Tuesday 31 March 2015

History made in London

On Saturday I went to the Mad Bishop and Bear for Ron's book signing. For those that may have doubted if Fullers is a craft brewery the fact it was £4.20 a bleedin' pint proves it conclusively. Still, at least the beer was good. It was Dr Brown (4.1% ABV), a brown ale brewed to a historic Barclay Perkins recipe.

I'd been looking forward to this for weeks as both Ron and the brewer, Peter Haydon, would be there so it was set to be a beery bonanza for beer bores blather.

Ron and the brewer, Peter Haydon
But on the morning before I set off I was astonished to see something that would upstage the main event: Graham Wheeler said he was going. For those that don't know he's the gentleman that writes CAMRA's home brewing books, and as such was my original beer guru.

Knowing he'd be there was a considerable cause of excitement for me, and my prior plan of taking it easy on my liver but turning up half way through the proceedings went straight out the the window. No way could I risk missing him.

As it happens he took the sensible option and turned up part way through the proceedings, a little apprehensive that his online run-ins with Ron might be a cause of friction. But he had no reason to worry, pubs are much more sociable places than the internet.

The great Graham Wheeler
Much beer was consumed, and much beer burbled on about. Though we had got on to philosophy by the end. The thingness of things seems to have cropped up if I remember rightly. It all made sense at the time, though admittedly not by the next morning. But I was only really interested in the lardiness of fried pork products by then anyway.

It was a cracking do, and well worth the subsequent slow start to Sunday I suffered. 


  1. Am really miffed that I missed it. Well, I was there, but I turned up on the wrong Saturday 28th. Sigh.

  2. I have three of Graham Wheeler’s brewing books sitting on my shelf, although it is a long time since I did any brewing. Informative, well-written and highly practical, I brewed some cracking beers by following Graham’s recipes and guidelines.

    Glad to learn he is still going strong, even if he does look quite a bit older than the picture on the cover of one of his original books!

    1. I often wondered, is the guy gazing at a freshly poured pint on the cover of "Home Brewing" actually Mr. Wheeler?

    2. I think this question came up on the Jim's Beer Kit forum and Graham said the person on the cover was the photographer's assistant not him.

  3. Graham Wheeler5 April 2015 at 08:14

    Why do candid photographs always catch me wearing an expression resembling a peed-orf bloodhound?

    No, it is not me on the front cover of said book, but that was twenty-five years ago and I looked considerably younger in those days too - honest.

    A considerable amount of my early correspondence was from people asking where they could buy a piggy-cask (as they were known), like mine shown in the cover photograph.

    Incidentally, according to Ron's book, Doctor Brown Ale was named after the famous Dr. Johnson, but I have learned from Alfred Barnard that Doctor Brown was the name of a favourite dray horse at Barclay Perkins, The horse died, aged 21 just prior to Barnard's visit to B.P.in the 1880s. Dr. Johnson would probably be quite displeased to be mistaken for a horse, but I suspect that I could be putting the dray before the horse here.

    Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed the day; I should do things like that more often.

    1. Sorry about the photo Graham! It was a good day, and I'm sure a Jims Beer Kit meet up in London wouldn't take much arranging.