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Subject: London #15 - Theakston Old Peculier
(Posted on Jan 24, 2014 at 11:22AM ) Tags:
No, "Peculier" ain't spelled wrong and it wasn't a typo slip-up by some prat pounding the keyboard. But I betcha some readers will think so at first glance. In fact I had to porpoisefully make sure the spell check function kept it that way too.

That is the correct spelling for the fabled brew out of Masham, North Yorkshire that Bobby Bo and Cory McCracken were knocking back that day before the wedding ceremony in Shepperton. It ain’t and never was peculiar either, at least not in the "odd" sense, if perhaps for a while on the bottle or cask, per further down below.


Peculier is actually even a real word all by its lonesome, although not in most folks’ everyday usage, and is known as a parish outside the jurisdiction of a diocese and in many cases (but not always) under the British Monarchy. Go figure. Makes me wonder if any peculiers are peculiar? Now, that doesn’t have nearly as much of an impact or meaning to me personally, like having a pint or two of that brew, which is really good stuff, in some cozy pub.

The problem with peculier, the geographical area, is that it is also spelled peculiar. D-oh! How about that for clarity? I guess that going back to medieval times, it kinda maybe went that way with certain words and the evolution of the language over time, and may have been changed. I dunno and haven’t drilled down deep enough to really come down hard one way or the other on it and I certainly have no credentials as an Engrisch etymologist. Hey, in Scotland old is auld, and bonnie (or maybe bonny) is pretty and may have come from the French word bon, for good. So anything is possible with peculier / peculiar I suppose. Or maybe it’s like how some folks never get the difference between “there”, their” and “they’re”, let alone the interchangeable usage of “its” and “it’s” you see all the time.

But, in all fairness to both sides of the spelling equation, and native English-speaking, spelling-challenged punters the world over, here is some evidence to show the ale was at some point also doubling down under the Peculiar moniker. Aha, them Theakston folks be caught out on schizophrenic labeling practices.

Maybe some historian cum brand police gatekeeper type at the brewery might clarify or expand upon that one day, and set the record straight for all. I am always open to getting the real lowdown on stuff, be it official, or not. 

Anyway, if you are really into knowing more about this peculier geography thing cuz you got some time on your hands or are bored at work (and no one’s peering over your cubicle wall, but the IT overseers might be tracking your Internet usage behind the scene), you can read a tad more about the peculier of Masham (after which the brew was named) and about Royal Peculiers (or Peculiars) in England, past and present.

Personally, I’d rather drink the ale and call it a day on the matter. Keep it simple and focused.

The brewery, T&R Theakston Ltd., has a cool past going back to 1827, and is still independently family owned. One day, I’ll have to make sure to take the tour of the place, and do a little sampling of  all their wares. Old Peculier is their most famous pour, and is called “The Legend”. Even everyone’s favorite non-comic book news and views mag, La Revista Economista as I call it, labeled that sucker the ‘doyen of real ales’ back in 1985, if that adds any more credibility to the mix, as opposed to something like Beer Advocate.

I say, just go drink it, and decide for yourself. Enjoy, just like this single guy did on his wedding adventures back in the day.

Sláinte, as the "Oirish" and "Scootish" may say on occasion.