Monday, 26 March 2012

A pint of Hovis please

From Wikipedia

During the seventies I had to take regular samples of effluent from the two major breweries in Burton-on-Trent. I often noticed big Hovis flour tankers making deliveries to what was then the Bass or Allied Breweries plant – I can’t remember which. 

Those of course were the days of ersatz beer made cheaply from fermented starches such as flour with caramel added as brown colouring to make up for the lack of malt and saponins (natural soaps) to put a creamy head on the final product. 

I’m not sure how different it is these days, but I suspect there are still some pretty grim brews sold under the misleading name “beer”. If you fancy a drop of real ale, then stick to the smaller brewers may be the best advice. Otherwise you really cannot be sure what you are drinking.

Better still, take a trip round the brewery and keep a lookout for Hovis tankers.


James Higham said...

Theakstons was always my favourite drop, esp XB but it was varied - could be terrible one day, like nectar the next. Ales are better though.

A K Haart said...

James - I like Tim Taylor's and Bluebird bitter from Coniston. I find most of the micro breweries are worth sampling these days though - a much better situation than in the seventies.

Sam Vega said...

My real ale days are over, although I was quite keen in my youth. I remember being at an academic conference in Norwich, where a group of us went out to local pubs in search of "the real thing". We got into conversation with a grizzled old boy who had an encyclopaedic recall of all the little local breweries in East Anglia. He thought, however, that the arrival of pressurised keg beer was a great step forward. (Sharp intake of breath from the beardies in our group...) He said that some of these old breweries were none too clean, and half the men in a village could have the shits as a result...

A K Haart said...

Sam - that old guy won't have seen the dead pigeons in the water supply tank. Even so, keg beer was probably safer than some of the old brews because it was almost sterile.