Film: 3730

Food + Drink | 1950 | Sound | Colour


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The story of how beer is made in England, from the growing of ingredients to the brewing process, to the final product and its distribution - illustrated by old and new methods 1950's

Titles over barley grains. Titles over swaying hops. Panorama of traditional English countryside in summer - probably Kent - barley fields, trees, farmhouses, church spire. Similar, but hop fields. Rows of hops growing. Bunch of hops which falls away to reveal scene of a family of hop pickers at work amid the rows of hops. Kentish oast house roofs - where hops are dried, the roofs typically cone-shaped - at night. Middle-aged customer at the bar in a pub drinking his beer. He turns to his younger companions to chat. Field of hop poles on which hops are to be grown. Ancient Egyptian terracotta figurine representing a man making malt liquor. Terracotta statuette of the Egyptian god Osiris who, according to myth, told mankind the secret of its preparation. Modern man leading horse and gypsy-like caravan down a country lane, oast houses in background. Tower and wall of a ruined early medieval English castle. The same or similar ruined castle but a different view past fence and tree. Later medieval castle - probably Bodiam castle in Kent - seen across its moat. Different view of the same or similar castle. Traditional timber and plaster medieval English house, situated down a pretty lane. 18th century brewing vats and implements inside a brewhouse, a brewer stirs a vat. The exterior of a big, possibly 19th century, brewery - large buildings and a chimney. Another brewery seen from a distance across a river, so that it resembles earlier shots of castles seen across water. Dray horses pull a cart laden with beer barrels out of an archway, presumably of a brewery, and into a street. A typical old English country pub, The Castle Inn, by a roadside. The Castle Inn's pub sign against the sky. Another pub, a medieval stone, timber and plaster building, on a quiet street. Another pub, The Cat & Fiddle, a low roofed thatched affair with customers sitting, drinking outside by the quiet road. The Cat & Fiddle's pub sign seen against the thatched roof and sky. A contemporary modern brewery, with smoke or steam issuing from it, other buildings or parts of it and a chimney stack in the background. Barley grains falling in a pile. A field being ploughed by teams of old-fashioned horse drawn ploughs, land workers planting seeds in the background. A field of ripe barley being harvested by a modern combine harvester coming towards camera. Closer view of a combine moving away. Closer of the combine's blades in action as they harvest the barley. The back of a combine as it moves away leaving harvested barley behind it. A row of five combines doing the same. A quayside with maltings - where barley is turned to malt - small boat, gulls and sandbank. Inside one of the buildings, the workers called 'maltsters' turn over and spread water soaked barley grain which has been allowed to germinate - the grain is turned to keep its temperature constant. Similar shot. Similar again, but closer. Closer again to emphasise the special wooden shovel used by a maltster. Huge machines in a malting, performing an automated version of turning the grains. The screws belonging to these machines, which turn the grains. Grains being turned by them. A detail of the grains being turned. Interior of a large dome-like container into which barley pours. Similar shot. Closer view of the barley pouring in through its pipe. The barley pouring onto a pile. Worker or brewer in a white coat operating the central controls on a metal gangway. The drum-like containers being slowly turned. The white-coated man ascending stairs to view two such rotating containers. Return to the earlier method, showing maltsters turning the grain with their shovels. One of these men bends to pick up and inspect the grains. Grains in the man's hands showing it beginning to grow shoots as it slowly turns to malt. The maltsters again turning the grains. Fully grown hop plants or vines. Similar shot. Close shot of the hop cones themselves. Similar shot, swaying in the breeze. Field where the hops are to be grown with lines of barren hop poles and strings which the hops are to grow along, a farmer ploughing between the poles, leafless trees in the background showing it's early in the year. A man removes a big bundle of strings from an English village pond where the strings have been shrinking. The bundle of strings as it is removed. The early year barren hop field as a man interlaces strings between poles using a long special stick. The strings as they are hooked onto other strings or wires. A large ball of string hanging in a bag or basket round the man's waist, unravelling as he works. The end of his stick as he takes string round another hook. The man working against a backdrop of poles, another worker, and balls of string on the ground. End of his stick again. The man working against backdrop again. The man's unravelling ball of string again. The man working again. A man walking on stilts between the poles ties string at the highest points. He is seen working from below. Similar but closer. Young hop plants being trained around the strings by female workers in the field. One of the women's hands as she performs this task. Two of the women working one hop pole line, one of them pulling unrequired shoots from the bottom of a hop plant. Lots of normal looking men and women of all ages, and children alighting on a train platform with their luggage - these are the hop pickers arriving in late autumn. Similar shot. The mother and children from one such family as they prepare to eat outside their hut, the mother cooking bacon and tomatoes. The bacon and tomatoes being fried. One of the children with the pet dog. Hop pickers at work amidst fully grown hop plants. An older woman with children plucking hop cones. A woman's hands as she works. A pile of the hop cones. Hop cones in a bin as the measurer, a man, scoops them into a five bushel basket. He empties the basket into a sack held by a younger man. Inside a farm building, workers place hop vines in a large machine. Hop cones are plucked by the machine. Hop sacks are unloaded from horse-lead carts outside oasts - the buildings where they are to be dried. Men carry the sacks upstairs in an oast, and empty them. An oil fire burns. A man - a drier - sleeps on a makeshift bed in a corner. Two driers place dried hops in a long sack called a 'pocket' where they are compressed. The long sack seen from the floor below, hanging down. The two driers again. Oasts, a lorry driving away with long sacks or pockets. The modern brewery we saw earlier. Huge, probably copper, vessels called 'mash tuns'. Copper brewing equipment. Pipes and machinery. Sacks in the malt room, a man inspecting the contents. Similar shot, closer. The man's hands as he opens a sack and takes some malt grains in his hands. He tastes them. Staff working in a laboratory, the foremost man pouring malt from one vessel into another. Closer shot. Machines where malt is mashed - ie ground to a coarse powder or grit - a worker looks in one of the machines. Detail of the malt grains in the machine. Large vessels where the malt is mixed with hot water called 'liquor', a man peers inside one. Water or liquor pouring into one of the vessels. A worker adjusts a wheelcock. Liquor splashing. Liquor pouring into a vessel as before. Worker taking notes on the contents of one of the vessels. Liquor being sprayed over the mash inside a vessel. Similar shot. Detail of the mash. A contemporary hi-tech metal and sterile brewing interior, a white-coated brewer moving about. Similar man ascending stairs. Room with huge copper vessels, a worker carrying a sack of hops. He empties a sack into a vessel. He shakes it out, then turns a wheel. The room from another angle. Two bare-chested workers clear out a hot tun using shovels. One of the men shovelling the malt residue. The other man. The floor surface as the residue is removed. Inside a lab, a lab worker takes a sample. He studies it under a microscope. Historical reconstruction of the scientist Louis Pasteur using his microscope on a bench. The modern lab worker surrounded by tubes and bottles. Pasteur's microscope on a bookshelf. Detail of Pasteur's book on fermentation. 'Pasteur' again, at his bench and microscope. A fermenting vessel filled with liquid. A brewer pours yeast into the liquid. A similar shot. An excise officer takes a sample from the vessel to measure its strength and quantity so that duty can be charged. He tests the sample. The yeasty froth or head on top of the brew. A similar shot. A brewer looks at the head and takes notes. Detail of the frothy head. Similar shots as the surface changes colour and shape hourly. A spinning machine circulates the mixture in the tank. Closer shot. A worker operates a machine conveying wooden beer casks or barrels. These casks are cleaned as they go through the machine. Shot of casks. A cask is scrubbed by the machine. Casks emerge from the machine and roll off. A man - the 'sniffer' - checks one of the barrels is clean by smelling it. Coopers make old-fashioned wooden barrels in a workshop. Three coopers fix the metal bands round a wooden barrel. Several young coopers - apprentices - are supervised as they plane and shape the wooden parts of barrels. The supervisor or master inspects one of the men's piece of wood. An apprentice crouches in a barrel as a bucket of oil or tar is poured over his head as part of his initiation ceremony by the other apprentices. They roll him in the barrel through the workshop. The man's face as he is rolled. The filling department of the brewery where men in overalls fill barrels by means of hoses or pipes. Similar shot. A hose or pipe is removed from a barrel and the hole plugged. General scene of the filling department again. Another hole plugged. A room of large white cylinders where beer is conditioned and chilled. Another angle, a white-coated man inspecting one of the cylinders. The bottling store where bottles move along in lines around women workers and a male supervisor. One woman watches bottles as they file past her. A machine racks up yet more racks of bottles. A detail of the process. A close up of capped bottles snaking along on a machine. A machine attaches labels to a revolving metal dome. Closer shot. The dome attaches the labels to bottles as they pass by. Machine attaches labels to dome again. Labels attached to bottles again. An automated system picks up several dozen empty bottles out of crates. Closer shot of several of those bottles being picked up. The bottles are transferred to a conveyor belt. These empties pass in lines past a supervising woman, after being washed. Revolving bottles as they are crowned - tops put on - and labelled. Lines of bottles moving past a supervising woman. Close up of conveyed bottles. Bottles enter a machine then emerge with tops or crowns on. A seated woman watches bottles file past. A similar shot but showing more moving bottles. Close up of moving bottles. Similar shot. Similar again. Bottles emerge at the end of a line in files. A man watches as the automated process deposits these bottles in a crate. The bottles slot into the crate. The man watches the next lot be crated. A bowler-hatted man rolls a beer barrel onto the back of a horse and cart. A lorry transports barrels from a brewery. A tanker transports beer from a brewery. A lorry stacked with boxes of cans of beer negotiates a street corner. A busy pub, men and women standing and sitting, drink beer. The landlord finishes pulling a pint and hands it to a customer. The customer takes it and sips it while his wife sips her glass of beer. A young customer throws a dart. Two old men sit in a corner playing cards and supping their pints. A youngish couple sit in a more upmarket establishment, the man tips the waiter, then the man and woman raise their pints and drink. View over the English countryside - barley and hops fields, farm and oast houses in the middles. A bunch or vine of hops is pulled from its string in a hop field, where a hop picking family works. The cone-shaped tops of oast houses at night. Middle-aged man at the bar in a pub, seen earlier near the beginning, finishes his pint. Barman or landlord pulls him another one and hands it to him. The drinker takes it and begins drinking it. The Pub in the film is the John's Cross Inn, near Mountfield and the Barman Joseph Marriott.

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