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Monday, October 10, 2016

A Brown October Ale? Yes, please.

Brown Ale: rich color, malt complexity, and a sweet, deep caramel-like flavor that many beer lovers describe as 'luscious.' The sublime result- a beer that is at once luxurious and quaffable.
Brown Ale: History, Brewing, Techniques, Recipes
Ray Daniels and Jim Parker

Oliver's 3 Lions Brown Ale @spacebar

A Brown October Ale? Yes, please. But quickly, today. Before 'craft' innovation re-renders it as a basket of hops, with dark malt merely the wrapping of a pretty bow.

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Brown October Ale was a well-known song from the comic opera Robin Hood, an American light opera first staged in Chicago in 1890. It was revived there as recently as 2004. The music was by Reginald De Koven, and book and lyrics, Harry Smith, both Americans. [...] The opera interprets the Robin Hood legend. The gas lamp era was a time when medieval England had some hold on the public imagination. [...] Brown October Ale, the song, had a long career in the American popular music repertoire and was performed into the 1940s at least.
—Gary Gillman
Beer et seq.


Earl Wrightson sings Brown October Ale, from a radio broadcast of 1944.

And it's will you quaff with me, my lads 
And it's will you quaff with me? 
It is a draught of nut brown ale I offer unto ye. 
All humming in the tankards, lads, 
T'will ease thy heart folorn, 
For here's a friend to everyone, 
'Tis stout John Barleycorn.

So laugh, lads, and quaff lads. 
T'will make you stout and hale. 
For all my days, I'll sing the praise of 
Brown October Ale. 

And it's will you love me true, my lass 
And it's will you love me true? 
If not, I'll drink one flagon more and so farewell to you, 
If Kate or Moll or Nan or Doll has left thy heart forlorn, 
Fill up the pail with nut brown ale 
And toast John Barleycorn. 

So laugh, lads, and quaff lads. 
T'will make you stout and hale. 
For all my days. I'll sing the praise of 
Brown October Ale. 
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  • 17th century poet John Milton also invokes brown ale; his verse in L'Allegro is a bit more than doggerel.
    Som times with secure delight
    The up-land Hamlets will invite,
    When the merry Bells ring round,
    And the jocond rebecks sound
    To many a youth, and many a maid,
    Dancing in the Chequer'd shade;
    And young and old com forth to play
    On a Sunshine Holyday,
    Till the live-long day-light fail,
    Then to the Spicy Nut-brown Ale

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