You might have noticed the “Worts of Wisdom” on the front page of our calendar. Ludwig tries hard to avoid commonplace beer quotes, like the famous quote by Ben Franklin who, by the way, probably never uttered it.
Ludwig has found a kindred soul in Martyn Cornell, who blogs at The Zythophile. Cornell recently compiled a collection of 20 beer quotes that even Ludwig hasn’t run across.
For example, there’s a good chance that you’ve read 1984, but do you remember the scene in which a now-brainwashed Winston Smith goes to the pub?
“You must have seen great changes since you were a young man,” said Winston tentatively. The old man’s pale blue eyes moved from the darts board to the bar, and from the bar to the door of the Gents….“The beer was better,” he said finally. “And cheaper! When I was a young man, mild beer–wallop we used to call it–was fourpence a pint. That was before the war, of course.”
Cornell explains that “wallop” was a 1930s slang term for mild ale, a style that Orwell was fond of. There’s plenty more in his article–enough, in fact, to get you through a pint, even if it’s stronger than the mild that Winston Smith alluded to.
Surely you’ve read George Orwell’s Animal Farm in school, but your teacher probably didn’t tell you that the classic novel was inspired by jugs of mild ale. From 1936 to 1947, Orwell lived in Wallington, England, and the Plough was his local pub.That establishment is now closed but Irene Stacey, the landlady in Orwell’s day, is still alive. Stacey, who is 94 years old, recently told her local paper, the North Herts Comet, about Orwell and his friends. She even posed for a photo with one of the Plough’s salmon-pink china mugs.
This story caught the attention of Martyn Cornell, the Zythophile, who once headed the North Hertfordshire CAMRA branch and worked at the Comet during the 1970s. Cornell provides the likely source of Orwell’s ale: Simpson’s Dark Mild from nearby Baldock. He points out that Wallington had a “Manor Farm”; and that in Nineteen Eighty-Four, an old man reminisces about mild ale to Winston Smith. Cornell also wonders whether it was one of the Plough’s beer mugs that Orwell praised in his classic essay, The Moon Under Water.