Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bordering on Brewing Bedlam

Being literate and of a curious nature (take that any way you wish) can be a curse at times.

The ability to read books such as Beer in America, which covers the history of our beloved drink in the New World from 1587 to 1840, not only broadens one's knowledge of beer and brewing, but it gives people all manner of strange ideas. Or at least, it gives this person here all manner of strange ideas.

Not content with plans to plant a hop garden and a mini-barley field so as to be better able to attempt as authentic a pilsner style lager as possible (I guess at some point I'll have to plant broad leaved trees to keep the beer cellar under the garden warm), I would love to try and make some ale similar to those brewed with all manner of ingredients during the Colonial Era, ingredients like molasses, Indian corn, spruce tips and wild hops.

One of the things that comes up time and again in the book is how brewers working in such straightened circumstances made beers which were an acceptable substitute for those which came over on the boats from England, and later the UK. I am assuming here that by "acceptable substitute" the colonial brewers weren't simply making something wet and alcoholic yet foul tasting (unlike various large, rich, modern, industrial American brewers, admit it, you were thinking it!). This naturally leads me to wonder what the beer being shipped from the mother country would have been like, and wouldn't it be awfully good fun to brew a small batch of each for comparison sake?

Just a quick aside, is it only Mrs Velkyal whose eyes seem to be on a permanent roll when I am concocting various lunatic plans, or do all the Beer Blogger Widows do the same?

So, the upshot of buying and reading this excellent book, which I will review properly at some point in the future, is that now I need to learn about Elizabethan era brewing in England, find out how Indian corn was used in colonial brewing, and see what I can come up with.


  1. I can confirm that all Beer Blogger Widows do, indeed, do the same.

  2. Glad to hear then that I am not subjecting Mrs V to some cruel and unusual punishment simply by virtue of putting up with me!


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