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Shepton is famous for cider but according to the local guide book from the late 19th century the Anglo Bavarian Brewery produced beer from this building. I had read in Michael Jackson’s World Guide to Beer about the development of the lager yeast, sacceromyces  carlsbergensis, by chemists at Carlsberg and wondered whether they had brewed a blonde lager style or a dark Munich style in Shepton. What is certain is the World War One saw an end to the Anglo Bavarian Brewery.

I  first visited Shepton Mallet in  June 1970 when I had travelled  with some other students to the Bath and West showground for the Blues and Progressive Rock Festival. What a weekend: Canned Heat, Steppenwolf, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa. The lanes around the site were clogged with traffic and a lot of bands couldn’t arrive in time. I remember Donovan filling in for most of Saturday afternoon. We had to leave Sunday evening so I missed Led Zep. Apparently a local farmer from Pilton wandered over to find out what all the noise was about and had an idea…

Talking of junk shops, I found this on my way home to Bristol, sometime around 1976, in a cavernous, dingy junk shop up the hill out of Shepton Mallet where I was working as a teacher. I would occasionally stop to enjoy a search on the dusty shelves. I consider this find to be a gem.

The story of lager is an important part of the UK beer experience. In my lifetime I have seen the growth of lager consumption to the point where today it has replaced bitter as the most popular beer in the UK. There was a special serendipity to this find because around this time some boys in my class had brought in bottles from a tip behind the Anglo Trading Estate, a large Victorian building on the road to Wells.

Inspector’s # 544 Newham Borough