At the time, I didn’t know the provenance or precise date of the document. Now I do. I also know where it comes from, why it was written and when. Which makes it all a lot more exciting.
The colour of the beer was obviously very important to customers. That’s why all three breweries were in the habit of making up several differently coloured versions of each draught beer, and why Scottish Brewers had to produce this overview of the colours of their own and Bernard’s beers.
Here are the colours of the beers made at Younger’s (Holyrood) and McEwan’s (Fountain) as brewed:
But it doesn’t end there by a long chalk. Beer was also coloured up before being sent out to certain customers, to a surprising number of different shades:
While at Holyrood:
How were they doing things at Bernard? Well, when it comes to colour, Bernard’s were doing their fair share of colouring up – even more, actually, but at least using the Lovibond scale instead of a made-up one of their own like Fountain did.
Colour No 3 Ale For easy reference colours are generally known as:– Light Tint 25 Ordinary 32 A shade of colour 38 Dark 45 Extra Dark 58 Tint 80 80 Inverness Dark 150
Amazing stuff. No 3 was Bernard’s lowest gravity draught beer at 1031, so would have been sold as Light. Like the Light that you can still find in a rapidly shrinking number of Scottish pubs today, it was dark. I don’t pretend to understand the Lovibond colour scale, but isn’t 32 already pretty dark? What was the point of colouring it up to 80 or 150?
Colour. The scale used is 52 Series Lovibond and is the tint determined in a 1" cell.
No 2 Quality (Scotland) Tint 16. This colour is general in Scotland although there are some exceptions but not many. Newcastle Tint 25.
No 3 Quality
Colours vary according to the district.
* Newcastle only
3 customers in Dundee & one in Aberdeen 25 Dundee 32 Edinburgh 32 Fife 58 Inverness 150 Borders 45 East Coast 45 Glasgow 25% 45 50% 58 12 1/2% 80 12 1/2% 150 Newcastle 32
Here’s the consolidated table listing all the variations the three breweries produced between them:
|Colours of Bernard, Younger and McEwan beer in 1960|
|Lovibond colour||Brewer||Old trade name||Name||Type||Remarks|
|16||Bernard||No 2||No 2||Pale Ale||As sold in Scotland|
|25||Bernard||No 2||No 2||Pale Ale||As sold in Newcastle|
|25||Bernard||No 3||No 3||Pale Ale/Light||3 customers in Dundee & one in Aberdeen|
|32||Bernard||No 3||No 3||Pale Ale/Light||Dundee|
|32||Bernard||No 3||No 3||Pale Ale/Light||Edinburgh|
|32||Bernard||No 3||No 3||Pale Ale/Light||Newcastle|
|45||Bernard||No 3||No 3||Pale Ale/Light||Borders|
|45||Bernard||No 3||No 3||Pale Ale/Light||East Coast + a couple in Glasgow|
|58||Bernard||No 3||No 3||Pale Ale/Light||Fife + a couple in Glasgow|
|80||Bernard||No 3||No 3||Pale Ale/Light||One or two customers in Glasgow|
|150||Bernard No 3||No 3||Pale Ale/Light||Inverness + one or two in Glasgow|
Each brewery seems to have had its own internal colour scale. At Fountain it was no different. Note the remark “Every effort should be made to take beer as brewed.” Which suggests to me that the demand for darker beer was from the customers, not the brewers.
Very few people living in Scotland can possibly remember Light beer being anything other than very dark. The BJCP, however, claims Scottish Light is an amber to copper beer. With the colour ranging between 21 Lovibond (Younger’s) and 150 (Bernard’s sold in Inverness), the reality in the heyday of Light was evidently more complicated than either scenario. Bernard used four different shades for Glasgow alone. If you bought your draught beer from T & J Bernard’s, you could get it pretty much any colour you wanted!
More seriously, we are probably seeing here the beginning of the period when Light moved to being dark generally.