Bass brewery when proper beer was made.

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jayk34

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The pictures are amazing. Love those old photos, especially the barrels, absolutely jaw dropping.
 

wobblywalker

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Terrific photos, when full scale beer was REAL beer!
Well done 'foxy'
 

trummy

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Do not know if this is correct but I was told by the ex manager of the Bass Museum as it was, that the reason the Union system was developed was because the yeast had an element of top working and also bottom working.
 

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Seaford was the Maltings I believe. I got married in Burton in 1989 in the church across the road from the brewery, there's a photo of us in the arched doorway with the brewery behind. My father in law worked most of his adult life in the brewery bottling plants in Burton. He didn't drink beer, stuck to whiskey!
 

MartinF

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Some more Bass memorabilia...

A couple of photos of the Bass dray I took at CAMRAs GBBF, Alexandra Palace, Aug 1980. And an unopened bottle of Prince's Ale from 1929, which was given to me by a friend having a clear out.
 

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foxy

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I love the emphasis on the "WITH YEAST"! It must have been from between 1963, when home brewing was legalised, and 1971, when currency was decimalised.
But could it have been before. I am currently reading about common brewers and publican brewers. Publican brewers started where anyone could open their house and serve home brewed beer. The houses were so bad that most punters would sit outside while quaffing the ale. As laws changed then purpose built public houses came into being. It would have been a nightmare for customs and excise, the larger levies went on the strength of the beer while a lesser level went on the lower ABV. Publicans would brew and pay the taxes but then mix the two defrauding the drinkers by not giving them what was declared and pocketing the extra money. They government then changed it to putting the taxes on the malt purchased. Even today the tax office works on an equation of raw materials purchased to what is produced. For some reason they didn't don't have the foresight to work into the equation what raw materials has been purchased for 'cash'. It is interesting to see where the words pertaining to Publican brewers came from. Bar is a meaning for barrier to where the beer is brewed say the kitchen to the room where the beer is drunk. Buttery was nothing to do with butter but where the beer casks (butts) were kept. Tap room is self explanatory where the cask was tapped, this was before beer engines where the beer was drawn off by gravity. Really interesting reading, just wish I could have got the book on kindle.
 

Binkei Huckaback

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Can someone explain what 'proper' beer is? I've never had one that was improper towards me. I, on the other hand may not have acted properly towards beer.
 

trummy

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The 1929 ale reminds me of another story the ex museum manager told me.
When dignitaries visited, often he was tasked to go into the cellar and find something that was drinkable to serve. This was from a stock that had built up over decades. So he asked suitable staff members to join him, and then it was a case of sampling until a suitable drinkable brew was identified.
Not quite sure what he meant by that though, was some of the beer past its best, or did he take the opportunity to expand his knowledge of bygone beers?
 

foxy

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Some more Bass memorabilia...

A couple of photos of the Bass dray I took at CAMRAs GBBF, Alexandra Palace, Aug 1980. And an unopened bottle of Prince's Ale from 1929, which was given to me by a friend having a clear out.
I believe there were over 600.000 horses requisitioned for the 1st world war, a lot would have come from the breweries. Over 1,000,000 horses served. Though they were bred for war I think it is sad that those gentle giants would have to face a horror not of their doing. But it was drawn on necessity.
Can someone explain what 'proper' beer is? I've never had one that was improper towards me. I, on the other hand may not have acted properly towards beer.
Proper beer was beer brewed before all the takeovers of breweries, it wasn't always because the brewers needed more brewing capacity but the tied public houses that brewery had, that was the prize. They could then have more establishments to sell there wares. Though it goes against what I believe in (free enterprise) breweries should have been eliminated by the quality of what they produced. If one produced a crap beer then it should be eliminated, just go out of business. Once a brewery gets a good foot hold then they can serve whatever beer they like, that was the demise, no competition get what you are served.
 

MartinF

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When I see the Union system, I can't help but think about the home brewers who, to me, seem obsessive about closed, and pressurised fermentations, closed transfers, yeast infections, oxidation and the like. Yes, I know that most modern breweries have gone that way - the cost to them of things going wrong can be huge, but I (mostly, but not always) adhere to the KISS principle. Good sanitation and reasonable precautions are in order, but that Union system - open to the elements!
 

foxy

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When I see the Union system, I can't help but think about the home brewers who, to me, seem obsessive about closed, and pressurised fermentations, closed transfers, yeast infections, oxidation and the like. Yes, I know that most modern breweries have gone that way - the cost to them of things going wrong can be huge, but I (mostly, but not always) adhere to the KISS principle. Good sanitation and reasonable precautions are in order, but that Union system - open to the elements!
A man after my own heart. Brewing was simple, that is why there were so many publican brewers. It is the home brewers of today who are making things difficult. It only takes one pleb in America taking closed vessel fermentation first recorded by Terri Fahrendorf out of context and a whole new unnecessary form of brewing is born.
 

The-Engineer-That-Brews

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Excellent photos . . . . . I particularly like the one of the Burton Union system - It's a masterpiece of classic old world brewing technology. Its like a plumbers nightmare, and must have taken days to clean 🤔
I've heard of the Burton Union, but know nothing of it... in the photo I see what looks like a system of long troughs, with barrels (?)floating(?) in it... how did it work?
 

The-Engineer-That-Brews

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But could it have been before. I am currently reading about common brewers and publican brewers. Publican brewers started where anyone could open their house and serve home brewed beer.
I walked out into the countryside earlier this week to visit an old pub called the Holly Bush - wonky floors and dark oak beams that must have been old when Noah was a lad. I noticed all the hedgerows for about 200yds either side of the pub (it's on a crossing between two lanes) were thick with hops growing... I wonder if that might indicate the pub used to brew it's own beer back in the day...
 

foxy

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I've heard of the Burton Union, but know nothing of it... in the photo I see what looks like a system of long troughs, with barrels (?)floating(?) in it... how did it work?
I noticed that in the UK as well. Hawthorn hedges with hops growing over them, a clear indication that there was either a farm or brew pub brewing their own beer. That was in Derbyshire where I have read that along with the Black Country was the last bastions of publican brewers. I don't know about the UK but as soon as a small brewery starts to do well over here it gets swallowed up by the conglomerates. Stone & Wood was one but it bought back its shares and is doing well on its own.
 

The-Engineer-That-Brews

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I don't know about the UK but as soon as a small brewery starts to do well over here it gets swallowed up by the conglomerates. Stone & Wood was one but it bought back its shares and is doing well on its own.
I think it depends on the part of the country. Round here, fortunately there are enough people who don't mind paying a bit more to get something really good and we have two properly independent small breweries in the countryside just outside the city: Farr Brew and Three Brewers.

Farr Brew are even driving back the tide a bit, and as of last year they bought three country pubs near the brewery and opened them up to serve their beers. Yesterday I visited this one and it was epic. Beer menu included ales hopped with Citra, NZ hops and Mosaic - bliss.

Elephant and Castle
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