Lockdown 20 – Beer
I don’t know about you but beer is playing a much greater part of my lockdown than I would’ve hoped. So I thought I’d look into some beer history (how bored am I?)
Beer has been around from the start. Shortly after we descended from the branches and could stand on two legs, we devised a beverage that reversed this pinnacle of evolutionary struggle and returned us, face down, into the primeval ooze.
The Babylonians knew the importance of beer, excessive use of the Euphrates during fermentation was, by law, death for the diluter. The ancient Egyptians, who felt beer was vital when faced with the dullness of eternity, sketched the fermentation processes on tomb walls.
England embraced beer (breaking news).
To the ancient Celts, beer was a prelude to battle. It was their cloak of invincibility. The Celtic battle plan is still used today at weekends in Carlisle. It involved a build-up of mass hysteria, shouting, chanting, surging to a crescendo of noise fuelled by beer, then a ferocious, naked sprint into battle.
In the Middle Ages, it was sold in buckets in the street. People spiced it, they warmed it, they melted butter and sprinkled cinnamon in there; they cuddled it and took it home to see the family (such was its effect).
In London hardly any water was drunk. Water wasn’t considered sterile and beer was. An Elizabethan joiner would knock back twelve pints in a day, a seaman’s official daily allowance was eight pints, Victorian railway workers drank ten, member of parliament rolled around on the benches passing bills as well as out.
An Elizabethan brewer made two-and-a-half barrels of beer from one-quarter of malt, whereas today a brewer would draw perhaps ten barrels from the same amount.
I did some proper research. The Elizabethans could buy 5 pints of this super-strong stuff for 1.5 pence, to put that into perspective 1 Ib of cheese cost them around 1.5 pence. Today a similar amount of Cathedral City costs about a fiver. According to my calculator that’s £1 a pint for some super strong stuff.
Finally, this post has a point. I’ll be sending this data to Wetherspoons for the big reopening.
It’s 6 o’clock now, and at about 6 o’clock a strange sensation comes over me, it’s called being sober, so gotta go and sort that out.