So. Farewell then Draught Burton Ale

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2015 by kmflett

So. Farewell then Draught Burton Ale

Roger Protz has made the discovery that Carlsberg Tetley have quietly buried a former Champion Beer of Britain, Draught Burton Ale.

Most recently, according to Protz, is was brewed at JW Lees but Carlsberg decided that it was uneconomic to continue production and stopped in September.

Protz has already provided an admirable summary of the history of the beer:

It is economic vandalism of Carlsberg to first keep very quiet that they were still brewing the beer and then state that since nobody wanted it they’d stop making it.

That said I haven’t tasted a pint for many years and it might not be to my taste now, even assuming it was still being brewed to broadly the 1976 recipe.

In 1976 though to (then) youthful fans of real ale like myself certainly in North London it was proof that the early campaigning work of CAMRA had an impact.

At that time there was little real ale available and much that was, was hardly inspiring then, let alone now. Charringtons ipa and sometimes Bass (by far the best cask available), Courage Best (but very rarely Directors). Watneys and Trumans (Grand Met) were all keg. There was a very small number of outlets for Youngs and Fullers.

DBA at an official OG of 1048 was both markedly stronger and much tastier than anything else on offer though. No wonder, as Protz records, it sold so well.

Often in Ind Coope pubs it was the only handpump on the bar and it was far from always available.

The alternative of craft keg was not then available I’m afraid. Rather it was bottled Guinness which in those days was still bottle conditioned.

I distinctly recall drinking it in afternoon and evening sessions at the Royal Oak in Pages Lane Muswell Hill a pub that I don’t think would otherwise have attracted me at all.

The popularity of DBA was not lost on other brewers. Indeed Watneys introduced a ‘fined ale’ though so reluctant were they to admit that they had been completely wrong about hand pumps that it was sold through an electric engine.

Anyway DBA was a trail blazer and really should not have been allowed to die at the whim of Carlsberg. If they don’t want to brew it perhaps they can now release the rights to someone who does- on the original recipe.

4 Responses to “So. Farewell then Draught Burton Ale”

  1. […] Keith Flett recalls the appeal of DBA in London in the 1970s. […]

  2. I suppose Burton is part of our beer history and, from that perspective, it is sad to see it go. As a young drinker then living in Surrey, Burton was sometimes sold in pubs that offered the utter bilge water that was Friary Meux, and so Burton tended to be preferred by the more discerning drinker.

    However, fortunately, things have improved greatly and nowadays, with the array of really excellent beers available, I doubt I would give Burton a second thought. Why choose a decent beer when you can have a really good one?

  3. As I recall Watney’s Fined Bitter came before Burton. It wasn’t a “proper” cask ale like Burton was, I seem to remember it was served from modified 11 gallon kegs rather than nine gallon casks.
    If Burton was really on song (which wasn’t all that often), it surpassed Bass IMO, which ties in with it winning the GBBF gong whenever that was.

  4. I recall drinking DBA in the Old Mitre Hatton Garden – that would have been in the mid to late 1970s, on occasional return visits while at university in Newcastle; and possibly also into the early ’80s, when back in London and working for PO Telecoms then BT.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: