Vintage Israel Brandy. Part III

Palestine Brandy Circa 1946

In this post I will discuss Mandate Palestine brandy in the immediate post-World War II period, with a prelude on Stock Spirts history. To save time I will not include hyperlinked references for the general discussion, except for three sources mentioned below, but my statements are based on wide reading.

General Stock Spirits Background

Stock Spirits has been in the news recently, as its Wikipedia profile notes:

Stock Spirits Group is a British alcoholic beverage business operating in Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and Prague Stock Exchange.

In August 2021, Stock Spirits’ board of directors accepted a £767 million takeover bid by private equity firm CVC Advisers. The deal is expected to complete by early 2022, if shareholders vote in favour.

Coverage suggests a further bid may emerge, as the stock price has traded above offer price, itself a substantial premium to the pre-bid price. Oaktree Capital had earlier purchased Stock distilleries from a German company, Ekes AG.

It also bought the Polish Stock component and merged it with the historical Western European company, as Stock Spirits, later floating the company. In the 1990s Stock had recovered its Czech branch, known for Fernet Stock (bitter liqueur), so that came with Ekes Stock.

Stock Spirits has been very successful in recent years, making a wide range of liquors, wine-based aperitifs, and liqueurs. It is beyond my scope here to limn its full history, suffice to say in 1884 Lionello Stock, born in Split, Dalmatia of a Jewish family, established a distillery in Trieste.

He had a partner, Camis, who retired from the firm, known as Camis & Stock, before World War I. For a good survey of Stock history with emphasis on different company locales in Trieste, this December 2018 article in the English-language, Italian hospitality magazine Bar Tales, is most useful.

Lionello Stock and Camis were only 18 when establishing their business in Trieste, then a multi-ethnic city with Italian, Germanic and Slavic components. Trieste served as Adriatic port for the Austro-Hungarian Empire of which it formed part before World War I.

The story is that seeing ships in Trieste bound for La Rochelle, France with wine meant for conversion to cognac, young Lionello hit on the idea to distill brandy locally.

France of course typically would not use foreign wine for this purpose, but it was combatting the phylloxera pest at the time. It apparently relied exceptionally on imported wine to continue to make cognac.

Then, as still, wines of quality were produced around Trieste, and also Dalmatia (in Croatia), where Stock was born, of an Ashkenazi-Sephardic family.

The main brand that emerged from Camis & Stock was Stock Cognac Medicinal, later to be known as Stock Medicinal Brandy and finally Stock ’84. Stock XO and a 20-year old Stock Riserva are currently also marketed.

Interwar Expansion

Between the two world wars, Stock had expanded into many nations. A wide array has been reported including Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Palestine (1937), Alexandria, Egypt (1928), and New York (1939).

The 2005 study Making Trieste Italian, 1918-1954, by Maura Elise Hametz, refers to the Alexandria investment.

This business evolution was initially prompted by the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The march of Fascism in the 1930s increased the momentum.

Establishing distilleries outside Italy meant post-1918 luxury taxes and other barriers on liquor imports were overcome. Second, the devastating effect on Jewish-owned Italian business of Fascist racial laws adopted by Mussolini in 1938 was palliated.

Unlike most of the Trieste Jewish population, Lionello survived World War II (see Bar Tales account). The business in Italy was reconstituted after 1945. Lionello even recovered for a time his Czech business, but finally this was nationalized along with the Polish branch.

Lionello died without issue in 1948 and the Italian business devolved to nephews and other relations until finally purchased as noted by international interests.

The “cognac medicinal” label, mainly associated with the pre-World War II era, was originally adopted during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in accordance with its rules at the time.

Only after World War II did Italy, for its part, finally recognize that the term Cognac was reserved for brandy produced in the Cognac region in France.

Palestine-Based Stock Business

We can see by a 1940 ad in the Palestine Post that Stock Medicinal Brandy, so-termed, is advertised as produced in Palestine.

W.E.S.T. was its local partner, so this is an early example of the Palestine-distilled product. It is still made in Israel today under license from Stock Spirits, by the successor to W.E.S.T., Barkan Wine Cellars.

(Barkan is now owned by Tempo Industries, a major Israeli brewer and soft drinks producer in which Heineken of Holland has a large stake).

In 1943, another ad in the Palestine Post reverted to the older usage “Stock Cognac Medicinal”. Perhaps since Germany occupied France by then, no compunction was felt to observe French legal edicts concerning use of the term cognac.

However, after the war usage reverted to, and stayed with, the brandy designation, which Carmel did as well, by my survey.

These brands became, in Palestine and later Israel, well-establised for the brandy category. Today Stock ’84 in Israel still has a good sale while Carmel’s brandy line has declined, as mentioned earlier.

Egypt-Based Stock Business

The Stock brandy advertised extensively in Egypt in the 1930s, see this 1936 example in L’Aurore in Cairo, likely therefore was produced in Alexandria. That city was a notable destination of Italian expatriates from the mid-1800s until World War II.

It makes sense therefore Lionello Stock went to Alexandria establish a manufacturing branch, familiar territory as it were.

The Palestine branch, established in 1937 (some sources state 1938), clearly distilled spirits locally. Whether this was so in Alexandria is less clear, vs. a bottling and distribution business.

I think likely brandy was distilled locally there as well, as this was the pattern for Stock Distilleries expansion between the wars.

Brandy Quality in Palestine and Egypt Post-World War II

An interesting reader’s correspondence occurred in 1946 in the columns of the Palestine Post, concerning the quality of Palestine brandy. A letter in January 1946 complained that “Jerusalem’s most elegant night-spot”, not named, did not serve Palestine brandy.

The letter-writer questioned whether this resulted from a recent boycott of Jewish-made goods. The boycott was led by some countries in the region opposed to the drive for Jewish independence in Palestine, which finally succeeded in 1948 as well-known.

A second letter, in February 1946, stated that La Regence, a high-end restaurant at King David Hotel in Jerusalem,* did not list Palestine brandy, instead offering Cyrus brandy, so likely this was the night-spot referred to in the first letter.

A note added by the editor, who had checked with the hotel, stated the hotel considered Palestine brandy of inferior quality. The hotel added Palestine brandy was rarely called for by its clientele.

It noted, further, that Palestine wines, beers, and liqueurs were carried by the hotel, with the implication there was no intent to bar Palestine brandy as such.

The King David Hotel was by then a headquarters for the British military command in Palestine, as well as the British Secretariat. It also functioned as a civilian hotel, but the British official presence dominated.

The conflict over Jewish statehood was at a high pitch of course. In this atmosphere, some readers must have felt the hotel was “taking sides”. Brandy and soda, among other brandy-based drinks, was still a standing order in the British world, so the business represented likely was not inconsiderable.

Distinguished Palates

A third letter, in March 1946, came from the winery at Rishon Le Zion and Zichron Yaacov, which made Carmel brandy as I discussed earlier. It stated in part:



This letter was diplomatically written and made its case well on the quality issue. Whether Palestine brandy was barred for political reasons is hard to say at this remove, I’d think probably not, since wine and beer made in Palestine were sold.

To this we can add, the hotel was built in the interwar period as a venture of well-off Jewish families based in Cairo; it seemed unlikely therefore it would boycott Jewish-made products.

The reference to Palestine brandy being sold in Cairo in the same period is interesting. The first letter-writer noted this as well, citing the “Auberge des Pyramids” in Cairo as an example. It even added King Farouk was a patron of the club.

The winery letter refers in this regard to “Palestine brandy”, not “our brandy”, a phrase used elsewhere in the letter. Perhaps this meant Stock brandy made in Palestine was being sold in Cairo, alongside presumably Carmel’s.

If so, why would Stock brandy, made in Alexandria, not have been sold?

Perhaps because it is unlikely an Italian-owned distillery was allowed to operate in wartime Alexandria, then under firm British control. Even if the distillery was able to resume business after World War II, likely it would not have insufficient aged stocks for bottling.

Brandy from Carmel or Stock in the period seems to have been aged for at least three years, from what I can tell.

Stock ’84 Brandy in Ontario

The version of Stock ’84 made in Israel is available at the LCBO in Toronto, as is a Czech-made Stock ’84.

The Israel one is kosher, likely the reason an Israel version is still made. Apart from the obvious market in Israel, clearly a certain market exists overseas that is (mainly, I’d think) Jewish.

Looking more closely today at LCBO’s Czech-made Stock ’84, it is not actually a brandy. The label calls it “spirit drink”. It is a blend of brandy, alcohol, sugar, and almonds, according to the rear label.

Stock Spirits does distill a genuine brandy, called Stock ’84 Original, plus older variants as noted. Likely “Original” is more the counterpart to the Israeli Stock ’84, which states “Brandy” on the label.

As we don’t get the Czech Stock ’84 Original, I’ll omit the spirit drink version from my tasting, and just look at the Israel one, in Part IV below.

*It still is.


Crew Premium Lager

A Beer That Earns the Description “Premium”

I’ve run through a spate of craft lagers recently, approaching a dozen. I mean here the standard craft lager of the house, not aspiring to pilsner-style rigour of the type discussed in this post.

Some identify as Helles, the Bavarian style of blonde lager that is nominally maltier and less hopped than pilsener, but again end as craft lager staples.

Craft lager is a mainstay of the craft brewing business, but increasingly in recent years has resembled mass market lager. The earliest craft lagers such as Sam Adams Boston Lager, or Brooklyn Lager, are almost a different animal compared to these.*

In a blind tasting, it would be hard to differentiate many from Molson Canadian Lager, say, or Stella Artois.

No doubt that is the intention of the brewers, who would argue they are responding to market demand. The fact that these beers are made in most cases of all-barley malt, save an addition sometimes of wheat to assist head formation, doesn’t affect the basic profile.

The reason is the thorough fermentation, bringing the typical example I’d think to circa 1008 final gravity. It results typically in a thin, dry palate.

These are not the beers for me, but I found one recently that gets the balance just right between craft flavour and general market appeal:



Crew Premium Lager is made by Railway City Brewing in St. Thomas, Ontario. The beer has good residual malt sweetness, “bready” in the words of the website –  nothing approaching, say Pilsner Urquell, but detectably malty nonetheless.

A flowery hop note informs the taste, possibly French Strisselspalt, with German-type bittering underneath. Not “in your face” as the most assertive craft examples of pilsner beer, but pleasingly tasty.

One glass invites another, whereas for the rest of the group mentioned, it was hard to finish the glass.

There is an analogy here to established European brewing in that many names, reputed as they may be, are today rather light on the palate. German and Austrian beers generally fare better but even there, seem to get lighter with every generation.**

One I liked a lot recently is Konig Pilsener, brewed in Duisburg in western Germany, part of the family-owned Bitburger Group. Like the Crew Premium Lager it has a good malty quality; the Crew is its craft counterpart, imo.

There is no point mentioning the craft lagers I didn’t favour: as I’ve said before, they please their market, which is validation enough.

I’d rather speak up for what I do like. And Crew makes the grade, in a metaphor apt for the circumstance, I’d say.

*This is not entirely so, as some early craft lagers were mass market-styled. But most in Ontario, say, had assertive taste such as Upper Canada Lager, Brick Lager, Steam Whistle, and Creemore Lager. Today the craft norm is rather lighter, imo.

** Dr. Al Haunold, the famous American hop scientist, observed some years ago that on a visit to Austria, his birth-land, the beers seemed similar to the American norm of 30 years ago. See my discussion in 2018.



Vintage Israel Brandy. Part II.

Cognac to Brandy in Mandatory Palestine, and Egypt

As mentioned in my Part I,Carmel Vintage Brandy”, an authority on Israel wines and brandies, Adam Montefiore, noted that the term “cognac” was used informally in the past in Israel to describe brandy of local manufacture.

This habit derived from pre-Independence days when despite early French attempts to maintain “Cognac” as a protected appellation, frequently foreign countries did not enforce such rules.

The issue is similar to how the term Champagne was once widely used far from the province of its origin. Indeed the same applied to “pilsner”, denoting a beer in the golden style famously inaugurated in Pilsen, now in the Czech Republic.

For various reasons pilsner never became a protected designation and today is a generic term. The French were more astute, or perhaps more lucky given the twists and strokes of fate of history, to restrict “Champagne” and “Cognac” to products made in the legally defined area, and meeting defined standards of production.

The effect of European Union and other international trade and political arrangements has been to enhance such protection.

For a history of French legislation to protect the term Cognac, see the impressive essay, “History of Legislation on Cognac” in the Dutch-based website, Cognac-ton. One can see that by the 1930s French laws were fairly comprehensive on the topic, but foreign protection much less so than today.

Before World War II, Carmel in Mandate Palestine referred in some advertising to its brandy as cognac. An example is shown by this advertisement in a 1932 issue of the Palestine Bulletin:



The usage was not invariable, as some Carmel ads in the same newspaper, late 1920s-early 1930s, called the product brandy. Carmel ads I have seen in overseas journals, e.g. in United States (1935, “imported Palestine Carmel Brandy“) and Australia, called the product brandy.

In December 1937, an ad in the Palestine Post, even using the Frenchified spelling Richon for Rishon, called the product brandy. One can see vodka was produced as well, from grape distillate as occurs today again:



10 years later in Palestine, the term brandy is generalized in Carmel ads, e.g., in this case, with the suggestion to boot it warded off cholera:



Despite the evident change at producer level, clearly in vernacular or informal usage the term cognac for a long time meant any brandy. This is changed in Israel today (see again articles cited in Part I) as, for one thing, whisky has become the chic spirit.

Brandy, and specifically French Cognac, still have a place but reputed French marques claim the space for genuine cognac. It seems a safe bet no one today is misled as to the origin of any product.

This in fact probably was so even in the 1930s, at least for retail purchasers buying off the shelf, vs. perhaps some bar or restaurant occasions. I doubt many consumers taking home a bottle of Rishon brandy thought it was French-made, however labeled including as to language.

That said, producers are solicitous to protect their designations, and a higher level of protection exists internationally today than before World War II. This did not come without a fight in some places, especially for Champagne in the U.S., and Canada by the way, but that is a topic for another day.

Looking to another country in the region, Egypt, in about the same time we can see a similar linguistic evolution. Egypt then was more or less a British protectorate, under the terms of the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty.

So, the situation was somewhat parallel to Mandate Palestine, where British administrative, military, and business expatriates formed a natural market for brandy, in addition to French and other international cadres with similar tastes.

One can presume the market extended to a Europeanized local class. In Palestine, Jews of European origin formed an adjunct market, given the long tradition of distilling brandy in Europe, whether from grapes or other fruit.

The change from cognac to brandy in Egypt can be charted specifically for another producer, Stock of Trieste, today Stock Spirits. A 1940 ad placed in L’ Aurore, a French-language newspaper in Cairo associated with the former Jewish community of Egypt, makes this clear:



The ad appeared on April 5 that year – just over a month before Germany invaded France and the Low Countries. French commerce was still enforcing evidently at least some prerrogatives, despite war having commenced in September 1939.

Business and diplomatic pressures had to be behind the change, as the direction to Stock came from the Egyptian trade ministry.

The ad further states Stock is from Trieste, where indeed it originated in the late-19th century. It was founded by Jewish-born Lionello Stock, whose name today adorns internationally-known products such as Stock Vermouth and Stock ’84 brandy.

Perhaps the Stock brandy sold in Egypt in that period was made in Palestine, as by the eve of World War II Lionello Stock, still living, had established branches in numerous locations outside outside Trieste. These included Czechoslovakia – Pilsen, as it happens – and Mandate Palestine.

This expansion resulted from the tumult of World War I, with its break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and onset of fascism in the 1930s.

I revert to this aspect in Part III, which also reviews a public tiff over the quality of Palestine brandy.

Note re images: The source of each image above is linked in the text, all from the Historical Jewish Press of the National Library of Israel. All intellectual property in the source belongs solely to the lawful owner, as applicable. Used for educational and research purposes. All feedback welcomed.






Vintage Israel Brandy. Part I.



The bottle shown was kindly given me by a relation who found it in the bar of his late father. A barely readable blue stamp states “LCB ONT”, so bought at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.

Our best guess is late-1960s vintage.

Carmel of course is the famous wine estate in Israel at Rishon Le Zion, south of Tel Aviv. Its roots go back to plantings in 1882, but the 1890s chart the true origins of the business. For a good historical sketch of the wine properties of Carmel, see this page at the company website.

English-born Adam Montefiore, of the distinguished family connected to the Baronet Moses Montefiore, is today Israel’s leading international spokesman for its wines. He has authored numerous books on the subject and also contributed to wine books by the authorities Hugh Johnson and Oz Clarke.

Montefiore outlined the history of Israel brandy production in a 2015 article in the Jerusalem Post. While production is much reduced today, at one time it was robust, with the best grades winning awards.

Distilling began in 1898, but Rishon Le Zion finally closed in 2015 – the winery was relocated to a more modern industrial park.

In 2013 Montefiore gave a tour of historic Rishon Le Zion in this YouTube video. At the time winemaking had ceased but bottling and blending continued. He mentions the adjoining Nesher (Eagle) Brewery a number of times, which I discussed in this post last year.

The brewery eagle with foaming mug is shown engraved in tiling facing the former brewery office, one of the few signs a brewery once existed.

The brandy cellar with slatted wood roof is still intact. As discussed by Montefiore in an article reproduced at Wines of Israel, Rishon Le Zion issued its last brandy in 2015, a commemorative item, the well-aged Rishon Brandy XO.

I’d think the brandies in Extra Fine No. 1 were between 3 and 9 years old, the age range in the heyday of the domestic industry.

The label seems different from well-known domestic brands of yore such as Carmel 100 and Carmel 777, but was likely a variant for the export market.* The old British proof system was still employed, 30 U.P. meaning 40% abv.

There was some evaporation but the brown liquor is clear. It has notes of caramel, dried fruit, earth and something a touch burnt. While possibly a little weathered by its long sojourn in a Canadian home bar, the flavours of “Raisin de Chanaan“are very much present.

The image below shows visitors to the other major wine estate of Carmel, Zichron Yaacov, in 1945 (source: “Israeli Wine”).



Part II continues this series.

*At the end of last year Carmel re-introduced a limited run of 777, as well as a brand named after Zichron Yaacov winery.


Melbourne-Sydney Beer Test

In a 1967 film clip on YouTube, beer drinkers in Melbourne, Australia sampled brands of beer blind, their city’s and Sydney’s. The test was to know if a beer, irrespctive of brand, came from their city or Sydney.

It was a mark or former beer cultures that a region, even a city, had a distinctive beer taste, from water or other factors of terroir or production. The sentiment lived on into the late 1960s in Australia.

Some tasters discerned that their drink was Victoria Bitter, Melbourne Bitter, Foster’s, or another brand of Melbourne’s storied Carlton & United. Others: not so successful.

The best part is the last interview in the piece, where the patron gets the better of the interviewer despite not realizing his sample was Millers beer, from Sydney. It is clear the interview is over after his retort “fair enough?”.

Numerous video uploads to YouTube, from the 1960s and 70s, feature interviews with pub patrons in different Australian cities. All present different facets of beer and pub life in the period.

I found this of interest given the score or so posts I have written on Australian beer history, although most predate 1967, when the clip linked was filmed.

In that same year, Millers of Sydney, actually just outside in Petersham, was sold to the powerful Toohey’s in Sydney.

R.W. Miller was a firm dating from the 1920s that owned a colliery and shipped coal to coastal ports in the country.

It acquired a brewery in Petersham in 1942 according to this link. The labels I’ve seen all rendered its brands as Millers.

I don’t know when Millers was finally closed, I think the 1980s. In its heyday the firm was known for High-Lo Lager, Special Pilsener, and Taverners Ale, the last named for its hillside location in Petersham.

This antiques price guide shows a selection of Millers brands.

The Melbourne image that follows was taken some 10 years before the film linked, sourced from the website of the Herald Sun:



Note: source of image above is linked in the text. All intellectual property therein belongs solely to the lawful owner, as applicable. Used for educational and research purposes. All feedback welcomed.


Beer Styles: Concluding Note

Tangerine Flake Cream Steam Dream Ale

In Part I, I stated that finally, people will form their own idea of beer styles, and buy and judge beer accordingly. Primarily I was thinking of the consumer, main object after all – professionally the only object – of the brewer.

Brewers, for their part, are also affected by many factors: training and experience, the market, legal regulations, their sense of adventure or imagination.

Michael Hancock, aka “The Brewer” is a legend in Canadian craft brewing. His path-breaking Denison’s Brewpub on Victoria Street in Toronto will long be remembered. His trademark Hefeweizen, originally styled Weissbier, is now sold as Side Launch Wheat Beer by Side Launch Brewing in Collingwood, Ontario.

The “Wheat” has a long-established following in Ontario and was early recognized as one of the top examples anywhere, in fact. Other German-style brews Michael contributed to the Ontario larder are also now made by Side Launch Brewing.

Michael commented in Part I that marketing efforts or mixing of beer styles can sometimes lead to outlier results. It’s a perspective deserving of respect, as professional brewers spend years perfecting their craft and ensuring the public gets a high-quality, consistent product.

Clearly marketing can lead to questionable results in brewing. The “ice” and “dry” beer craze of 30 years ago is a good illustration in my view, where variant production techniques were trumpeted to create new styles of beer that seemed hardly to vary from the commercial norm.

More than anything else that development induced an ennui in beer drinkers that contributed to the success of the craft movement.

Marketing is always looking for a new sales angle, of course. The marketer is yet another player on the brewing stage, with their own set of motivations, influences, and opinions. Marketers, past a certain scale at any rate, are an essential element in the brewing business.

And truth be told, dry and ice beers are still with us, and move a lot of product. But maybe a rose by another name …

Even in Germany with its defined brewing code and impressive brewing heritage, brewing variants have emerged such as Weizenbock. This is a top-fermented, strong wheat beer with darkish caramel tones (usually).

Most bock is bottom-fermented of course, and quite different in taste due to being all-barley malt. Craft beer has contributed, say, Black IPA, an IPA-dominant beer with some influence from the roasted barley or black malt typically used in porter or stout.

Some of these variants succeed and become established, others are flash in the pan.

As an older example of this process, this ad in the Truckee Republican will illustrate, dated June 18, 1910:



Bock and steam beer are ostensibly rather opposite. Bock in that period in America meant usually a dark brew rich with caramelized malt, not the light Maibock or Helles type that later emerged.

Steam beer typically was sharp-tasting, yeasty from being sold with little aging. Steam beer certainly did not receive the prolonged aging bock did from being brewed in winter, often December, and sold March or April following.

Both were lagers, but steam beer was fermented closer to the range for ale, while bock is a classic lager fermented and aged cold.

Charles Thomas was the owner of Eureka Brewery in Truckee, California. He started in 1899 and closed in 1911.

Another Thomas ad, an advertorial-type piece on May 11, 1910, shows the product was newly released that year. May is rather late to issue a bock, even in the U.S. Maybe Thomas had unsold steam beer on hand, now aged some months, coloured it in some fashion, and sold it in May as bock.

It is hard to know, perhaps on the other hand it was a genuine lager, but the ads noted seemed to class it as steam beer.

As I have written earlier, “steam ale” was known in parts of the West Coast.* In a corner of California there was the cool-sounding “cream steam”, perhaps meant to evoke Eastern cream ale.

Whether a weird and wonderful variant is accepted by the market, or ends as a gimmick, only time, and taste (or fashion), will tell.

Note: source of image above is linked in the text. All intellectual property therein belongs solely to the lawful owner, as applicable. Used for educational and research purposes. All feedback welcomed.


*A brewery I discuss, Mason, provides good evidence, at least, that “steam” meant still fermenting, highly carbonated beer, because juxtaposed with “flat”, or still ale, evidently kept for some time.







Beer Styles

A few brief remarks, as the question of beer styles is afoot again, with various American and British writers weighing in in different forums.

They look at the value of the very detailed American BJCP system. It is an amalgam of the late author Michael Jackson’s scheme with influence from homebrewing competitions and latterly beer historians, or so I see it.

It’s a good practical workable guide, especially from the standpoint of entering and judging beer in competition.

It reflects its time and influences. And those influences reflect in turn theirs, and so on.

Jackson built, imo, on the scheme layed out by two American beer scientists, Robert Wahl and Max Henius. See p. 701 in the 1902 edition of their landmark American Handy-Book of the Brewing, Malting and Auxiliary Trades.

It seems behind his influential writing on the topic, extending to the numerous beer types the duo had dealt with such as Bohemian, Vienna, and Munich lagers, but also more obscure styles.*3

A British scheme of about 1950, which I discussed recently and deals mainly with top-fermented beer, also is recognizable in Michael Jackson’s work, whether he actually knew of it or not.

This is no surprise, as everything comes from somewhere. Jackson educated himself to learn how to present beer categories, and people were there before. But Jackson used a writer’s talent and romantic imagination to make jejune-seeming categories such as bitter ale come alive.

In his hands, rich business, socio-cultural, and economic context emerged that no one had ever perceived, or presented, in quite the same way.

If Jackson was living today he could fashion such magic of New England India Pale Ale (NEIPA), say. He had a special talent for that.

In the end, everyone interested in beer relies on their own scheme. It will be formed and informed by 1000 influences.

It may be simple, more complex, highly complex. Dark vs. Light. NEIPA vs. West Coast IPA. Northeast IPA vs. NEIPA (yes there can be a difference, for me anyway).

Pale ale à la 1850 vs. 1950. It just goes on. No one standard fits all. Each takes from the sum total of their experience what to buy, and how to judge its characteristics and quality, setting aside where specific criteria are mandated for a competition.

And that’s all.

See our Concluding Note.

*Jackson’s 1982 The Pocket Guide to Beer lists under “Types of Beers” (p. 4 et seq.) a series of bottom-fermented styles, then top-fermented ones, finishing with lambic  – included in top-fermenting beers since it is such – but stating the latter involve no pitching of yeast, but rely on natural microflora. In the opening pages of his 1977 The World Guide to Beer, Jackson seemed to view wheat beers of any style, albeit top-fermented, as a “family” standing with bottom-fermented and conventional top-fermented beers, but in time de-emphasizes wheat beers as a separate family. Even in the World Guide he included in the Belgian section a chapter called ‘Wild Beers”, separate from “White Beers” (also based on wheat), stating “The wheat beers of the Bruegel country have on occasion been termed ‘wild'”. Wahl & Henius, with their sub-classification of beers under each head of top-, bottom-, and spontaneous fermentation, reads very similar to this scheme. Jackson must have read Wahl & Henius, or other texts using a similar arrangement.