Tag Archives: beer history

How much did they Drink?

In Medieval England, quite a lot it seems. More than even I suspected:

Calculations based on the amount of barley used for brewing in Conventry during the 1520s indicate that the average consumption of ale was 17 pints of strong ale a week for every man, woman, and child in the town. Statistics for English consumption of beer late in the seventeenth century indicate an annual consumption per person of 832 pints. To put this figure in context, in 1976 the amount was only 209 pints, one fourth the earlier figure.

Keep in mind that milk and water, beverages that we take for granted, were not options due to various health problems associated with not knowing about pesky things like bacteria. But still…17 pints per week for everyone in the town?

I so enjoy articles such as these.

Technorati Tags: Food and Drink, Beer, Drink+History, Ale, Wine

History of Beer

Around 10000 years ago, probably in Sumeria, some humans were tired of the hunter/gatherer/migratory experience. “Folks”, their leader said in whatever tongue they spoke, “We’re tired of walking around all the time. Wouldn’t it be neat if we could spend our lives in one place all year round?”

The folks, ever suspicious, looked at the leaders. They rested their hands on their chins and said “I suppose.. but how the heck are we going to eat?”

The leaders looked around and found some grass sticking out of the earth. “Hey, we could make bread out of this stuff. If we planted and grew in en masse, we could save many grains for the lean times of the winter and early spring.”

Again, the people looked skeptical. “I don’t know”, the said warily.

“Look, it’s eaither that or walk for hundreds of miles again.”

It was quickly agreed upon that they would stay in one area.

But after the much more backbreaking job of growing food, rather than simply picking up what just happened to be lying around, the people started to complain.

“Hey leader!”, they shouted. “This planting grass crap, and then waiting all summer for it to grow, reaping it and then threshing it for some measly kernels of grain… this sucks!”

The leader, who was drinking a then unknown beverage looked upon his people. “I’m sorry, what? I was too busy drinking this oddly fulfilling beverage that’s been made from the grain you reaped. Here have a taste!”

And teh beverage was dispensed to the people of the land. And after several rounds, they celebrated and told each other how much they loved each other, and gave each other noogies and had sex with people they never would have whilst sober.

And they saw that it was good.

They next morning (or probably the next late evening, as they had to recover from the discovery of the hangover) the people met with their leader again.

“Where can we get more of that beverage that we had last night?”, they asked.

The leader said “Well, you can only get it from producing more grain. And then you must reap what you have sown”

And so the people went back to farming, as they saw that not only could they make bread, but they also could get wildly drunk, even if it meant that they had to work that much harder.

Overly simplistic? Only just a tad. But beer and bread were discovered about the time that humans settled down into villages. And farming was much more difficult than hunting and gathering your meals. But the fruits of their labor was worth it, as beer had found it’s way into their diet.