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The Secret Life of Beers
By Kirsty Walker
If like me you find the conversation can dry up after 12 solid drinking hours, read on and furnish your pickled brain with some proper knowledge on our malty best friends.
This trendy witbieren was on its arse back in 1955. The Belgian Hoegaarden brewery (named after the town) closed its doors and it was left to a milkman called Pierre Celis to brew some up in hay loft ten years later. Demand was still high and times were good, until a massive fire claimed the new brewery in 1985 and Celis had to take the InBev dollar to rebuild it. He complained that InBev wanted to change the traditional recipe to make the beer more mass marketable, and took his ball home, starting the new Celis Brewery in Texas. InBev tried to close the Hoegaarden brewery and move it but local protests stopped them in their tracks and the beer continues to be brewed there.
The traditional many sided Hoegaarden glass comes in 12 sizes, from a tiny shot glass used for product launches to a 12 pint version which InBev claim is for 'display purposes only'.
Henry Boddington, John Smith and Joshua Tetley – or the Holy Trinity as I call them – are the fathers of modern British Bitter. Joshua bought the Leeds brewery in 1822 and in 1839 made his son a partner in the new Joshua Tetley and Son Brewery. By the sixties the company was expanding and merged with the Warrington Walkers (of which I am not one – my family were the other Warrington Walkers, much to my shame), the start of many name changes and buyouts until the word Tetley was dropped from the brand all together and Carlsberg UK became the brewer.
In 1911 Tetley's challenged Harry Houdini to escape from a cask of their ale. He didn't manage it, and indeed who would want to?
Synonymous with Ireland but based on a porter, which originated in London. So concerned were the brewery with quality they hired a statistician called William Sealy Gosset to work out which were the best yielding varieties of barley. To prevent Guinness secrets being revealed he was never allowed to publish academic papers under his own name, and his greatest work, Student's t-distribution, was published under this pseudonym. I haven't the foggiest what this t-distribution means but basically whenever you use Microsoft Excel you're using it.
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