ALE Monthly No. 211 October 1981

Rambling With Bickerdyke

One of the nice things about September is Cambridge's other beer festival, just over. It's a private one run by the University Sports and Social Club so unless you are a member or can get yourselves signed in you can't enjoy its pleasures. In spite of that, staff of a certain agricultural institute seemed to outnumber University staff for a time on the first evening. Isn't it funny how the same faces seem to appear at the mention of the magic words "beer festival", all enjoying working their way through 17 interesting beers and real draught eiders. Maybe I just enjoy it because I don't have to work at this one but well done lads and I'm already looking forward to your fourth in 1982.

I heard an interesting story from someone at the USSC Festival. Apparently he was down in Porthcawl recently and one evening was drinking in a Welsh Breweries pub. The foolish lad was actually drinking a keg beer called Allbright or some such name. Anyhow having downed six pints of the stuff he left the pub, jumped on his motorbike and roared down the road. Almost immediately he was stopped by the police who asked him to blow up one of their party balloons. Much to his surprise when they examined the crystals in the tube they told him he was below the limit and clear to go. If you can drink six pints of a keg and still pass the breathalyser I defy you to say that that is real beer, or even beer at all. Perhaps W. B. should be investigated under the Trade Descriptions Act.

Mind you, in the pub he had felt it necessary to comment on the magnificent head on the liquid. The landlord proudly told him that it was because they added a special foaming agent! It seemed to be something added to quite a few kegs and lagers and to be akin to modern detergents. The mind boggles - perhaps we could see truth in advertising with such slogans as "Fairy Liquid stays sharp to the bottom of the glass" (who wants sharp beer anyway), "Omo reaches the parts others can't", "Heiniken for longer lasting bubbles" or "Carlsberg washes whiter".

I have seen some adverts recently which said "There's nothing as sterile as S & N". I thought that it was Scottish & Newcastle admitting the truth in Tony Millns article last month but apparently its a firm called Smith & Nesson who manufacture medical supples. On the other hand, maybe Tartan and Kestrel are just a load of eyewash' [Lower down the body - Ed.]

Has anyone consumed enough beer to be able to make sense of the page order in last month's Ale yet? It's the first time I've seen page 4 put between pages 6 & 7. Try and stay sober this month Mr. Editor, sir.

Do you know where there are any old brewery buildings still standing? I am trying to make a photographic record of any remains of the Cambridgeshire brewing industry. I have written records of the existence of at least 100 different 19th and 20th century brewery premises in Cambridge alone and many more for the rest of the county. Most have long since vanished but more or less remains can be seen of, for example, The Star Brewery, Dales Brewery, Scales' Cambridge Brewery, The Globe Brewery, William Ekins Brewry and Potts' Anchor Brewery in Cambridge and Halls and Cutlock & Harlocks breweries in Ely. It is often difficult to locate the exact site of old breweries from written records so if you know of any others please let me know.

I would also be grateful if anyone who has old photographs, drawings or other records of old breweries in the county would let me examine them or even get them copied. I am particularly interested in the "brewing-for-sale" or "wholesale brewing" type of premises described above but would also be interested in records of "home-brew houses."

Information to me care of the Editor please, I will gladly refund postage.

John Bickerdyke Junior


ALE Monthly No. 211 October 1981 : Next section
Cambridge & District CAMRA