Monday, 1 October 2007

Lager in the 1930's

In Alkmaar there's a small brewery museum. I went around it earlier this year with my son Andrew. It isn't huge, but the staff are friendly and enthusiastic. The location - the former De Kroon brewery - is both aposite and convenient, being pretty much in the centre of town.

This post isn't a travel report. What particularly caught my eye was a browned, paper-covered book entitled "Van Brouwerij tot Bierglas" ("From Brewery to Beer Glass"). Not the most inspiring title, nor one that promises much in the way of hard information. But you never know what you're going to find in a book until you open it up and have a look.

Blow me if there wasn't a table of analyses of lagers from the 1930's. Something I've never seen before. I had a fair amount of stuff about pre-1914 lagers, but nothing for the interwar years.

It worries me how poorly the history of British beer styles is documented. But for lager styles the situation is far, far worse. There's almost nothing sensible been written on the topic. That's why I'm always happy to find any new information. Luckily this happened before the book-buying moratorium and I was able to pick up a copy on Abebooks.

Here's my transcription of the data:

"Van Brouwerij tot Bierglas" by F. Kurris, Doetinchem, 1948, pages 26-27.
colour in cc 0.1 n. iodine
ABV my calculation

Should you the museum inspire a thirst, there's a pub in the basement that offers around 30 beers. It opens at midday every day.

These are the detail of the museum.

Biermuseum De Boom
Houttil 1,
1811 JL Alkmaar.
Tel: 072 - 511 3801
Opening times: Tue - Fri 13:00 - 17.00,
Sat 13:00 - 16.00,
Sunday and Monday closed


Stan Hieronymus said...

It worries me how poorly the history of British beer styles is documented.

It's not just British beers.

Your post last week with the Ballantine gravities (from Whitbread of all sources) had numbers I haven't seen in any U.S. publications.

Ron Pattinson said...

I've taken it upon myself to try to publish as much of this stuff as I can. It might not make for the most exciting reading, but I hope it will be useful as a reference.

The Whitbread gravity book is an invaluable source. It provides details of many beers for which the brewing records no longer exist. My biggest problem is reading some of the entries. The person filling it in during the 1940's had tiny handwriting. There are three more analyses of American beers but I haven't been able to make out the names of the breweries.

Alan said...

I think you are becoming a source for plenty o'stuff, Ron, that when you are in your second or third thousandth post will be an incredible interactive tool. My only regret is that by giving you the quick-fix advice to set up the tables as .jpgs and not tables, that they are not themselves searchable. You may want to add some key word tags around the images so that, for example, the word "Dortmunder" in this table can be cross referenced against text references to the same style.

I think, frankly, we need to set up a paypal trust fund system on all "Beer Blogs of Integrity" (BBOI) to give you a living wage and a staff so that you can supply all this raw data for the rest of us...oh, you are doing that already for free. Never mind.

Ron Pattinson said...

Alan, a trust fund is a great idea. I still have to fit my research/blogging around a fulltime job and two small children.

It's scary when I look at the pile of material I still have to go through. Just the old German brewing magazines would keep me busy for a year.

Stonch said...

Ron, put one of those "buy me a pint" Paypal things on your site, like on Brookston Beer Bulletin. I'd imagine it'd bring in a bit of pocket money to offset your costs of buying books and travelling to London and elsewhere to research this stuff... then surely the missus wouldn't mind.

Ron Pattinson said...

Stonch, good idea. Someone may take pity on me.