Today is the 59th birthday of Ron Pattinson, a brewing historian who writes online at Shut Up About Barclay Perkins. Ron lives in Amsterdam but is obsessed with the British brewery Barclay Perkins, which is what the title of his blog refers to. I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting Ron in person, though we’ve corresponded several times, and we got close earlier this year when he was in Sonoma County. Lew Bryson had a chance to go drinking with Ron a few years ago. Join me in wishing Ron a very happy birthday.
One of the many things I’m obsessed with is games. Since I was a kid, I’ve played them, collected them, and even created them. It’s just one more thing to add to the ever-growing list of things about which I’m particularly geeky. So I was already familiar with the card game Happy Families, which is a fairly simple game, and is somewhat similar to “Go Fish.” But I had no idea that a brewery had made their own version of the game.
Based on the box, it was obviously a giveaway to advertise the Watney’s brand. Intrigued, I would have bought it on the spot, except that, as Boak & Bailey noted, the “Buy It Now” price was a hefty £64.95, or about $100. Beer writing, unfortunately, doesn’t pay well enough to indulge all of my whims. Still, I wanted to know more about the game, and set out to see what I could find.
It was apparently created in England in 1851, by John Jaques II, who was also responsible for inventing “Snakes and Ladders,” “Tiddlywinks,” “Ludo” and the pub favorite “Shove Ha’penny.” It often uses a custom deck of 32 cards, although the game can be played with a standard deck of 52 cards. Cartamundi has the rules online. In the Watney’s version, the rules are printed on the back of the cardboard box:
In the Watney’s version, the families are the Barrels, the Cheerilads, the Combes, the Hops, the Malts, the Reids, the Stouts, and the Watneys. According to The World of Playing Cards:
Although the 1920s was a decade of optimism after the Great War, the Great Depression made the 1930s a difficult time. In Britain unemployment was widespread. As we see from these images, the woman was the homemaker and had a hairdo, and the man worked. The generation of children who grew up in the 1930s would go on to fight in World War II. They had their share of hardships and built strong values of hard work.
Below are the 32 cards from deck:
For two of them, they apparently didn’t have a finished card, so here’s those cards taken from the eBay listing photos.
Hopefully, I can find a less expensive deck of these cards. Great, another item to add to my Wishlist.
Tuesday’s ad is from the English brewer’s “Beer is Best” campaign, from 1951. The campaign began in 1933, and ran for 30 years, and this one shows an idyllic country pub — The Axe and Compass — with a conspicuous church spire behind it. It almost appears that they’re trying to either suggest the pub as church or to associate the two as central to British life (both claims I agree with, BTW). But it looks so perfect one assumes it has to be a fictional, stylized version meant to invoke the romance of the country pub.
But not so fast. The Axe and Compass is an actual country inn located in Hemingford Abbots, 3 miles from St Ives, 6 miles from Huntingdon, and 12 miles from Cambridge. According to their website, the pub dates “back to the 15th century.”
But perhaps the artist did take a few liberties with perspective. That church spire that looms so large in the ad’s illustration appears much less imposing in the photograph from the pub’s website. And even more revealing, placing the inn at roughly the same angle as the drawing using Google Maps Street View, you can barely make out just the tip of the spire above the edge of the end of the pub’s roof past the back chimney. You have to go down Church Lane to see the church, and it doesn’t look nearly as large as it does in the illustration. Still, it’s an awesome image and I suspect it may have been one in a series, which would be even cooler. I know I want to go there now, and if I’m ever in the area, I’d definitely try to have a pint of Timothy Taylor there.
Tuesday’s ad is for the English brewer’s “Beer is Best” campaign, from 1949. The campaign began in 1933, and ran for 30 years, and this one included landlord “Fred Green” — whoever that is — who apparently greets every patron with a “good evening” and a “cheerful smile.” I definitely want to go to that pub.
Thursday’s ad is for the Brewers’ Society, from 1956. Similar to the ads in America by the United States Brewers Foundation that ran around the same time, the British ads used taglines like “Good Wholesome BEER” and “The best long drink in the world!” People are turning red in the face in the tug-of-war contest going on in the ad. I bet I know what they can drink when they’re done building up a thirst. “A cooling drink. A cheering drink. An invigorating drink.”
Tuesday’s ad is for Double Diamond, from 1951, which by that time was part of Ind Coope. It’s part of their “works wonders” series featuring the “Double Diamond Man.” After drinking a Double Diamond, it appears that DDM believes he can stop an armed bank robber singlehandedly. The DDM reminds me of a cross between John Cleese and Rumpole of the Bailey. The ad copy almost sounds like their encouraging such behavior. Dutch courage is one thing, but I’m not sure suggesting drinking a beer will make you a hero is necessarily a good message.
Sunday’s ad is for Whitbread Pale Ale, from 1958. A couple who appears to have been doing some shopping have stopped to peer in a window displaying Whitbread Pale Ale in the window. The sign has the curious phrase “Take away the beer you first thought of.” “Take away” I understand, for which we usually say “to go,” but the rest I don’t understand. “The beer [I] first thought of?” When? Just now? When I had my very first thought about beer? I assume it’s a British idiom that makes sense to an Englishmen, but is incomprehensible to us crass Americans.
Today is UK beer writer Ben McFarland’s birthday. I first met Ben when he was over here working on the CAMRA beer guide to the west coast with Tom Sandham and Glenn Payne. We invited Ben to join us judging Double IPA’s at the Bistro’s Double IPA Festival, which I believe was something of a shock to the system for both Ben and Tom. These days he and Tom are The Thinking Drinkers, performing their “‘The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol,’ a unique comedic drinking show that debuted at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe.'” Join me in wishing Ben a very happy birthday.
Note: The last two photos were purloined from Facebook.
Today is the birthday of English beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones. Adrian’s written several beer books, and writes online at Called to the Bar. I first got to him when he was the editor for 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die, to which I contributed around two-dozen entries. I’ve also seen Adrian at events in London and Belgium since then, and he’s a great person to share a pint with. Join me in wishing Adrian a very happy birthday.
[Note: first and third photos purloined from Facebook.]
Today is also the 61st birthday of Glenn Payne, an Englishman wearing many beer hats. I first met Glenn many moons ago when he was the beer buyer for Safeway in the UK. Since then, we’ve judged together many times at both GABF and the World Beer Cup, and I think once at the Great British Beer Festival, too. He’s been involved with Meantime Brewing among too many projects for me to keep track of, and he’s been a great ambassador for British beer but, perhaps more importantly, for American beer in Great Britain. Join me in wishing Glenn a very happy birthday. Cheers, mate.
With Chris and Cheryl Black, owners of the Falling Rock, Mark Dorber, formerly the publican of the White Horse in London (and now owner of the Anchor) and Glenn Payne at the Brewers Reception at Wynkoop during GABF Week in 2007.