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I'm continuing my kerb crawl through some of the dingier streets of 1920's London draught beer.

So far, the beers have been almost universally crap. Just a single half-decent example. Will Courage do any better?

Courage was one of the breweries on the up between the wars. A series of acquisitions helped boost their tied estate: Camden Brewery in 1923, Farnham United Breweries in 1927, Noakes in 1930, Kidd in 1937 and Hodgson's Kingston Brewery in 1943. Hang on. Why are there no Farnham brewing records at the London Metropolitan Archives? There are ones from all the other breweries in that list.

Lets look back at Courage's performance so far. Their Mild was midddle of the table, eighth of seventeen with an average score of 0.38. They did very well with their Burton Ale, which finished joint second of fourteen, averaging 1.2. The Pale Ale did almost as well, coming fourth from fourteen and averaging 1.25. That's pretty good overall, with every single beer getting a positive score.

There's not much I can say about the beer itself. No, that's not right. Having Courage's brewing records of the period, there's plenty I can tell you. For one, that a significant amount of the gravity came from the primings added at racking time. As brewed, it had a gravity of 1032.7. It was a ton of sugar they added. In one particular example from 1922, about 19.5 quarters of malt and sugar were used in the brewing, but 4 quarters of various sugars were added at racking time. Or about 20% of all the fermentable material.

Time to look at the scores.

Courage Porter quality 1922 - 1923
Year Beer FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation Flavour score Price
1922 Porter 1008 1037 3.77 78.38% fair 1 6d
1922 Porter 1010.2 1037.7 3.56 72.94% poor -1 6d
1922 Porter 1008.4 1035.9 3.57 76.60% v fair 2 6d
1922 Porter 1010.6 1036.6 3.37 71.04% v fair almost good 2 6d
1923 Porter 1013.2 1043.2 3.89 69.44% fair 1 6d
1923 Porter 1012 1039.5 3.56 69.62% fair 1 6d
1923 Porter 1012.2 1036.7 3.17 66.76% nasty flavour -3 5d
1923 Porter 1011.2 1036.2 3.24 69.06% only moderate 0 6d
1923 Porter 1012.6 1035.1 2.91 64.10% poor -1 6d
Average 1010.9 1037.5 3.45 70.88% 0.22
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

Now that's a bit of an improvement. There's a positive average score for a start. Not hugely positive, but still far better than we've seen so far. Only three negative scores and four positive ones.

Courage's pubs are looking a good bet when you're on a long weekend in 1920's London.