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Bottle Conditioned Beers

[IMAGE] Bottle Conditioned Beers

Beers are produced by soaking malted barley in hot water to extract the sugars so that the yeast can take in the sugars as food, give off carbon dioxide and deposit alcohol as a by-product of their life. Most beers have are pasteurised and totally cleansed of yeast, carbonated and put in a container, be it keg, plastic, bottle or what ever. The contents will be dead!

Many years ago we could get bottled beer that was still alive and kicking, having had the yeast allowed into the bottle (or reintroduced as a different strain) so that a secondary fermentation could occur in the bottle.

Bottle conditioned beers (BCB's) could be allowed to age like a fine wine. The law requires that bottled beers have a "sell by" or "best before" date but this can be meaningless to something that improves with age. Indeed, certain bottle conditioned beers are only at their best after several years. Such beers have a natural sediment and require a steady hand when pouring - unless of course you like the sediment. Worried? Don't be. The sediment is only brewers yeast, something you would have to pay for in a health shop!

Many public houses around the province could never have the custom for real ale served from a cask via a hand pump. However, they did have a growing custom for bottle conditioned beers that could sit on the shelf for a long time while it just got better. Worthington White Shield was the mainstay of campaigns many years ago by the N. Ireland CAMRA branch (who have since failed to agnise it even though nationally it gets full publicity). Many pubs who stocked such beers went on to serve cask conditioned ale. In those days, about ten years ago, there were only several BCB's. Today they number in several hundred! If you are interested then try the latest edition of Jeff Evans book "The Good Bottled Beer Guide" available from CAMRA from this September.

I, for one, would like to see BCB's brought back to the province's pubs, clubs and restaurants - not just off-licenses. If I ever get enough time then I guess I will have to start a one man campaign.

If anyone remembers White Shield in pubs or at the Belfast Beer Festivals and would like to see it (or any other BCB) then get in touch please.

REAL ALE IN A BOTTLE ACCREDITATION SCHEME

[IMAGE] Camra LogoCAMRA will soon be launching an accreditation scheme at the Great British beer festival, Olympia, at the start of August. This scheme forms two parts. Accreditation logo (pictured above), and a method of dispense devised in consultation with eligible breweries. The method is defined by CAMRA as:

"Yeast is the hallmark of a natural beer and produces a sparkle and sediment characteristic of all living beers. Store upright. Serve slightly chilled and pour with care to leave the natural sediment in the bottle. Optimum serving temperature (specified by the brewery)."

WAS BOTTLE CONDITIONED BEER POPULAR IN THE PROVINCE?

I think the following list, compiled for the N. Ireland branch Newsletter in the mid 1990's, and confirmed by Bass (Ireland) at the time, says it all. Although you can get foreign sedimented beers in some bars, sadly, there are no more on-license outlets for UK BCB's that I am currently aware of. Here is the "once upon a time" list. READ THEM AND WEEP!

AHOGHILL

BALLYEASTON

BALLYWALTER

BANGOR


BELFAST

Rowan Arms

Staffie Carmichael's

Glenshesk

Jenny Watts
Pickie Bowling Club

BBC Club
Belfast Rowing Club
Bittles' Bar
Brown's Restaurant
Capstan Bar
Collegian's RFC
Crown Liquor Saloon
Crow's Nest
Cutters Bar
Duke of York Bar
Elms Bar
Joxor Bar
Kitchen and Parlour Bars
Linenhall Bar
Nick's Warehouse
Portside Bar
Roost Bar
Somerton Inn
St. Malachy's Old Boys
Strand Restaurant
Thompson's Garage
Ulster Sports Club


COLERAINE

DUNDONALD

GLENGORMLEY



HILLSBOROUGH


HOLYWOOD


LIMAVADY

LISBURN

NEWCASTLE

NEWTOWNARDS

RAVARNET

TOOME

WARINGSTOWN

Fairley's Bar

Civil Service Club

Crown and Shamrock Bar
Whittley's Bar

Harlequinns
Plough

Bear
Dicken's
Old Priory

Owen's Bar

Robin's Nest

Brook Cottage Hotel

Huntsman

Tidy Doffer

Crosskeys

The Grange


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