...and how it all started.
One fine Summers evening as I stood at the bar of my local enjoying a pint of Guinness I wonder just how many people knew that it was invented locally, and whether the people at the Guinness brewery knew of it's true origin. So without futher ado I penned a letter to Guinness to lay before them that in fact it originated as an English beer not too far away from Earl Shilton.
Note the resemblance between the glass of Osbaston Ale (above) and a glass of Guinness.
Guinness & Co.
PO Box 700,
Good people at Guinness,
As an avid imbiber of that most excellent brew, Guinness, I was intrigued to hear from my Irish cousin, Eamon O’Orton, a local character, the following dissertation on its origination and development.
In the county of Leicestershire, England lies the small village of Osbaston and standing in the village is a property called Osbaston Hall. At one time the Guinness family owned Osbaston Hall (this would be in the 1700’s) and the head of the family, Arthur Guinness, decided that he would like to brew his own beer; therefore he searched around the local area for the necessary materials.
Here he was very fortunate as the basic ingredients, malt & yeast were readily accessible, of course he also required a regular supply of fresh, pure water and again he was extremely fortunate in that at the bottom of his garden coursed a swift flowing stream over a bed of marl and shingle which provided drinking water with a slight bitterness which he believed Would admirably suit his project.
Having constructed a small brew house at the bottom of his garden and piped the water from the steam he purchased yeast and a quantity of charred malted barley from a local baker. Within a week he had produced several gallons of a particularly dark beer with a white creamy head and a slight, but not unpleasant bitterness.
Following onto this successful outcome he now had to decide on a name, after considering, and discarding, Arthur’s Beaming and Black Beauty he settled on ‘Osbaston Ale’.
From now on Arthur could he heard regularly singing in his garden and calling ‘get it down your neck, it’s good for you’. Unfortunately this did not please the local inhabitants, who for the most part were staunch tee-totallers and they began to harass poor Arthur, telling him he should give up his brewing and drink tea instead.
After several months of continuing ill feeling Arthur decided that he had had enough and he would move to Ireland, where he had heard the locals were partial to a glass, or two, of Porter, taking his brewing equipment with him.
On arrival in Ireland he immediately set about finding somewhere to stay and build himself another microbrewery. In this he was most fortunate, not only did the property he decided on suit his purpose but it also had a stream running through the grounds and, lo and behold, on analysis the mineral content of the water was found to be 99.99% comparable to that from his stream In 0sbaston!
This pleased Arthur immensely and he immediately began to brew his ‘Osbaston Ale’. As soon as he had his first brew ready he set off for his local bar to ‘test the water’ so to speak.
‘Good day, to you’ he said to the barman, O’Really, ‘my name is Guinness and I’ve Just come from over the water to brew ‘Osbaston Ale’ and I’d be grateful for your opinion’.
‘No problem, sir’, replied O’Really and proceeded to empty the glass of ale offered to him.
‘Good heavens above Mr. Guinness!’ Exclaimed O’Really,’ I have never tasted a glass of stout that could touch that for flavour, and you say it’s called Osbaston Ale?’
‘That’s correct my good fellow’, replied Arthur.
‘Well now.’ returned O’Really, ‘I predict great things for this stout of yours and it’s fame will spread across the world and so, henceforth, it shall not be known as ‘Osbaston Ale’ but Guinness, in your honour.’
This is the story of the origin of Guinness as told to me by Eamon 0’Orton; apparently the tallest Leprechaun in the world, who swears on the life of his invisible Irish wolfhound, Murphy, that it’s true.
I would be most pleased to receive your views on the subject and, in the meantime I shall continue to partake of a glass or two of the dark stuff.
XXX Xxxxxxxx Road,
PS. If you don’t receive this letter please let me know.
A reply was soon winging it's way back to me:
(email address withheld to protect the guilty - ed.)
Nothing is known at present. Perhaps it's better for all if it's kept that way. It's rumoured that he occasionally frequents various taverns in and around Earl Shilton. -Keith.
To claim a prize:
If you see Ted when you are out and about show him a current copy of "The Arc Welders Weekly" and say:
"You are Ted Orton, and I claim my voucher for a free bottle of Guinness!"