It’s the eighth Brewers, Maltsters, Distillers, Mineral Water Manufacturers, Licensed Victuallers, Caterers and Allied Trades National Exhibition and Market held at Agricultural Hall, Islington, in the autumn of 1886. As well as the usual stalls with brewery bits and bobs (along with the promise of a beer or two), there’s also a museum of bottles and the curiosities of bottle manufacture organised by a Mr F Foster. According to the Brewers’ Guardian of the time, only a few visit it, perhaps because, as the magazine suggests, the cost of 6d is a bit of a deterrence (visitors have already had to pay to enter the Exhibition). However, far more interesting is the report on a fringe event, the Brewers’ Congress, where a paper called The Beer of the Future is read. At the end of the talk, an agent for a particular beer insists in loud tones that ‘lager is the beer of the future’. Did he then vanish in a police box that no one saw or was he drunk or was he prescient in the way he foresaw the future of British beer? We shall never know.