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Author Topic: More beer style myths from Martyn Cornell  (Read 982 times)

Offline denny

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Offline Megary

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Re: More beer style myths from Martyn Cornell
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2022, 02:05:32 pm »
Last time it was "Irish red ale". This time it's lambic

https://zythophile.co.uk/2022/10/31/is-everything-you-have-ever-read-about-the-history-of-lambic-and-gueuze-totally-wrong-raf-meert-thinks-so/

To be clear, Martyn makes no claim one way or the other.  He just discusses the book Lambic, written by Raf Meert, whose evidence Martyn acknowledges he cannot evaluate.

Is Meert’s version of history accurate? I can’t tell you. As I said up there at the top, I’m not in a position to evaluate his evidence, even if presented with all the papers and other sources he has found, because I don’t understand either Dutch or French well enough (or at all, in the case of Dutch). Nor do I know what sources Jef Van Den Steen used when he wrote Geuze & Kriek: The Secret of Lambic in 2012, so I can’t contrast and compare:

Surely, there are a lot of interesting points brought up in the above link, but any claims are Meert’s.

Offline denny

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Re: More beer style myths from Martyn Cornell
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2022, 02:25:12 pm »
Last time it was "Irish red ale". This time it's lambic

https://zythophile.co.uk/2022/10/31/is-everything-you-have-ever-read-about-the-history-of-lambic-and-gueuze-totally-wrong-raf-meert-thinks-so/

To be clear, Martyn makes no claim one way or the other.  He just discusses the book Lambic, written by Raf Meert, whose evidence Martyn acknowledges he cannot evaluate.

Is Meert’s version of history accurate? I can’t tell you. As I said up there at the top, I’m not in a position to evaluate his evidence, even if presented with all the papers and other sources he has found, because I don’t understand either Dutch or French well enough (or at all, in the case of Dutch). Nor do I know what sources Jef Van Den Steen used when he wrote Geuze & Kriek: The Secret of Lambic in 2012, so I can’t contrast and compare:

Surely, there are a lot of interesting points brought up in the above link, but any claims are Meert’s.

Correct. Hope I didn't imply that he did. He simply presents the info, although he does sound a bit skeptical of the conventional wisdom.
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Offline Megary

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Re: More beer style myths from Martyn Cornell
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2022, 03:49:36 pm »
Last time it was "Irish red ale". This time it's lambic

https://zythophile.co.uk/2022/10/31/is-everything-you-have-ever-read-about-the-history-of-lambic-and-gueuze-totally-wrong-raf-meert-thinks-so/

To be clear, Martyn makes no claim one way or the other.  He just discusses the book Lambic, written by Raf Meert, whose evidence Martyn acknowledges he cannot evaluate.

Is Meert’s version of history accurate? I can’t tell you. As I said up there at the top, I’m not in a position to evaluate his evidence, even if presented with all the papers and other sources he has found, because I don’t understand either Dutch or French well enough (or at all, in the case of Dutch). Nor do I know what sources Jef Van Den Steen used when he wrote Geuze & Kriek: The Secret of Lambic in 2012, so I can’t contrast and compare:

Surely, there are a lot of interesting points brought up in the above link, but any claims are Meert’s.

Correct. Hope I didn't imply that he did. He simply presents the info, although he does sound a bit skeptical of the conventional wisdom.

I got you…and I wasn’t trying to be the internet police.  Just the comparison to Martyn’s take down on the history of Irish Red is all.

The above link on Lambic is a great read (as are all of Martyn’s posts) and eye-opening for sure, but this story isn’t as slam-dunk, I don’t think.  At least not just yet.

Cheers.

Offline Drewch

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Re: More beer style myths from Martyn Cornell
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2022, 09:00:01 pm »

I can't judge his sources either (like Martyn, my French is not fluent and my Dutch is non-existent), but assuming his sources are legit, I found Raf's narrative coherent and plausible.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: More beer style myths from Martyn Cornell
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2022, 06:03:43 am »
I saw an exclamation about this on flakebook the other day. To now read what was actually said, certainly mutes that exclamation. At best, Martyn’s hypothesis is conjecture. I expected proof based on the article title.
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Offline denny

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Re: More beer style myths from Martyn Cornell
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2022, 08:12:33 am »
I saw an exclamation about this on flakebook the other day. To now read what was actually said, certainly mutes that exclamation. At best, Martyn’s hypothesis is conjecture. I expected proof based on the article title.

I d9nt see it as Martyn's hypothesis. He's commenting on someone's book, and giving his point of view on it.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: More beer style myths from Martyn Cornell
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2022, 02:36:31 pm »
Did we arrive at a consensus on the Irish Red Ale thing?  There was some crossover between that thread and another looking for a recipe where I mentioned Swithwicks... which has apparently been brewed in Ireland since 1710.  But the article on this topic mentioned that the style was sort of "made up".  Curious, I bought some recently and it's as delicious as ever.  I hadn't had it in awhile.  Sorry to cross the streams here but as much as I like "beer history", I sometimes balk at stories about how this or that was fabricated or is inaccurate.  When it comes to beer styles I like to get a sense of where they came from but I have no problem brewing a beer that supposedly has no history as long as it's delicious.  :D
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: More beer style myths from Martyn Cornell
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2022, 05:29:01 pm »
Did we arrive at a consensus on the Irish Red Ale thing?  There was some crossover between that thread and another looking for a recipe where I mentioned Swithwicks... which has apparently been brewed in Ireland since 1710.  But the article on this topic mentioned that the style was sort of "made up".  Curious, I bought some recently and it's as delicious as ever.  I hadn't had it in awhile.  Sorry to cross the streams here but as much as I like "beer history", I sometimes balk at stories about how this or that was fabricated or is inaccurate.  When it comes to beer styles I like to get a sense of where they came from but I have no problem brewing a beer that supposedly has no history as long as it's delicious.  :D

A local brew club sampled Smithwicks, along with some home brewed Irish Red. No one cared for the commercial version.
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Offline Iliff Ave

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Re: More beer style myths from Martyn Cornell
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2022, 06:09:30 pm »
Did we arrive at a consensus on the Irish Red Ale thing?  There was some crossover between that thread and another looking for a recipe where I mentioned Swithwicks... which has apparently been brewed in Ireland since 1710.  But the article on this topic mentioned that the style was sort of "made up".  Curious, I bought some recently and it's as delicious as ever.  I hadn't had it in awhile.  Sorry to cross the streams here but as much as I like "beer history", I sometimes balk at stories about how this or that was fabricated or is inaccurate.  When it comes to beer styles I like to get a sense of where they came from but I have no problem brewing a beer that supposedly has no history as long as it's delicious.  :D

A local brew club sampled Smithwicks, along with some home brewed Irish Red. No one cared for the commercial version.
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Offline Megary

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Re: More beer style myths from Martyn Cornell
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2022, 06:47:54 am »
Did we arrive at a consensus on the Irish Red Ale thing?  There was some crossover between that thread and another looking for a recipe where I mentioned Swithwicks... which has apparently been brewed in Ireland since 1710.  But the article on this topic mentioned that the style was sort of "made up".  Curious, I bought some recently and it's as delicious as ever.  I hadn't had it in awhile.  Sorry to cross the streams here but as much as I like "beer history", I sometimes balk at stories about how this or that was fabricated or is inaccurate.  When it comes to beer styles I like to get a sense of where they came from but I have no problem brewing a beer that supposedly has no history as long as it's delicious.  :D

https://zythophile.co.uk/2021/08/25/how-one-irishmans-ginger-beard-helped-launch-an-entirely-bogus-style-of-beer/

I think this post from Martyn Cornell proves that the name "Irish Red Ale" or "Irish Red" was just a beautifully creative marketing concept, one to make even Don Draper proud.  And even though breweries in Ireland were producing ruby colored beers for years prior, these beers weren't called "Irish Red Ales", nor were they specifically the inspiration for George Killian's.

It's a great back story for sure, but as it applies to current craft beer, it's just history.  Irish Reds are an accepted style today, like them or not.

At least that's my take.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: More beer style myths from Martyn Cornell
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2022, 08:49:30 am »
Did we arrive at a consensus on the Irish Red Ale thing?  There was some crossover between that thread and another looking for a recipe where I mentioned Swithwicks... which has apparently been brewed in Ireland since 1710.  But the article on this topic mentioned that the style was sort of "made up".  Curious, I bought some recently and it's as delicious as ever.  I hadn't had it in awhile.  Sorry to cross the streams here but as much as I like "beer history", I sometimes balk at stories about how this or that was fabricated or is inaccurate.  When it comes to beer styles I like to get a sense of where they came from but I have no problem brewing a beer that supposedly has no history as long as it's delicious.  :D

https://zythophile.co.uk/2021/08/25/how-one-irishmans-ginger-beard-helped-launch-an-entirely-bogus-style-of-beer/

I think this post from Martyn Cornell proves that the name "Irish Red Ale" or "Irish Red" was just a beautifully creative marketing concept, one to make even Don Draper proud.  And even though breweries in Ireland were producing ruby colored beers for years prior, these beers weren't called "Irish Red Ales", nor were they specifically the inspiration for George Killian's.

It's a great back story for sure, but as it applies to current craft beer, it's just history.  Irish Reds are an accepted style today, like them or not.

At least that's my take.
Yeah, that's reasonable.  The beers have been brewed for centuries but they got a rebrand.  I was under the impression that the "Killians" story was completely fabricated and that there was no foundation for it.  Turns out the beers existed but were just called IRISH ALE or whatever.  There is nuance in these stories and it requires some amount of homework to understand.  As I imagine people living hundreds of years ago and in all parts of the world and what they brewed with the ingredients and knowledge they had, I can imagine that it was more about having good beer around and less about marketing and advertising. 
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Offline Megary

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Re: More beer style myths from Martyn Cornell
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2022, 09:37:46 am »
Did we arrive at a consensus on the Irish Red Ale thing?  There was some crossover between that thread and another looking for a recipe where I mentioned Swithwicks... which has apparently been brewed in Ireland since 1710.  But the article on this topic mentioned that the style was sort of "made up".  Curious, I bought some recently and it's as delicious as ever.  I hadn't had it in awhile.  Sorry to cross the streams here but as much as I like "beer history", I sometimes balk at stories about how this or that was fabricated or is inaccurate.  When it comes to beer styles I like to get a sense of where they came from but I have no problem brewing a beer that supposedly has no history as long as it's delicious.  :D

https://zythophile.co.uk/2021/08/25/how-one-irishmans-ginger-beard-helped-launch-an-entirely-bogus-style-of-beer/

I think this post from Martyn Cornell proves that the name "Irish Red Ale" or "Irish Red" was just a beautifully creative marketing concept, one to make even Don Draper proud.  And even though breweries in Ireland were producing ruby colored beers for years prior, these beers weren't called "Irish Red Ales", nor were they specifically the inspiration for George Killian's.

It's a great back story for sure, but as it applies to current craft beer, it's just history.  Irish Reds are an accepted style today, like them or not.

At least that's my take.
Yeah, that's reasonable.  The beers have been brewed for centuries but they got a rebrand. I was under the impression that the "Killians" story was completely fabricated and that there was no foundation for it.  Turns out the beers existed but were just called IRISH ALE or whatever.  There is nuance in these stories and it requires some amount of homework to understand.  As I imagine people living hundreds of years ago and in all parts of the world and what they brewed with the ingredients and knowledge they had, I can imagine that it was more about having good beer around and less about marketing and advertising.

Well, "yes and no" is what I get from the story.  Yes, there were ruby colored beers but no, these ruby colored beers weren't what the original Killian's recipe was based on.  This snip being the crux:

Lett’s had made three beers just before it stopped brewing: Wexford Pale Ale, Ruby Ale, and Lett’s Strong Ale, the last selling for a shilling a pint. Later, revisionist history claimed it was the recipe for Ruby Ale that Pelforth took away and turned into George Killian’s Bière Rousse, a 1067º OG, 6.6 per cent abv, ruddy-coloured beer put into clear glass bottles.
...
 Newspaper reports from the time, however, make it crystal clear that the beer Pelforth based its Bière Rousse on was Lett’s Strong Ale. In 1980, Bill Lett specifically stated: “In 1974 members of the Pelforth brewery visited us. Eventually I sold the recipe for Lett’s Strong Beer to them. They renamed it ‘George Killian’s Bière Rousse’.”


So "Irish Red Ale" was a marketing invention, even if it was based on an old Irish beer.  But curiously, I don't see any mention in the story as to what color Lett's Strong Beer actually was.  Could it have been ruby colored also?  No idea.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: More beer style myths from Martyn Cornell
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2022, 11:11:35 am »
From what I've seen in some of the lambic groups, Frank Boon and his wife and pretty unhappy about the attention they receive in the book. They made the point that Raf didn't talk to them despite talking about them extensively in the book, which would be a reasonable thing to do even if you found their responses unpersuasive.
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Offline BrewBama

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More beer style myths from Martyn Cornell
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2022, 11:36:29 am »
From what I've seen in some of the lambic groups, Frank Boon and his wife and pretty unhappy about the attention they receive in the book. They made the point that Raf didn't talk to them despite talking about them extensively in the book, which would be a reasonable thing to do even if you found their responses unpersuasive.
I agree. If you’re going to create something you should talk to the subject matter expert to ensure the foundational facts are straight. It brings into question the credibility of the creator.

I recently ran across a video concerning a topic where I am a SME (30+ yrs of field and project management experience). It was glaringly apparent the creator did not consult an expert. The editing, animation, and presentation were all well done but the basic facts were simply wrong.  It ruined the entire presentation to the point that the creator has been discredited.