Marston’s early advertising (part one)

Dating from July 1938, this is the first ever advertisement for Marston’s P Quality Best Pale Ale; P Quality would be renamed Pedigree in 1952. The origin of the name Pedigree is contested; some say it was named by then Head Brewer George Peard (his face appears on the recently rebranded label), others say that an employee Marjorie Newbold won the right to call it Pedigree in a competition..

Dual Diamond works wonders

There has been much written about Burton Old Cottage Brewery Company’s Dual Diamond on The Beertonian. Last weekend I posted about the history of Double Diamond and over 1,900 people read the post in 24 hours! Judging by the multitude of comments on Facebook, talk about the Ind Coope’s Double Diamond has sparked a lot of memories! Well Double Diamond is back, albeit called Dual Diamond and brewed by another Burton upon Trent brewery Burton Old Cottage Brewery Company. For those who fancy a taste from the past, here is all you need to know.

Of course the reinvention and recreation of old beers is nothing new, not even in Burton; the Heritage Brewing Company based at the National Brewery Centre produce the defunct Derby brewers Offilers’ Best Bitter and Charrington’s Oatmeal Stout and their IPA . There is even an organisation dedicated to the process, the excellently named ‘Dead Brewers Society’, although their Twitter feed has gone worryingly quiet after Molson Coors tried to register the exact same name last year.

Reading the pump clip Dual Diamond is ‘Lovingly brewed to the original Double Diamond recipe.’

“We can’t use the name outright,” explains Head Brewer Alan Christie. “Although we did toy with using the strapline ‘still working wonders,’” he confesses.

So there is no fear of any comeback from whomever it is who owns the name Double Diamond nowadays? Alan is confident that they have done enough to avoid any problems, “It refers to it but it’s not using any logos.”

Anyone familiar with Ind Coope / Allied Breweries’ history will recognise the colour scheme on the pump clip; the brown and orange are taken from directly from the company identity circa early ’70s.

“We took the Dual Diamond design from last time and kept the theme,” says Alan alluding to the fact that Dual Diamond has been brewed before at his brewery. Alan is still new to the game, starting his brewing career last summer but Burton Old Cottage Brewery Company was founded in 2000 by Kev Slater and Ray Orton. Dual Diamond, the named coined by Kev Slater in 2015, was originally produced as a one off to mark the publication of a book about the history of Ind Coope and Samuel Allsopp, although the author’s name escapes me …

The recipe itself has an interesting history too, Kev Slater who was the General Manager and Brewer at the Samuel Allsopp Brewing Company before his Old Cottage days takes up the tale,

“’The Tapsters Choice’ program introduced guest ales in to the estate on a two week rolling basis across the whole of the country,” he says explaining how Ind Coope, then part of Carlsberg-Tetley Ltd., had responded to the success of Marston’s Head Brewers Choice.

This was made possible by the discovery of old recipe books which sadly now seem lost.

“One of the ales produced in spring/summer of 1996 was Triple Diamond, based on Double Diamond. I used Pale Malt, Torrified Wheat and Crystal Malt, the only difference in the recipe was the hops as the original recipe called for a variety that was no longer available, so I used Fuggles for bittering and for dry hopping.”

It is exactly this recipe that Alan has used for his brew, so Dual Diamond is indeed Double Diamond in all but name. Before those who only remember the beer as the 3.8% keg version much maligned by CAMRA, this is the bottled Double Diamond; a different jewel; that bit stronger, fuller of body, cask conditioned and much much nicer!

“As with anything nostalgic people recall things differently. Many of them won’t have been old enough to have drunk it originally,” Alan certainly wasn’t! “Those that did probably can’t remember what it tasted like anyway!”

Opinion was canvassed on his Dual Diamond by inviting ex-Old Cottage brewer Mick Machin to try it. “His feedback was that this is a good likeness of the last Dual Diamond brew.”

There are plans to bottle Dual Diamond says Alan, “It will form part of our ongoing line-up and I am keen to do at least a one off bottling run, this will enable us to expand our business with bottled beers. We are looking putting it into Brews of the World and the National Brewery Centre. We have been doing gift packs with three different beers which have been doing well.”

“It’s nice to see some of the ‘old established of the day’ recipes coming back to life,” surmises Kev. “The 1996 brew was one of the best sellers in England and Scotland and if the Old Cottage market it right I think it will sell nationwide, especially with our generation growing up with such a popular brand.”

The final and most burning question is where can you try this new Wonder Worker? It is on sale or about to be at The Weighbridge Inn, The Old Cottage, Stretton Social Club, Rolleston Social Club and The Roebuck in Burton upon Trent, Mushroom Hall in Albert Village, The Black Lion in Swadlincote and the Chip & Pin at Melbourne.

And as the old Doiuble Diamond advert once said “… so drink one today!”

Burton Bridge Inn has wood!

Burton Bridge Inn have released more details about what to expect at their forthcoming Beer & Bangers Festival on 10 to 12 May.

The sausage flavours are: Farmhouse, Spanish, Smoky BBQ, Black Pudding and Cumberland Ring.

Beer wise although the list has yet to be made public, there are two very special treats lined up. Old Expensive and Stairway to Heaven are to be made available from wooden barrels. One will be opened on the Friday and the other on the Saturday. Both ales have been barrel aged and dry-hopped. Can’t wait!


eBay Watch: Thomas Salt & Co. Ltd. Jug

Burton upon Trent related breweriana is a regular sight on eBay, often fetching a very good price. The Beertonian always has an eye on the market and will report on the truly outstanding pieces put up for sale.

This jug from Thomas Salt & Co. Ltd dates from around 1920 and was made by Minton; it just fetched a whooping £180.00!

We are not amused!

A pump clip is just a pump clip right? It displays the name of the beer, the brewery and as long as it isn’t called Dizzy Blonde or something equally sexist then there’s nothing to see here; or so you’d think.

The Heritage Brewing Company recently came up against an unusual objection to their innocently named regal 3.8% Victoria Pale Ale.

“We had a strange situation with a customer,” exclaims Heritage Brewing Company’s Terry Boland. “They really wanted the Victoria Pale Ale, they’d tried it, loved it but wouldn’t take it because of the pump clip! They were anti-royalists and didn’t want Queen Victoria on their bar. So within ten minutes we’d changed it to the Good Ship Victoria and lo and behold he took the ale and is still selling it to this day.”

Up to me I’d have put this actress on the clip, as the publican was certainly sticking to their principles.




CAMRA & the other C word

Right from the onset CAMRA has been all about change; when the founding members Michael Hardman, Graham Lees, Jim Makin and Bill Mellor sat in Kruger’s Bar, Dunquin on the Dingle Peninsula along the Kerry coast on Tuesday 16 March 1971 they were disillusioned with the current state of British beer.

Thanks to mergers, takeovers and the subsequent closing of smaller family run breweries, the so called Big Six dominated the market and through clever advertising they had conned the public into drinking keg beer that was gassy and lacked the taste of the more traditional cask ales, and so was born the “Campaign for the Revitalisation of Ale”.

Their regular organ “What’s Brewing” first appeared in June 1972 and contained a damning statement that Hardman had given the News of the World, ‘Much of the blame for the pathetic state of beer can be put on the drinkers … who have accepted the mass introduction of the adulterated sludge that is glorified under the name of keg.’

A then recent report from consumer organisation Which? was also presented to further sharpen their point, Which? concluded that breweries preferred to produce keg beer for four reasons: it was easier for the Landlord to keep, the shelf-life was longer, it tasted pretty much the same wherever it was served and of course it was more profitable.

The early membership was invited to submit local pubs that met CAMRA’s standard for a forthcoming publication known simply as “The List”, this would appear in November 1972 as “The Good Beer Guide”, albeit more of a large newsletter than an actual book.

CAMRA’s name had changed to the more familiar “Campaign for Real Ale” by the time of the first proper publication of “The Good Beer Guide” in 1974; just over one hundred brewers were listed within, many of which were still selling predominantly keg beer. Descriptions such as ‘nearly all pressurised’, ‘a disaster’, ‘a bad bet’ and most famously ‘avoid like the plague’ (which was quickly changed to ‘avoid at all costs’ after the threat of legal action from Watney) told a sorry tale. Today “The Good Beer Guide” lists over 2,000 breweries, all of them indebted in one way or another to the pressure group that took on pressured beer and won!

As a beer drinker just shy of turning 50 I have only ever enjoyed beer in a post-CAMRA world; it is hard to imagine the lack of opportunities my father and grandfathers had to find and enjoy cask ales. I am eternally grateful to the organisation that I take it for granted that cask ale is widely available. Mind you I am hardly the typical CAMRA member; along with my membership card, my wallet also holds my Brewdog Shareholder card. I like good beer; beer that is flavoursome, made to a high standard and well presented. To me good beer is good beer, whether cask ale or, dare I say it, the other C word.

Would the craft beer revolution have occurred without CAMRA? Although to some they are in league with Satan, craft beers are incomparable to the keg so vilified by Messers Hardman, Lees, Makin and Mellor. CAMRA were originally about breaking the stronghold of the Big Six, increasing choice, flavour and quality; craft certainly ticks these boxes. Although CAMRA do not support craft ale, it developed out of the cask revolution that they brought about.

There has been a lot written in the last few days about the fallout of last weekend’s Annual General Meeting and the outcome of the Revitalisation Project which aimed to bring the campaign up to date. The only change that was defeated was to represent all pubgoers’ interests and all beer and cider drinkers, and then only by 3% of the vote. Despite this CAMRA does continue to be a progressive organisation, remember they coined the term “Real Ale” so they can do what they want with it; be this expanding their remit to real cider and perry or recognising bottle conditioned beers. With a new National Executive containing amongst others the Young Members Coordinator Ash Corbett-Collins, CAMRA will continue to change with the times as it has always done. Having served at this year’s 39th Burton Beer Festival I was encouraged with the amount of next generation beer drinkers present.

I will not be cutting up my membership card, in fact I’d like to propose a toast to the future of CAMRA and you can do it with a pint of cask ale, craft beer, real cider or perry I am not fussed, but certainly not lager; we have to maintain some bloody standards after all.

Derby Inn weekly events

The Derby Inn on Derby Road won the Silver Medal for Local CAMRA Pub of the Year. They have a regular quiz night every Tuesday, with a free cheese board. The winner gets beer! On Wednesdays they do a food night between five and eight o’clock.

Bass is always on and is in excellent condition, they also sell Timothy Taylor Boltmaker and an array of guest ales. It is just down the road from the football ground, so why not pop in for a pint before the game this Saturday?