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18-12-2015, 08:06
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How could I have forgotten Bitter? Only the second most popular style of the day. I blame Pale Ale.

Because in my own table I make no distinction between Bitter and Pale Ale. I list both as Pale Ale. Why? Because there is no effing difference between them. Simple as that. No need to make things any more complicated than they already are. You can see the confusion of the two terms was common: several of the brands in the table are called Pale Ales.

I’m sort of wondering how they came to classify some beers as Pale Ales and others as Bitters. They haven’t even used the conventional Bitter = draught, Pale Ale = bottled divider. It all just seems . . . random.

As only one of the breweries – Everard’s – still exists, it should come as no shock that most of these beers are long gone. Ruddle’s County is the only one to have survived, though obviously not at its home brewery. I’m surprised it made the list. In the 1950’s, Ruddle’s was a tiny brewery in a not very fashionable part of the country.

I can remember seeing bottles of English Stock – with its distinctive, garish label – in Whitbread pubs in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Fremlins was, of course, long gone by then. But the brand continued a sort of zombie exietence. I was never tempted to try it, just intrigued by the odd labels.

Getting back to County, it was a very trendy beer, in its day, amongst nerdier drinkers. Never cared for it myself. I always found it too sweet and heavy. Mind you, I didn’t like their Ordinary Bitter, Blue, much more. Just one of those breweries whose beers just didn’t appeal for some reason.

Nice to see Newark beer Hole's Golden Age make the cut.

Branded IPA in 1953


Hartley's Brewery
Golden Star
Best Bitter

G. Ruddle
County Ale
Best Bitter, bottled

Alton Court Brewery
Diamond Pale Ale

Alton Court Brewery
Queen's Ale

Bents Brewery
King Hal

H. & G. Simonds
Reading Pale Ale

James Hole
Golden Age

Tennant Brothers
Queen's Ale

Thomas Ramsden

Whitwell, Mark
Amber Ale

Fremlins Ltd.
English Stock
Bitter Ale

The Ely Brewery
Golden Gleam
Bitter Ale

Moors' & Robson's
Red Cap
Bitter Beer

Buckley's Brewery
Special Welsh
Bitter, bottled

John Aitchison
Best Cellar
Bitter, bottled

West Auckland Brewery
Oak Tree

Red Crown
Burton Bitter

Duncan Gilmour
Windsor Ale
Draught Bitter

Newcastle Breweries
Exhibition Pale Ale
Draught Bitter

Lamb Brewery
Strong Bitter


Brewery Manual 1953-1954, pages 382 - 394.

I’ve definitely not finished. I spotted some other categories I’ve missed when plucking this set.

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