My Day with Beer part 2

October 12, 2009

And now for part two of our little exploration of beer.

There was a Symposium with 4 speakers.  Today I’ll type up my notes from the first speaker, Dr. Charles Bamforth (Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at UC Davis and author of Grape vs Grain.)

{personal note: I liked this guy.  He is a fabulous public speaker… but he does talk very fast.  He might have been under a time constraint.}

Dr Bamforth is SICK of hearing the phrase “It takes a lot of good beer to make good wine.”  It’s a stupid phrase that comes from the fact that you can make beer year round and drinking it after about 3 weeks or so while wine can only be made after the grape harvest and takes a lot more time.

When someone thinks of wine they tend to think of vineyards.  When they think of beer they tend to think of industrial factories…. but really – this is what beer should look like in your mind.

Sierra Nevada Brewery

{Personally when I think of beer I think of my dad brewing it in the kitchen and showing me hops and letting me taste the malt.  But that’s me and we all know that I’m different.}

Civilization is pouring beer into a glass…. it’s a hedonistic delight.  You should treat beer with reverence.  And the people who treat beer with the most reverence are the Belgians.  Trappist monks brewing beer and the right glass for the right beer… these people know what they are doing.

Beer is not a symbol of low lifes.

We need to expand the descriptions and articulation of beers.

Beer has been used as a mouthwash, enema, douche and application to wounds. {I did not need to know this.}

Sumeria is considered to be the home of the first beer.

Beer was in England Pre-Roman conquest.  Boudica was a beer drinking warrior queen who fought the wine drinking Romans.

In 1286 about 70 thousand gallons of ale were brewed in St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Before tea and coffee, Ale was the daily drink because water was undrinkable.

Strong beer was from the mash tun – first run and small beer was from the weaker, later runs.

In 1266 there was someone called the Assizer of Ale or ale conner.  He wore leather pants and people would pour some beer onto a wooden stool and he would sit on it and if he stuck then there was still sugar that needed to ferment.

Brewers would put out a plant or some ivy to say the beer was ready, this was replaced by a sign in a hoop… the first tavern signs.

In the early 14th century there was one brew pub to every 6 people.

Medieval brewers flavored their beer with gruit, rosemary, yarrow, coriander, bog myrtle, caraway, pepper, pine root, spruce and potash.  They weren’t fond of hops because they allowed the beer to be less alcoholic due to the antimicrobial properties.  In fact, ale was unhopped and beere was hopped.

They called the yeast that foamed to the top of the last brew and that they saved to add to the next “Goddisgoode” because they didn’t understand yeast.

In 1688 there were 20 million barrels of beer per 5 million people.  But remember, the water was undrinkable.

There was a recipe for cock ale – pulverized cock (male chicken), mace, cloves… make the beer, let it age, drink COCK ALE!

In the 17th century there were ideas like those of William Hogarth’s engravings of Beer Street and Gin Lane depict a clean and healthy beer drinking society on the rise next to the debaucherous decay of the gin-soaked ill-reputes on the decline.  {I got the wording and picture from this blog post about Gin & Tonic. Which is great because it’s the exact thing from the lecture.}


The steam engine gave way to larger breweries like Stag in 1636 and Whitman in 1742.

Science is introduced to brewing and then the Temperance movement hits.

Pilgrims ran out of beer on the journey over so one of the first orders of business was to start brewing.

1663 William Penn became the first commercial brewer.  In 1765 the Stamp Act effected the trade of beer.

“I wish to see this beverage become common.”  Thomas Jefferson talking about beer.

In 1800 – 150 breweries were making 230,000 barrels of beer.

In 1873 – 4,000 breweries were making 2,800 barrels of beer each.

In 1918 – 2000 breweries were making 20 times more.

13 states went dry between 1846 and 1855.

Between Carry Nation, productivity issues with World War 1 and finally the Volstead Act / 11th Amendment….  beer making went underground.

UNTIL… the 21st Amendment when we got booze back.  And Jimmy Carter signed a law that allowed legal home brewing again.

This lead to about 1,500 little breweries.

In England in the 70’s Thatcher decided that you can’t be both a pub and a brewery (because that’s a monopoly).  So breweries had to divest the brewing or the pub.

Beer is not empty calories.  You get the same benefits from beer that you get from wine.

Not only that beer is:

Anti atherosclerosis

Anti kidney stones

Anti gall stones

Anti osteoporosis

Anti diabetes

Pro Cognitive Function

and they are researching it’s positive benefits against cancer.

It’s also a good source of Vitamin B, silicon and ferulic acid.

{End of Part 2!  Night.}


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: