Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Time machine question - Cannon Brewery

Which beer would have been your best in a Cannon Brewery pub in the early 1920's? Who hasn't asked themselves that question? Honestly. Who hasn't?

Believe me when I say that I never in my wildest dreams (and many of those were set decades in the past) did I imagine that I would ever have any evidence to point me in the right direction, should my time machine demonstrate a strange affinity for Cannon pubs. But here that evidence is. Any guesses as to which was the safest beer to drink? Have a think while I continue.

As I explained in the last post, I've graded the comments in the Whitbread Gravity Book on a scale of +3 to -3. It's not wholly scientific. OK, not scientific at all. But it's the only information we have. Let's allow it to provide us with a few hints.

Any ideas yet about the beer least likely to be sour or mawkish?

Unfortunately, the flavour comments only appear in the Whitbread Gravity Book entries from the early 1920's. But there are enough samples to get a feel for the quality of beers/breweries. What do I always promise/threaten at this point? There'll be lots more to follow.

And? Which beer is statistically safest? I know, you can't be arsed to look at all those images. Don't blame you. I'm the same. For the enthusiastically-challenged, here are the average scores of each beer:

Porter -2.25
KK -0.82
Stout 0
PA 0.09
X 0.57

The answer: "Drink Mild!"


Gray Gillman said...

Yes, and I infer this is due to mild's higher turnover than the others. Assuming too the risk of ill-brewing should be spread equally amongst the group.

More alcohol and more hops doesn't seem to save the slower movers. True then as now. How many bad real beers have I had even in the U.K. amongst the pale ale and strong ale group? Lots!


Tom Fryer said...

I'm finding the flavour comments in the Whitbread logs fascinating. As well as adding an extra dimension (and a splash of colour) to the logs, it calls into question the conventional wisdom that a bigger brewery means greater consistency.

Back to an earlier discussion of the word 'mawkish' as a taste descriptor. Do you think the tasters were using it as a general term to say that the beer was poor, or might it have had a more precise meaning to them, i.e. describing a particular off-flavour? The OED gives 'having a faint sickly flavour' as an archaic definition, which doesn't sound very precice but it could conceivably be used for a specific fault (e.g. lactic sourness).

Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, I think you're right there: higher turnover, better quality beer.

Tom, let me get through some other breweries then we'll see if there's any pattern in terms of consistency. I've had a glance through a couple of others. lete's just put it this way: there will be plenty more to discuss.