Thursday, April 26, 2012

Down the pub with Mantell

Down one of the local boozers yesterday I was thrilled to discover this - a beer dedicated to none other than Gideon Mantell. (You'll have to forgive the photo - my phone's flash has a very blue hue that I had to try and correct...)

It turns out that Harveys of Lewes have been brewing this ale seasonally (it's out this month to coincide with St George's Day on April 23) since 2010. It's only fitting that Harveys should pay homage to Mantell, whom they describe as "the original Father of Paleontology [sic]", as he hailed from the East Sussex town. Mantell's hugely signficant work in the fledgling fields of geology and palaeontology, as well as his ultimately very tragic life story, are described at length in Deborah Cadbury's The Dinosaur Hunters, a book that I really recommend you grab a copy of if you haven't already.

One can only presume that that illustration is meant to look like it's from the 19th century - I love the skull! Mantell orginally restored Iguanodon, very speculatively, as being essentially a massively scaled-up lizard. By the time the Crystal Palace models were commissioned, he'd come to realise that the animal's forelimbs were much less robust than its hind limbs, but the far more powerful (and often ruthless) Richard Owen had other ideas.

Naturally I had a pint and, well, it wasn't bad - rather fruity, but not a complex taste and it didn't really grab you. A shame, as naturally I wanted it to be a beer that I really loved. Still, if you're interested in giving it a go and can't find it on draught, you can buy bottles from the Harveys website.


  1. Brilliant. I'm no drinker but I would have been thrilled to have made such a find.

    I've still only about a tenth of my way through The Dinosaur Hunters, shamefully. I put it aside and didn't quite have the chance to resume it.

  2. Paleontology is correct spelling in the UK :P

    1. NEVER! Palaeontology, if you please. With an A.

    2. Aye! Læt us spel eall words ðe ald weg. ;-)

      Thanks for mentioning this, Marc. I'll see my local international beer shop can get some in since Harveys doesn't deliver outside of the UK. Possibly a forlorn hope but worth a try.


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