In addition to pies and sausages, I picked up a few beers in England to bring home. Including a pair of English classics: Mackeson and Gold Label.
Both beers originated in breweries bought up (and closed) by Whitbread. Though neither now bears the Whitbread name. In their time both were innovative beers. Mackeson the first widely-available lactose-laced Milk Stout. Gold Label the first amber-coloured Barley Wine. Once available in pubs acrosss Britain, you're now lucky to find them in anywhere except a forgotten corner of a supermarket shelf. And in a can.
It's a sign of the abandonment by the big brewers of much of the British brewing tradition that beers like these have been left to wither and die. They're not quite dead yet, but how much longer will they survive?
So tonight, in honour of the past glories of British brewing, I'll be drinking a very special Black and Tan. Mackeson and Gold Label. I bet it'll taste great. Or different. Either will do me.
By the way, I've a couple of Mackeson recipes from the 1950's. Anyone interested?
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