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This week with actual content!

Hi again, happy Friday. Happy Autumnal Equinox too!

I recently found an entertaining book: Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol by Iain Gately (2008). For the next few weeks I'll share some of the beery pieces, staying within fair use of course.

from the 12th century:

In those parts of Europe where it was hard to grow vines, or where the native drink was ale, the religious orders applied themselves to brewing...Religious enthusiasm toward brewing resulted in part from the understanding that ale, having the same ingredients as bread, could be drunk without sin when on a diet of bread and water, and that therefore the fasts that littered their calendar need not be too unpleasant.

Nunneries had breweries, too, and it was a nun, the Blessed Hildegard von Bingen (d. 1179), abbess, brewster, botanist and mystic, who first noted that hops had preservative qualities when added to ale. They also imparted a bitter flavor, which many found agreeable, and the practice of hopping ale spread from religious breweries to secular ones.

and the 13th:
In 1267 King Henry III of England issued a pioneering piece of consumer protection legislation -- the Assize of Bread and Ale -- which set the maximum retail price... the assize also provided for the appointment of ale tasters, who were responsible for quality control... anyone producing inadequate ale could be punished...
Henry probably wasn't aware, though the author should have been, that laws regulating beer are nearly as old as the beverage itself and date back to ancient Sumeria or Babylon.

I think I'll submit a referendum for the next election, calling for the State of California to re-establish the traditional office of Ale Taster. Anyone with me?

I hope you haven't got hold of any inadequate ale. I've got Lagunitas Daytime "Fractional IPA" -- basically a hopped-up session ale. What are you drinking? Is anyone brewing?

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