to be fermented for up to fifty years to enhance it’s flavor.
(Light mild, Strong Mild)… An un-vatted aged beer made with roast malts or caramelised sugars. Conventionally divided between Light and Strong varieties, mild is categorially weaker than bitter and cheaper than beer.
A spiced ginger flavoured beer.
ORGANIC SPELT BEER…
Brewed with organic spelt malt grown upon an abbey estate in ‘Plankstatten’, Organic Spelt beer essentially possess an unusual flavour which distinguishes it from other beers.
A Namibian millet beer which, in being consumed within a day of fermentation is seldom granted an opportunity to become alcoholic.
A Polish or Lithuanian beer which, in being made with grain hops and yeast, is often considered to be a by product of the distillation industry.
(Entire)… A heavily hopped oat beer named after London river porters and the portly aspect of those who drank it. Porters are, in being a relatively new idea, traditionally ‘krausened’ with a blend of fresh and aged brews.
Primarily brewed by the American Brooklyn brewery, Pumpkin ale is effectively made from fermented Pumpkins.
Wormwood Ale which, in containing the leaves of the Absinthe plant was, in being flavored with other ingredients including nutmeg, oats and sweet wort, noted to have been sold by ‘Purl’ men on bumboats in London during the medieval era.
Owing to Sea Absinthe’s preference for coastal soil, ‘Purl’ was through association with England’s naval trade observed to be a relatively common form of commerce among riverside communities, an instance in which the drink was, in being both sweet and capable of disguising it’s alcohol content noted to taste fairly similar to root beer.
Although only usually distilled to be used as a balm or ointment, ‘Purl’ spirits were, in occasionally being included as an ingredient in deserts and trifles during the medieval era, sometimes drunk neat, an instance in which they were ultimately noted to serve as the constituent element of many of England’s traditional naval rums.
A blended beer which tastes like citrus fruit.
(Smoke beer)… Austrian beer made with barley malted over Beechwood
Traditional Finnish beer made with rye and other grains, a beverage also distinctively flavoured with Juniper twigs and berries for an astringent aftertaste much like gin.
SAISONIERS or SESSION BEER …
(October or March beer, Oktoberfest, Marzen, Kwak, Grisette)… A spiced Belgian lager beer traditionally produced as a refreshment for farm labourers during the nineteenth century, the term “session” pertains to the seasonality of harvesting wheat or barley for brewing, October beer being made at the beginning of the brewing season, March beer at the end of the brewing season. The list of ‘Saisoniers’ also extends to include “Marzen”, a German variety of the beer, “Session Bitter” or “Ordinary”, A Pale Ale slightly weaker than India Pale Ale and ‘Grisette’ a low alcohol ‘Saisonier’ consumed by miners.
A Rice beer from Thailand which, owing to variations in it’s method of production, is seldom observed to be of a standard quality.
(Heavy)… A traditional British Ale. Scotch “silly” is, in being, spiced considered a Saison beer although it is, in practice, observed to bear more of a resemblance to Oud Bruin.
(Kostritzer)… German black beer.
(special lager)… Strong sweet lager which, perhaps as a result of it’s potency, became associated with Yob culture in the late twentieth century.
(Wobble)… Beer which, in being made using steam powered apparatus, is traditionally brewed for workers on foundries.
Beer distinguished by the immersion of a burning coal or rock in the mash tun before fermentation to sweeten the wort .
Classic American ale named after the cool stock cellars in which it is stored.
Samuel Adams Boston Ale incorporating “decoction” or the removal and re-admission of fluid into the mash tun during the preparation of the wort to extract sugar from the malt that is used.
A distinction designated during an era when a tax was placed upon the strength of beers.
(Plain, Chocolate Stout, Milk Stout, Oatmeal stout, Oyster stout, Russian Imperial Stout)… A thick brew which, in frequently being considered a “food drink”, is made from dark roasted barley and hops. “Tsarina Esra”, an Imperial Porter, is, in this instance, notably considered one of Europe’s finest beers.
(Musuo, Guanduang)… A Chinese corn beer made with barley and yeast which takes about ten days to ferment.
A beer sold at school refectories in Limburg as a soft drink to be consumed with food.
(Abbey Beer, Small Beer, Dubbel, Tripel, Qaudrupel, Abt)
Small beers were traditionally brewed as cooking ingredient in Tudor Courts, however stronger variants were subsequently associated with the Belgian monastic system, a term beneath which Dubbel was technically twice as strong as Small Beer and ‘Tripel’ , a ‘Saisonier’ from the ‘Westmalle’ region of Belgium, three times it’s strength. The respective potencies of each beer being derived from the repeated soaking of old mash, an instance in which Qaudrupel is, in possessing an “abv”. of about ten per-cent, both very strong and difficult to make using traditional brewing techniques, “La Trappe Qaudrupel” from the Brabant region of Holland being about the only example of this brew presently available upon the open market.
Literally translated as “full” beer a term which denotates it’s strength, ‘Vollbier’ is a strong Austrian beverage which possesses a dark red colour and a distinctive flavour of hops.
WEST COUNTRY WHITE BEER…
(Wheat Beer, Witbier, Weissbier, Hefeweizen, Gose)… A spontaneously fermented wheat beer which, in being produced by Celts during the medieval era later earned renown in the form of ‘Hoegaarden’, a modern brand flavoured with orange peel and coriander seed, “Gose” being a vaguely saline Wheat beer made beneath similar conditions in Germany.
Produced by the ‘Schwechat’ brewery in Austria, an establishment which earned renown for it’s lagers in the nineteenth century, ‘Zwickelbier’ is effectively a fine pale unfiltered unpasteurised traditional Austrian beer.
Alongside the many invaluable reference to brewing afforded by Wikipedia including a particularly useful series of articles written by the acclaimed beer writer ‘Des De Moore’, without which I could probably not have completed the index. I feel that I must include a number of books which were employed for research purposes throughout the creation of ‘Brewery Lanes’.
1…Grogan’s Companion to Drink the A to Z of alcohol… Peter Grogan
An invaluable reference to world brewing especially that of wine.
2…The Curious Cures of Old England… Nigel Cawthorne
An incredible foray into the nebulous world of medieval brewing.
3…The London Encyclopedia… Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert.
A concise account of many iof the themes covered in Brewery Lanes.
4…Great Beers… Edited by Tim Hampson
A good guide to the many beers currently available on the market.
5…Beers of the World… David Kenning
A beautifully presented index of some of the finest beers currently available.
6…London Pubs… David Brandon
Possibly the best book currently available upon the subject of London’s historic public houses.
17…. GENERAL DISCLAIMER
Despite the many drink related themes which this book covers and the tantalising field of experimentation which it may be presumed to represent, I am compelled, for legal reasons, to state that beneath no circumstance, should any of the brewing processes mentioned within it’s span, be practised by readers.
Although attempting to re-create medieval beer for recreational purpose may appear to represent a fascinating and intriguing school of research, this text is designed entirely and solitarily for reference purposes, a pretext beneath which none of the information listed within it’s pages should be put into practise unless through direct association with the trade itself.