I took the boys to the swimming baths yesterday. We've been having muggy, overcast days for what seems like weeks. It was pleasant to set and read while the kids cavorted in the outdoor pool.
Naturally, it wasn't just the paper or the latest Jilly Cooper novel I was reading. I actually had two books with me. "Brewing" and "Manchester Breweries of Times Gone By, Vol 2". Nice light reading for a Sunday morning.
I realise that I read this stuff a little differently from most. My attention was immediately drawn by the image of a bill from some brewery in Ardwick. It had the beer names printed on it. Or rather beer codes. I', used to these things, so I could work out most of them:
Let's see, that's Mild, Best Mild, Bitter, Porter, Extra Stout, C??? - what the hell is that, Stout, C Best Bitter?
Then there was a mention in the text of a thing called C Ale, which seems to have been peculiar to Manchester. At least half a dozen breweries made one. There was even a label image. The only clue as to what it could have stood for was a beer called City.
I thought I'd been making progress with these letter codes. I'm pretty confident what the X's and K's mean. T as well. Now here's another bloody cryptic letter. Anyone any idea what the hell it stood for? Or what type of beer it was?
Now I've found a label for C Ale, I see something intriguing. The words "naturally mature in bottle". I wonder if that has anything to do with the identity of C Ale?
We’re Stumped – Help! - [image: Carlsberg, Northampton. (Detail from 'Grey Day' by Sarah Horrigan, via Flickr, under Creative Commons.)] We’ve reached dead ends in various strands...
1 hour ago