Clowes, Newbury and Maddox, Bermondsey, London, 1827

brew-house-stoney-lane-bermondseyThe brewery of Clowes, Newbury and Maddox sat on Stoney Lane in Bermondsey, London. The late Georgian artist John Chessell Buckler created a number of images from the district of Bermondsey. The watercolour of Clowes, Newbury and Maddox was painted in 1827. Charles Clowes, John Newbury and Erasmus Maddox that is. In 1868, the image was owned by the Corporation of London. I know nothing of Bermondsey other than what I read from Boak and Bailey or Stonch about the Bermondsey beer mile, something of last year’s model apparently. A place of rubbish-strewn industrial estates. Huge groups of lads getting pretty drunk, stag parties. Sounds fairly Georgian. Clowes, Newbury and Maddox were in operation in 1794. Charles Clowes was an admirable man, a lawyer turned brewer. He installed one of James Watt’s engines in 1796, even though he is reported to have refused the idea in 1785 after making inquiries. It is mentioned in a very interesting passage from 1805:

…the very capital malt distilleries at Vauxhall, Battersea, Wandsworth, and Kingston,. the large porter breweries of Messrs. Barclay, Clowes, Holcomb, &c. together with the infinity of pale beer breweries in the Borough of Southwark, and dispersed through every town and Tillage in the county, cannot be at a loss to account for the magnitude of the demand for this article.

Note. The infinity of pale beer breweries – not of households brewing pale beer – meeting the demand.








The brewery of Clowes, Newbury and Maddox seems to fit into Buckler’s interest in interesting and dilapidated structures from the previous century or before. He was an architect who was the son, brother and father of architects. The images are largely lifeless or rather at least without human participants. Their effect is sometimes present. The ruts in the road. Idle carts. His views illustrate scenes from the mapping I have been poring over. The Three Tuns public house on Jacob Street, Bermondsey to the left. The Duke’s Head Public House in Red Cross Street in the middle. The King’s Head Inn on the East Side of the High Street, Southwark to the right. The places Buckler took and interest in can be found on Greenwood’s Map of London from 1827 if you nose around a bit. The Duke’s Head lasted until at least 1874.

Considering The Badness Of Beer In 1800s Britain

Hail, Beer!
In all thy forms of Porter, Stingo, Stout,
Swipes, Double-X, Ale, Heavy, Out-and-out,
Most dear,
Hail! thou that mak’st man’s heart as big as Jove’s!
Of Ceres’ gifts the best!
That furnishest
A cure for all our griefs: a barm for all our—loaves!
Oh! Sir John Barleycorn, thou glorious Knight of
May thy fame never alter!
Great Britain’s Bacchus! pardon all our failings,
And with thy ale ease all our ailings!

That’s the first bit of “Ode to Beer” from the Comic Almanack for 1837. What a jolly bauble. Exactly what we largely like to tell ourselves about the merry merry world of the past. Dickens without all the bad bits. The view from outside the Bermondsey¹ public house, as above, in 1854. As we all rush about finding older records to share about beer and brewing in, mainly, the English speaking world, I have wondered about the difference between the official record and the actual experience. By official, I don’t mean governmental or even sanitized so much as the accepted. The approved version. One of the biggest problems leading to the approved version is the love of drawing conclusions or, more honestly perhaps, the use of records to justify comfortable conclusions. We want things to be explicable but we want to be comforted. For authority to be correct we want it to align with out needs. It rarely does. But authorities won’t tell you that. Authority has another interest. Consider this passage in a book entitled England as Seen by an American Banker: Notes of a Pedestrian Tour by Claudius Buchanan Patten published in 1885:

I was at some pains to get at the following authentic statement of methods of beer adulteration. A member of London’s committee on sewers —an eminent scientist — puts forth the declaration that “It is well known that the publicans, almost without exception, reduce their liquors with water after they are received from the brewer. The proportion in which this is added to the beer at the better class of houses is nine gallons per puncheon, and in second-rate establishments the quantity of water is doubled. This must be compensated for by the addition of ingredients which give the appearance of strength, and a mixture is openly sold for the purpose. The composition of it varies in different cases, for each expert has his own particular nostrum. The chief ingredients, however, are a saccharine body, as foots and licorice to sweeten it; a bitter principle, as gentian, quassia, sumach, and terra japonica, to give astringency; a thickening material, as linseed, to give body; a coloring matter, as burnt sugar, to darken it; cocculus indicus, to give a false strength; and common salt, capsicum, copperas, and Dantzic spruce, to produce a head, as well as to impart certain refinements of flavor. In the case of ale, its apparent strength is restored with bitters and sugar-candy.”

Now, this is interesting. And not because all the horrible gak was added to beer back then as it is being again added to beer now. But because it includes the admission of wide spread watering down at the pub. Watered down poisonous gak. Which leads to the question of what people were really experiencing as they looked down into the murky depths of a pewter quart pot a century and a half ago. It makes me wonder it might mean for all those records Ron has dug out of public libraries and brewery attics. The badness of beer by these sorts of additives appears to have arisen after legal changes in 1862 as The British Farmer’s Magazine advised in 1875. But there are other issues, more to do with quantity than quality. This passage from The Farmer’s Magazine of 1800 is simply depressing:

There are some persons who do not drink malt liquor at all; most people of fortune and fashion drink it very sparingly; while great numbers of the lower orders, particularly coalheavers, anchor-smiths, porters, &c. drink it to great excess, even, it Is supposed, to the amount of five hundred, or one thousand gallons a year each. Upon the whole, I apprehend the quantity of malt liquor consumed in the county, would almost average a hundred gallons per head of all ages and conditions. One thousand gallons per annum, is nearly, on an average, about 14 bottles of ale or porter per day, and is almost equal to what is passed through many drains, made to carry off the superabundant moisture from the earth… upwards of three millions of money are expended by the labouring people, upon ale, porter, gin, and compounds, which is 25I. per family of that description of persons. If wages, on an average, be 12s per week, the amount per ann. is 32I. 4s. which leaves only 7I. 4s. for purchasing bread, butcher meat, vegetables, and clothes!

Holy frig. Perhaps we might take a moment to thank our lucky stars that we are not living when our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents were scraping together their existence. When I tweeted the stats in that passage above, the good hearted Lars responded “I would guess a large proportion of that was small beer.” One does live in hope but, really, it’s unlikely isn’t it. The life of the industrial labourer and his family was simply horrible before the public health movement. In 1835, harvesting labourers required a gallon of beer every day for a month. In that same issue of The Farmer’s Magazine that that fact came from, there is a very interesting suggestion in an argument on why public houses were not going away despite their menace, why the labouring man had no choice:

…as to the temptation of company at the public-house or the beer-shop, would it not exist in precisely the same degree if the labourer had a cask of beer in his cellar brewed by himself, as if he had a cask purchased of the public brewer? If there were a disposition to avoid that temptation, and to drink his beer at home with his wife and family, what now prevents the labourer from purchasing a cask of beer and so consuming it? Nothing that would not equally apply to his purchasing malt and brewing his own beer. And if he had a cask, what security is there that his wife or children would not consume the greater part of it while he was absent at his daily labour? And would not he himself he likely to fall into the temptation of consuming it most improvidently either alone or with his companions?

We love to see things through rose coloured glasses. When we are not looking through amber coloured beer goggles ourselves. All but the first of the quotes and links are Georgian and pre-date temperance. When alcohol was so normal it was just a personal failing to let it affect your life as it washed over and through you. I honestly do not know what to make of it all. Have we simply forgotten the grim and bought into comforting fictions about the recent past? Accepted some sort of Jacksonian romance? My first reaction to it all is to praise the campaigners, to scribble a prohibition pamphlet – but then I remember that 1832 impromptu drinking party a traveler came upon in a cellar in Albany, NY:

…there was no brutal drunkenness nor insolence of any kind, although we were certainly accosted with sufficient freedom. After partaking of some capital strong ale and biscuits, we returned to our baggage apartment, and wrapping ourselves in greatcoats and cloaks…

The surprise of joy? Or a wallowing in the familiar? Or the land of liberty overlaid upon the event instead of the lives of those in the dark Satanic mills?

¹Yes, that one.

Tom And Bob Drink With Coal Porters In Masquerade


A break from the maps… yet more of the rats’ warren of Georgian information online. I have no idea what I am going to do with it. Seems a bit of a waste. But then you find this, Real Life In London, Volumes I and II by one Pierce Egan. It’s an 1821 fictional exploration of London’s nightlife high and low by gentlemen cousins Tom and Bob – including a drinking session in a pub known as the Black Diamond… or Charley’s Crib wearing “tatter’d garments and slouch’d hats” to hide their identities:

…they were in a house of call for Coal Porters. Before the president (who, by way of distinction, had turned the broad flap of his coal-heaving hat forward in the fashion of a huntsman’s cap) was placed a small round table, on which stood a gallon measure of heavy wet. On his right sat a worn-out workman fast asleep, and occasionally affording his friends around him a snoring accompaniment to a roar of laughter.

As you know I enjoy seeing what is to be found in an image of pub life like this one from 1775 but the adventures of Tom and Bob go the next step and add text description to the information in the image. You can read the story yourself. It’s not much good 194 years after the fact but look at the information that’s stuck away in there:

• Drinks: They are drinking quarts of ale. Porter-pots. There is a gallon pitcher in the middle of the floor on a small table. Punch served in bowls but taken by the glass.

• Manners: hats stay on. A penny is placed in a dish for seemingly unending supply of tobacco. No credit. Singin’ and dancin’ for each other is the entertainment.

• Slang: the drinking session is a “heavy-wet”. Not sure what “blue ruin” is… no, I go – it’s gin. They all seem to have an accent with “v for “w” – why? “Quawt” for quart. “Toast” has the modern meaning.

• Space: The tables are set in a horseshoe. Candle light. Service from the middle. The text says this is a public house but it seems more like a club.

In itself, its not going to win the Nobel for literature anytime soon. But at well over 800 pages, a pretty extensive effort to describe the scene even if through the lens of two upper class twits. Hardly lines up with the stories told in the court reports from about the same time. Which is fine. That case of the ten year old getting off murder charges in 1756 after throwing a knife into the chest of mom’s abusive boyfriend was a bit much.

Session 99: A Little Mild And A Little Excitement


This month’s edition of The Session is hosted by Velky Al who asks us to consider American mild. Mild of the Americas? Pan-American mild? I am game. After all, the Western Hemisphere is the happeningist hemisphere if all.

Mild. I actually have had two glasses of the stuff over the last few months. Here in the central section of the hemispheric upper quarter. That is an upgrade from most years here in Ontario where mild is rare as… as… a very rare thing. That glass above? I had it in Toronto in early December. After the day of sitting in a strange city studying the difference between a semi-colon here and a comma there, considering whether “shall” or “must” is better placed in that sentence. Seriously. Contract drafting skills are not particularly thrilling. So, a stop at C’est What, a bar I wrote about a decade ago, was needed. The venerable basement tavern has always struck me as Toronto’s rec room and the pint or two of mild fit right in and washed away the classroom, the grammar and the concrete landscape of 90 degree angles before I jumped on the train back home.

mild2Two months later I was in small town Ontario – Collingwood on Georgian Bay – and we stopped for a great dinner at Northwinds Brewhouse. Again, a reviving hit of malt and lush fluidity framed rather than cut but modest hopping. And under 4%, the drink didn’t hamper my ability to take on the last leg of the trip to the hotel another hour down the road. Brewmaster Bartle had three beers on under that level of strength – the mild, a grodziskie and a farmhouse ale – the details of which you can see on the chalkboard if you squint at that photo… yes, there… way in the back. Yup.

But that is it. Good news? Well, I’d like more but at least this all represents and improvement over Session #3 which was also about mild ale. Back in 2007 I really couldn’t find one. Had to post a picture of a book to find something to talk about. I was a bit naive, too. I wrote “you are never going to see a flavoured mild or an extreme mild.” AHHAAHHAHHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHA. Had I but known how stooooopid craft beer was going to get over the intervening years. What a fool I was.

“Selling Beer and Keeping Houses of Rendezvous”

barrie2One of the good things about being in my job is the records one comes across or co-workers with an interest in history share with you. I got this tidbit below in my email last week. That’s from the first document I came across in a larger scanned file called “Tavern Inspectors Records 1849-1853“.

To the Honourable the Municipal Council of the Township of Pittsburgh in Session aforementioned, We the Undersigned Tavern Keepers of the Village of Barriefield humbly and respectfully sheweth – whereas that there are persons residing in the said Village or premises adjoining Selling Beer and Keeping Houses of Rendezvous against the Law and to the great Desparagement of Her Majesty her [maybe “Crown”?] and Dignity seeing that we have to pay to the [?] the sum of Eight pounds with additions whereas these are paying [odd symbol for “zippo”] therefore we humbly beg your Honours will be pleased to look into the prayer of this our petition and dispell all such Houses unless they pay the same apportioned as in the City of Kingston vis [?] and we humbly beg that if such is granted that this shall be [?] for seeing that if such is not stopped we Your Petitioners will not be able to pay the Monies apportioned. But trusting that Your Honours will be pleased to looking into the prayer of this Petition and as In duty bound.

Barriefield is a small village in a largely rural township that was amalgamated into the City of Kingston in 1998. It was originally set up in the War of 1812 as an officer’s residence area associated with nearby Fort Henry. The document seems to be dated from 18 April 1850. It’s title on the back page is blurry and ink blot messy but seems to state Petition of [blah, blob, blur] for Beer Shops. It looks like the Tavern Keepers of Barriefield were not happy with the informal competition. I like the suggested threat, too: shut them down or we will maybe not pay our fees. That is the “zippo” emoticon circa 165 years ago in question up there, by the way. Click on it for a bigger bit of the document. I would also attach the whole file but it’s an 80 page pdf. Oh, what the hell. Have a look. By the way, a notation in the petition states that the matter was referred to the next Session and a bylaw was to be prepared… in case you are keeping track.

The beginning of the well regulated marketplace. What follows in those 80 pages is the licensing of all sorts of establishments in the community over the next few years. Afrirmations that the applicant is an honest, steady and sober man. The Township of Pittsburgh hadn’t been long in existence on the date of that first petition of April 1850. In the emails I was sent, there was also another file with the Minutes of the Midland District Municipal Council, a larger regional jurisdiction that was only abolished in 1849. So, one of the first things the new government has to deal with is the standardizing of licensing of the taverns and beer shops. Maybe it was just the fact of a thirsty British military base down the road. Or maybe it was the need to provide regulation as the Georgian ways of the century’s first have gave way to new Victorian expectations.

New York: Last Bar Seat, Allen Street Pub, Albany

allen3I have to say. I didn’t expect it. Don’t get me wrong. I have known for a long time that I love neighbourhood bars in the US. I spent a great summer evening a decade ago with pals of a pal in Maine watching the All-Star game in a place down by the working wharves. The place was the shape of a cinder block and was made up entirely of cinder blocks. I drank Allagash White and then PBR before the money ran out. I love the idea of walking down the block to a place for a beer even though it does not exist in much of Canada outside of the cities where green things don’t grow. Doesn’t exist in much of any place where the planners have played a role. But there it was. And there I was, too.

The photo above is from the end of the bar at the Allen Street Pub in Albany, New York. That’s it. If I was a cheese eating school boy, I might insert some sort of pretendy disclaimer but let’s be honest – free beer is “money + alcohol” innit. Paul gave us the run of the taps though I hope the tipping went some way to match the beers poured for us. There is no avoiding the history of the western world. The bar is owned by Craig’s pal of decades. Paul. The place opened right after prohibition ended and sits among houses on a side street. A municipal planner’s nightmare. It’s filled with local memorabilia with a definite lean towards Albany’s history of military service. It’s also filled with folk from nearby having a beer. Normal. Beer in a normal place.














Here’s the thing. Over the few hours we were there I came to the understanding that this was one of the greatest times in a bar I have ever had. It was perfect. It was so perfect that while one in our group was keen to take me on at an argument about craft beer, I realized I was sitting in a dark tiny pub in a foreign land sucking on a rosemary laced saison as Led Zep’s “Kashmir” roasted out the speakers. While, yes, dark and tiny it could serve as a test site for the Bose speakers Paul had installed. The narrow bar had five distinct spaces: cans in the rear, the cooler with its kegs and bottles, back of the bar plus the old bar top and the new one. If you look at that photo above you will see the division. Before he took it over and expanded, the tavern was just that bit at the front – maybe 18 by 30 feet tops. When we got in the place, we grabbed the back bar with its four seats. The front two-thirds of the place was already well settled by guys drinking macros or a shot or both having a good Friday night. Mere feet away I was having a pint of Black IPA with a balancing splash of brown ale handed to me. And then something else. Again, let’s be honest: I was not conflicted. I had given in. Only an idiot wouldn’t.

What did it all mean? It was more like a village pub in some place where I have family in Scotland than most places I had been in North America. Think I had only seen a place this small on this side of the Atlantic maybe in Newfoundland. No dive and not even a joint. A place in the neighbourhood. Normal. Three beer engines, too. He plans to add more. Paul is even running a cask festival in a few weeks. I expect to be in Canada when that is on. Probably in my basement watching TV. A couple of bus rides away from the next nearest good place to hang out. Thanks a lot, fifty years of urban design.

The Beer On My Path To Owen Sound And Back


I had one of those happy sad events over the weekend, a remembrance of someone two generations older than me, forty-eight years older to be exact. I won’t get into details but suffice it to say that anyone who ensured there was a good beer in the fridge was an ally as much as anything. The weekend was moderation itself with plenty of time spent listening to stories of generations past as well as seeing who might make the funniest strangest face, me or a seven year old. But there were stops and there were meals. So – as a service – I offer a few thoughts.








I will mention the last first. On the road home, we stayed off the main highways given the snow and went with the 1930s era ones, now secondary roads. Which brought us into the towns on the north shore of Lake Ontario. In Trenton, we came across Port Bistro Pub. A burger for me which I might have enjoyed more had the other plates not looked better. The picture above in the middle does not do justice to the architectural nachos consumed by the boy. The salsa was light and lime while the cabbage cole slaw was cut with shredded green apple. You wanted that intel, correct? I mean one needs to project to all parts of the theatre, no? Fine. I admit it. The reason for that all is as background to me now mentioning the one glass of milk stout I had which was made by Gateway Brewing, also of Trenton. It was good. I shall hunt it out again. I took no notes so that is about it. Sorry. Did I mention I was six hours into a none hour snowy drive? Worth a visit.








On the way up, I was more prepared. Or at least I aimed and when I found Northwinds Brewhouse, I had… a burger. But as it was a burger eaten on a Friday unaware of the one I order on the next Sunday. I shouldn’t have had two. But I should have had this one. I had a gratzer as well as a mild. I did make the mental note that it was really grodziskie. But then I noted that these were two of the three beers under 4%. And each passed a critical test, the favour of the one who doesn’t really like beer. I took away the 3.8% farmhouse ale, too. That’s the bottle shop’s chalk board up there. All extremely well made and all the beers entirely avoiding the trend of adjunct craft. No phony baloney fruit sauces in the saison, no silly “vanilla note from a vanilla note giving” bourbon barrel aging. Just that sort of well managed expert brewing that occurs when the basic ingredients meet an intelligent ambitious brewer. I like. Oh, and the chance of a fried egg on your chips. That helps, too.

What did the two places have in common. The spaces were clean, contemporary and well suited for the offerings. I particularly liked how Northwinds employed some clever sound dampening panels up in the rafters. Made what might otherwise have been a bit of an echo laden industrial space into a very strong candidate for my favourite Ontario beer house. Port Bistro? It was the wall of glass facing the river. Another faces the road. So tidy I might have felt awkward if that was an emotion I was capable of feeling.

Looking Out The Window Of A Pub


It’s one of my favorite things to do, sitting looking out the window of a pub. This was last Monday afternoon. The Bow Bar in Edinburgh. I was just getting used to the time zone and would fly out the next day. Two guys standing at the bar in the small one room space were providing the background track to the seat with a view. Apparently, the Bow Bar is packed on weekends but who sits in bar staring out the window on weekends? It’s something to do when your colleagues are at work. When you could be writing a report. Making plans. Paying bills.

Back From That Trip To Scotland That I Mentioned…


I was away for a week on a business trip to Scotland. A whole week? Well, as I am the son of two of those Scots who took to the four corners of the world, I did add a couple of days of vacation but, much to my surprise, it also took 33 hours of travel to get from where I am to where I was going and then, for unknown reasons, well over 20 hours to get back. Evil ocean. Where are the supersonic subs I was promised in comic books as a kid? So while the jet lag isn’t as bad when traveling west, I still need to put things in order. A bit of a photo travelogue, then, tonight. A slide show.











I had not sought out the Bow Bar in Edinburgh before but if there was a ticking habit in my life I feel my one pint in the corner was one big check mark on page one. image247I was not actually hunting it out and had it in entirely the wrong place in my mind, over at the west end of Rose Street. Probably something else wonderful that I am unaware of is over there. We found ourselves standing next to it when I was hunting out a shop to buy things made of wool. I had a pint of their 3.8% house Bowhemian Ale brewed for them by Alechemy Brewing. It was testimony to the pointlessness of beer over a certain strength. Lots of body. Refreshing in the middle of a march around the town. Interesting with plenty to think about.











The day before the goal was well understood. We headed directly to the door of the Cafe Royal near Waverley Railway Station where we had stood in the summer only to be told the kids could not come in. The laws on kids and bars in Scotland can get quite frustrating but do allow one to consider leaving them behind on another continent with the in-laws. The place is magnificent. The opposite of the study in plainness that is the Bow Bar.











That was good, having the night before been at an event at Glasgow City Chambers where I sat down to dinner with – I kid you not – a Sir, a Lord, a Lady, a High Commissioner, two Right Honourables, a Baillee and… a Baroness. Got piped in and everything. image261The Cafe Royal is second only to the rooms in that municipal palace for grandeur. Not a word I use often. Grandeur. Back at the Cafe Royal, I had cullen skink as well as some smoked salmon along with a couple of pints, ROK IPA as well as an Edinburgh Pale Ale. The latter was a gem. Just 3.4% with a black tea malt lingering finish there was plenty of malt in the body. The tiled art on the southern wall of the bar is quite the thing. It appears to be a selection of great moments in science’s benefits to mankind. More on those tiles here.

The Piper Bar off George Square in Glasgow and into a weird flashback into pop metal of the 1980s and ’90s. I had a couple of pints of Bitter and Twisted as we head bobbed along with the crowd to Metallica, Iron Maiden and AC/DC. It was pretty refreshing after an evening at the high table. There were airport beers, too. A 4% Camden Pale Ale at Heathrow on the way home and an 8% Wellington Imperial Stout on the way there at Toronto Pearson. The CPA was more expensive. A lunch at The Beehive Inn on Grassmarket to the south of Edinburgh Castle featured whitebait. I want whitebait all the time now. It’s like smelt. But more like smelt-lettes. French fries made of the whole body of a tiny fish. A cheery 4.2% Crofters’ Pale Ale by An Teallach Ale Company of Camusnagaul, Dundonnell, Little Loch Broom went down with that. Just enough to get me out the door and, about an hour and a half later, into the Bow Bar.













What to make of all this? Certainly that there is plenty of good beer to be found even when you are not hunting it out if you are in the right sort of community and know what to look for. No sessions. Just one here. Another there. And certainly there is plenty of good beer well under the 5% lower limit that is so common in much of North America. Think I am going to head over to my local brewery and propose a collaboration. Which is code for pushy beer writer who wants a beer he can’t get. That’s it, right? Anyway, home again. Where the houses are larger and warmer. Where the grass is not a lovely shade of green in January. Where you don’t have to tip the help because it’s your teenager.

Ontario: Bar Hop, 391 King St W, Toronto


Being in the Big Smoke for proper reasons, I took the chance to let Jordan pick someplace that I hadn’t been to before. He chose Bar Hop. Over a couple of hours we talked about writing books, the neat and younger crowd, the beers and other gossipy things like who has the unpaid social media interns.

Standing at the bar as we waited for a table, I was handed a pint of County Durham Session Ale. It was in very good form at 4.4%, $6.95. I say pint as it was thankfully in a nonic but I noticed later that the pour was called 18 oz. Which is open and fair and transparent. It also was what most other pubs would serve as a full pour. Soon we sat in the dark and sorta noisy back of the bar. An unidentical pint of the County Durham Session Ale was then placed before me. Jordan leafed through the menu and picked out favourite. A rye saison was very nice. Sawdust City made it. My beer turned out to be another lovely lighter sort of beer but not cask at all, not what I thought I had asked for… or as I saw later was billed for. Nutty, nitro head even… perhaps. It was also quite nice.

The nonic emptied over a half an hour, We had starters. Jordan had almost half a pint of olives placed before him. I had cod cakes. He had a lot of olive. I had just enough cod cake. Then I had a gose. Very light at 3.8% was a slightly salty Sunny D but in an OK way… sorta… he said politely. I mentioned that Toronto seems to like a fruit flavoured core to a beer judging by this and my last trip. Jordan recommended a beer by a very reputable brewer that tasted like bubblegum dissolved in an IPA to me. I handed the rest to him. Sometimes it’s an added ingredient, some sauce. Sometimes it’s that heavy hand with the mango flavoured hop. I prefer beer to have graininess of one sort or another. A beer where the ingredients come together to make flavours composed of them but not of any one of them. Not a fully popular view apparently in Toronto these days but it’s a blip.











We then both got into our main meals, flank steak with salad for me, and both tucked into Kingston’s Stone City wheat ale called Sons of Sydenham. Seeing as Lord Sydenham had, we are told, a pretty debauched life during his short term as Governor General of the newly United Canada of the 1840s, it seemed an odd name for such an evening of light beers. It was, however, clearly the best. You could taste all the beeriness of the beer. It’s was intended in fact to taste of beer which is handy in, you know, a beer. Made the night along with the service, the food, the hum of the room and the strange table manners of the neighbours.

We left Bar Hop and talked some more as we walked. About the impending crisis which could not quite be defined. About the need to have a car. The architect behind that church facade. The idea of having unpaid social media interns.