Anyone who know Britons will know that beer is kind of essential aspect of life for many. Not to create any stereotypical view of the British population and their drinking habits but according to studies only 19% of adults aged 16 said they drink alcohol at all.
What about the other 79%? What are their habits?
The others drink least 5 days per week and enjoy drinking beer more than wine. The popularity of beer in the UK makes one believe that it was a British innovation, however that is quite the contrary. Beer like many other aspects of British culture originated from countries afar and was adapted by the British. The British know how to put their stamp on anything well as we sometimes forget the true origins of our British favorites.
Beer was first created in the Middle East, specifically in Mesopotamia around 8000 BC.
When local hunter-gatherers found wheat and barley growing in the hills they realized that it could make a seriously delicious beverage. From there they started actively growing the plant. In around 4500BC Britain was then introduced to beer. This wasn’t even the start for beer being introduced into Britain. The Beaker People of central Europe arrived and these warriors loved their beer. They even took their favorite beer drinking mug to the grave! They began to introduce beers made from hemlock, which is a plant that can be found in the UK.
The Greeks came to Britain around 300 BC and found the natives to be making beers with honey and grains. This beer was called ‘mead’. Mead is a very popular beer among present day beer drinkers. Mead is created by fermenting honey, water and sometimes with fruits too. Nowadays there are custom made mead beers such as the Lindisfarne spiced mead. This mead is a spiced version of the honey beer. It is made specifically on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne which is off northeast coast of England. What makes it special is that instead of just fermenting honey and water, grape juice, herbs and water are added.
Ales where another firm favorite among the Brits. Nowadays beers made with hops are popular. No foreign invader brought the concept of ale to the UK. Ale brewing was already established when the Romans arrived around 54 BC. The British even had an impact on the roman settlers introducing them to the ale. Ale is a beer made from fermenting yeast and other ingredients. The fermenting process gives the ale a distinctive sweet taste. Ales come in different flavors. Some taste of apples, some plums and some even have an orangey taste.
Ale was made on a mass scale in Britain. There were women call “ale wives”. They were unmarried ale brewers. An ale Conner was like a beer policeman. He was an official appointed by a town or village to ensure the quality of ale being served was of the highest standards.
Beer is truly a testament to the great history of Britain and it is only fair to celebrate by having one!