When you start digging around in the past, you have to be prepared to unearth the unexpected. The surprises aren't always pleasant. Especially if you have a theory that you're particularly fond of.
I've spent years trying to decode brewhouse names. XXX, KK. Those things. After rummaging through volumes of London brewing records, some of it started to make sense. The X's, K's and S's were sorted.
You may have read the post before this. Where I explained my progress in deciphering the brewer's code. I was quite pleased with it. But it looked a bit dull without an illustration. What better than an old brewery advert full of X's? I wasn't expecting to find any K's. I'd been singularly unsuccessful in finding those so far.
I know exactly where to look for 19th century brewery adverts: old directories. Leicester University has a searchable collection of directories online. Saves me the trouble of fishing out a brewery history and scanning an advert image. I'm so smart. It didn't take me long to find one. I was fair glowing with smugness. Until I looked at it more closely.
If you looked at the comments of my last post, you'll see a discussion about K Ales. I admitted to having found few K Ales in pricelists. And never having seen a single K. And that all the K Ales I'd seen had been strong. All I can say is this: bloody Kilburn Brewery.
Their advert is a like a squadron of Fairey Swordfishes. Laughably antique, yet my theories lie at the harbour bottom, their hulls perforated by torpedoes. Here are my K's. All the ones I'd not seen: a weak K (under a shilling a gallon: that's below 1050), a KK that was also way too cheap (barely more than ordinary Mild) and described as "Pale Bitter Ale". Both the K Ales are called Bitter and there's another beer called Pale Ale. That's buggering not only my view of K Ales as, well, Ales (lightly-hopped) but also challenging the idea that Bitter and Pale Ale were essentially the same thing.
So forget everything I said in my last post. Well, not all of it. I think I got X Ales right. And S's.
You can't ignore evidence just because it's annoying. That's sort of the point of what I'm doing. Better to see today as a triumph. A day where I learned something new. I don't understand K's at all.
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