Thursday, 2 December 2010

You bastards

I liked the idea of a colouring contest. You didn't. Bastards. So I need a new idea for my great* end of the year give-away.

Time for the return of the Protz Shield and Papazian Cup.

The Protz Shield is awarded for the best piece of fact-free history from a British writer. The Papazian Cup is the international equivalent. Find the dodgiest piece of research-light, pseudo-history published on the web, or even one of those old-fashioned book or newspaper things. And send it as a comment to this post.

The number of prizes will depend on the quality of the entries. And how pissed I am when I award them.



*If you think a book or two and perhaps a T-shirt qualifies as "great".

33 comments:

Rod said...

Well done Ron - I was hoping that this would become an annual tradition! I'm sure that I shall be able to find something.......

Ed said...

That looks like the Sloaney Pony to me. Do I win a prize?

Rod said...

I knew I'd soon be able to come up with a couple of contenders. How about -

"Technically, Hoegaarden is a bitter rather than a lager - it's top-fermented. It's also a very old, traditional recipe."

Or do you prefer -

"In 1876, he [Adolphus Busch] discovered Pasteur, and found a great pilsner recipe in the Czech town of Budweis, and Budweiser beer was born." ?

Both from Man Walks into a Pub by Pete Brown. Doubtless I can find plenty more where they came form....

Ron Pattinson said...

Ed, yes it is. And no, you don't win a prize.

Ron Pattinson said...

Rod, not a bad pair to start the ball rolling.

Matt said...

Here are a couple of recent words of wisdom from Protz.

First, on the launch of Greene King's Very Special IPA:

"The original IPA recipes used an abundance of malt and hops and the large quantities of pale malt provided sufficient natural sugar to produce the high alcohol content that characterises the beer.

"Because the hop acts as an antiseptic and a preservative, the addition of vast quantities of hops added further protection for the quality of the ale during the long voyage to India."

http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/festivals/2010/11/greene-king-ipa-is-very-very-s.html

And second, on Budweiser Budvar's decision to sell unpasteurised lager in the UK:

“We are now getting close to a real ale version of lager, how it was 100 years ago. We are tasting tradition and defending the traditional way of making lager beer.”

http://www.thepublican.com/story.asp?sectioncode=7&storycode=68454&c=1

Hmm, I'm pretty sure lager was being force-carbonated and pasteurised by 1910...

Ed said...

Ben McFarland for saying before the invention of Pilsner Urquell in 1842 "all beer was dark, cloudy and more often than not a little lousy".

Or should it be him saying "Before white-coated boffins with spectacles, clipboards, pipettes and brains the size of Luxembourg discovered pasteurization in 1860, all beer was made using spontaneous fermentation"?

The Beer Nut said...

I nominate Kristy McCready of MolsonCoors for this one. On the subject of Grolsch, last Tuesday:
"a beer brewed to the same recipe since 1615."

Should corroborating evidence appear I will, of course, withdraw the nomination.

Barm said...

To be fair on Pete Brown, he has recanted the nonsense he wrote in that first book, which he got from the legends spread by the likes of Protz in the first place.

(Though I haven't seen the new edition to see how much it has been revised).

Pete Brown said...

Rod - Hoegaarden is top fermented though. You can find way, way better examples of historical inaccuracies than that in the first edition of MWIAP if you look carefully. That's a lame effort.

As Barm suggests, most of them have been expunged from the fully revised and updated second edition, out now - the perfect Christmas present for your loved ones

StuartP said...

From 'beer-pages.com - all you need to know about beer'

PALE ALE
A name applied to a particular bottled-version of draught bitter, pale ale was first brewed in London in the mid- 18th century, but did not gain fame until Bass produced this style of beer at its Burton-on-Trent brewery, since when Burton has become synonymous with pale ale. This is because the Burton water contains gypsum, which precipitates the most ultra fine sediments suspended in a beer, providing a much paler shade of ale: hence Pale Ale, thus Burton Pale Ale. See also India Pale Ale.

So, the creation of Pale Ale: nothing to do with the manufacture of Pale Malt, but all down to gypsum in the water (!) acting as finings. And it is only available in bottles.

Pete Brown said...

Not directly beer related, but in his CAMRA IPA book, my favourite RPism is "India was first colonised by the British in 1782."

Among the thousands of British people who lived in places like Surat, Madras, Calcutta and Bombay from 1608 onwards, this must have come as a big shock to Clive of India, who fought the Battle of Plassey in 1757, establishing British ownership of Bengal and shattering the power of the Mughal Empire.

And unlike malt and hops arcana, that's something we all learned about at school...

Rod said...

Pete - there are quite a lot of things that I could say about your response to my post, but I'll content myself with this, as I wasn't trying to start a fight -

You made some mistakes, which you have now admitted and corrected, and that's fair enough. It's a pity, though, because there are now thousands of people out there that believe that, for example, Hoegaarden is a bitter and Budweiser (Budvar) is a pilsner, and these are schoolboy howlers.

Tim said...

Aww, I was working on the coloring contest but hadn't finished. I was just taking the time to make it extra special.

Pete Brown said...

What can I say Rod? I was a mere schoolboy when I first wrote it. In beer years that is.

(And if you read my first comment carefully, you can should be able to see me taking the piss out of myself rather than trying to start a fight)

Ryan said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZFG5PKw504&feature=related
If this were in writing, it quite possibly might win

Matt said...

OK, here are my entries for the Papazian Cup, both involving the man himself:

"Using my 5.5% alcohol by volume (abv) homebrew recipe for a Czech-American style “amber-Helles” floral hopped lager we ramped up the recipe to 8.3 % with uniquely American techniques and blends of international hops, malt and yeast."

An "amber helles", seems like yet another "craft beer" style has been born thanks to American homebrewers. Wonder what the "uniquely American techniques" used in brewing it are?

Followed by an "Imperial Helles Bock": "The beer is unique. It does not fit any particular style."

http://www.examiner.com/beer-in-national/charlie-fred-and-ken-s-imperial-helles-bock-released-by-sierra-nevada-details-here

Oblivious said...

Here are my two so far, complements of the BJCP

Traditional Scottish session beers reflecting the indigenous ingredients (water, malt), with less hops than their English counterparts (due to the need to import them). Long, cool fermentations are traditionally used in Scottish brewing.

Mild: May have evolved as one of the elements of early porters.

Rod said...

Matt
Top post - absolute nonsense.
"An "amber helles", seems like yet another "craft beer" style has been born thanks to American homebrewers. Wonder what the "uniquely American techniques" used in brewing it are?"

The technique employed in this particular instance is the liberal application of bullshit.
"Amber Helles" is the most meaningless, oxymoronic (accent on the "moronic") name for a purported beer style since "Black IPA". A small part of me grudgingly acknowledges the remarkable inventiveness of these people...........

Rod said...

Guess who, talking about Mild -

"The name came from its low level of hop bitterness, not a lack of alcohol.....in the 18th century, drinkers started to turn against the extreme roastiness and bitterness of the porters and stouts that dominated the market.....I imagine that brewers drastically reduced the strength of mild following World War Two to save on duty. It didn't do the style any favours...."

StuartP said...

Hey, Pete!
Can you send me a copy of 'Hops and Glory'?
I bought 'A Man Walks Into A Pub' so I figure that you owe me.

Rod said...

"BROWN ALE
This is the bottled version of draught mild, thus the opposite number to pale ale (the bottled version of bitter), which is why a "brown and light" is the equivalent to a "mild and bitter" for the bottled beer drinker. Brown ale is dark brown in colour, slightly sweet to very sweet in flavour and often a touch stronger than it pale ale cousin. Despite its fame, Newcastle Brown is not a true brown ale, being much lighter in colour, less sweet and significantly stronger in alcohol"

Quite a lot of nonsense there, at

BROWN ALE
This is the bottled version of draught mild, thus the opposite number to pale ale (the bottled version of bitter), which is why a "brown and light" is the equivalent to a "mild and bitter" for the bottled beer drinker. Brown ale is dark brown in colour, slightly sweet to very sweet in flavour and often a touch stronger than it pale ale cousin. Despite its fame, Newcastle Brown is not a true brown ale, being much lighter in colour, less sweet and significantly stronger in alcohol

Quite a bit of nonsense there at
beer-pages.com

Gary Gillman said...

I will enter a dissenting note. Beer journalism and other non-historical writing never will have the accuracy and dogmatic-like character of historical beer research. It just won't. Obviously, it is good that it be as accurate as possible. At the same time, many beer writers and most beer drinkers have little or no interest in beer history. And yet it is impossible to write about beer in any detail without some reference to history, so sometimes it gets twisted around a bit or is ignorant of the latest researches. (These researches are slowly starting to penetrate the wider beer world but it will take time, this should be recognised). Most of the quotes given as examples of wrong information were close enough for my purposes, or one knew the essential point that was being made. I can't get excited about these so-called errors.

Gary

Ron Pattinson said...

Here's my contribution:

"Though favored as a proletarian brew in much of England through a good portion of the 19th century, an overall lull in the demand for brown brews coincided with a movement towards pale beers, both ale and lager, into the 20th century. Brown ale was considered somewhat stodgy, but nevertheless held on just enough to keep in pubs throughout London and some other pockets of England as a session beer. Before long, one of today’s famous brewers would reintroduce the world to the pleasures of brown ale, and essentially define once and for all the modern style.

Prior to 1927, bottled versions of dark mild ale were marketed as brown ale. To capitalize on the demand for bottled beers, the brewmaster of Scottish and Newcastle, Jim Porter, was given the task of formulating a beer to fill that niche. His Newcastle Brown Ale, introduced in 1927, was designed to cater to the local working class, and was so superbly-crafted that it won a gold medal at the Brewers’ Exposition in London in 1928."
K. Florian Klemp
http://allaboutbeer.com/learn-beer/styles/stylistically-speaking/2008/05/basic-brown/

Pivní Filosof said...

I have a couple of gems by Harry Sasón, a celebrity chef from Colombia.

"In fact, beer and bread had the same origin: if you add more flour than water and let it ferment, you get bread; and if you add more water than flour and let it ferment, you get beer."

"...based on their colour, beers can be divided in pale and dark, and the difference is that the latter are brewed at higher temperatures and with roasted barley and malt, which adds a creamier density and a more bitter taste"

And my favourite.

"...Lagers, a kind of pale beer of moderate flavour, very common in the US".

Matt said...

Anyone think bitter and pale ale are synonyms for the same style of beer? Here's an American homebrewer to put us right:

"Bitter, Best Bitter and English Pale Ale are the three styles of beer that make up...Light English Ale in the BJCP style guide... They all originated in England with the advent of lightly-kilned malt in the late 1700's... The BJCP style guide separates them based on starting gravity...English Bitter is the lowest-strength version of this beer. It is a session beer, with a starting gravity of 1.030 to 1.03. With an alcohol content of only about 3½%, you can start early on this one. The name bitter suggest a high hop level, but this is not necessarily the case. The name actually comes from a comparison to English Mild, a brown ale with only half of the bitterness...Best Bitter, also called Special Bitter, starts off with an original gravity of 1.039 to 1.045. The malt profile is usually much more apparent in these beers. The bitterness level is a bit higher than bitter, though there is considerable overlap. Fuller's London Pride represents this style, though it is considerably maltier than most examples...English Pale Ale is the strongest beer in the family. This beer is generally designated Extra Special Bitter when served on tap, or Pale Ale when served in bottles. Starting gravity ranges from 1.046 to 1.065. Both malt flavor and hop bitterness level considerably higher in this beer. Bass Ale is typical of this beer."

http://www.picobrewery.com/askarchive/englishale.htm

Rod said...

Gary-
"Beer journalism and other non-historical writing never will have the accuracy and dogmatic-like character of historical beer research."

This is perfectly true, and is equally true in pretty much any field you could name, I'm sure.


"And yet it is impossible to write about beer in any detail without some reference to history...."

Quite so, and therefore it is encumbent upon professional writers to do enough basic research to get reasonably close to the truth.

"Most of the quotes given as examples of wrong information were close enough for my purposes, or one knew the essential point that was being made"

Sorry mate, but this is where we really part company. Some of the mistakes made by people who are professional beer writers and therefore getting paid good money for their work are just inexcusably sloppy. On beerpages.com it says that pilsner was first brewed in "the Czech village of Pilsen" - that's three mistakes in five words. Getting the date of the beginning of British colonisation of India wrong. Saying that Budweiser is a pilsner. Inventing a drink called a "Brown and Light".......
I suppose I could excuse someone not being absolutely on top of the very latest technical details that Ron posted here yesterday, but many of the things being written by supposed beer experts are schoolboy errors and deeply unprofessional. I think the standard of wine writing is far higher.

Finally -
"I can't get excited about these so-called errors."

Then why do you waste your time following this blog?

Rod said...

Ron -
I'm confused.....

"one of today’s famous brewers would reintroduce the world to the pleasures of brown ale, and essentially define once and for all the modern style......Newcastle Brown Ale"

BUT -

"Despite its fame, Newcastle Brown is not a true brown ale, being much lighter in colour, less sweet and significantly stronger in alcohol."

Help!

Ron Pattinson said...

Rod, what's really dismaying is that the author doesn't seem to have heard of Mann's Brown Ale. That's pretty fucking shit.

Gary Gillman said...

I follow this blog to pursue an interest in beer history. I distinguish between generalist and specialist beer writing. I can smile at some of the errors that will creep into generalist writing, while hoping that with time things will get better. It's two different things to me, to answer your question.

Gary

Jeff Alworth said...

This stands as one of the oddest press releases I've ever gotten, from Estrella Damm in Spain, on the subject of their beer, Indedit:

“INEDIT was developed from the belief that there was a need for a beer that could complement a dining experience," said Ferran Adrià, elBulli Executive Chef.... INEDIT is a unique coupage of barley malt and wheat with spices which provide an intense and complex aroma.... With its delicate carbonation, INEDIT adapts to acidic, sweet and sour flavors. Its appearance is slightly cloudy, and INEDIT has a yeasty sensation with sweet spices, causing a creamy and fresh texture, delicate carbonic long aftertaste, and pleasant memory."

Rod said...

Inedit just sounds like a bog standard Belgian Wit beer to me..?

The Beer Nut said...

Tastes like one, too.