|A peculier bottle of beer devoid of contents!|
|Could this be the Archbishop of York?|
Theakston's by contrast was established in 1827 not in the 1200's. This particular "Legendary Strong Ale" is 5.6% proof and is made from barley and wheat.
Now, from earliest Medieval times cereal was needed for bread-making and to feed the animal stock that worked the land - oxen and horses later.The demand for cereals was immense in proportion to the population, because insufficient land was under cultivation. So it was fortunate that a huge new granary opened up, also in the 12th century, when Germany expanded onto the plains of Eastern Europe.
|Image courtesy Medieval Woodcuts Clipart Collection|
Beer drinkers should pay attention from this point. So plentiful and cheap were supplies of cereal from the Baltic that, courtesy of the well organised Hanseatic League traders plying their trade across the North Sea, there was now grain enough to spare in England - even for brewing!! Fermented barley, known as malt was an essential ingredient. A weak, unfiltered and cloudy "small ale" was home brewed, often by women of the household. Drunk by all classes of medieval society, and their children, it provided some nourishment. Because water is boiled as part of the process, ale was a safer drink than water itself. Its alcoholic content would also discourage micro-organisms to some extent, although ale did rapidly go sour. Strong ale was no doubt brewed for medieval festivities, or for consumpion in alehouses.
What is the difference between ale - drunk in one form or another from the earliest times across many civilisations - and beer I hear you ask!? Its a historical difference now rather lost in the move to modern beer production. Ales were made long before hops first reached England's shores in 1524. The beer making process practised in continental Europe used hops, which imparted a bitter taste that balanced the sweet malted barley.
Ale drinking habits continued throughout England into Elizabethan times after 1524, when hops and beer making began to gain some ground in London. According to Anne Wilson’s book “Food and Drink in Britain” by Elizabeth I reign (1558 - 1603) even ale came to be lightly hopped, helping it keep better. Hops, now grown locally to London were no longer an expensive imported item from the Low Countries (Belgium and Holland). Annette Hope in her book “Londoners’ Larder notes that both ale and beer could be made very strong “..and London ale houses, where the ‘ale-knights’ sat all day, drinking until they fell off their stools, were a byword.” A byword for excess!
|MedievalMorsels 12th scale dolls house food, predominantly wheat with barley loaves, and barley bannocks|
|MedievalMorsels one inch scale dollhouse miniature food rye with barley flatbread loaves|