hist-brewing: Ancient, Medieval, and Indigenous Beers

Peter Zien PZ.JDZINC at worldnet.att.net
Tue Jan 19 10:17:23 PST 1999

Since I own none of these books, I would like to ask for opinions on
them.  I'm familiar with Gregg Smith's and the Fisher brother's writing
and must say that I don't agree with a good 20% of it.  So, I ask,
have they done their research and are these books indeed good sources
or are they like their previous works?


The Beer Drinker's Bible is not a recipe book.  However, there are many good
examples of historic brews that offer insight and descriptions that would
aid in attempting to recreate these beverages.  The Homebrewer's Garden is
more of a botanical gardening book in truth, but does contain at least 12
Indigenous beer recipes that can be made with easily obtainable
ingredients.  The third source book offers many recipes and insights to
historic beers, but is fairly new and not well distributed at this point.

We have added examples to our category description.  Each of these examples
can be made from the three previously mentioned sources:

Beverage examples for this category include, but are not limited to:  Sahti
(Finland), Sorghum Ale (South Africa), Speltbier (Dutch), Spruce Beer
(American), Gotlandsdricka (Scandinavia), Heather Ale (Pre-Celtic Picts),
Mumm (England & Germany), Roggenbier (Germany), Chicha De Jora (Peru),
Manioc Amazon Beer (Brazil), Gruit (Germany), Jena Beer (Germany), Kava
(Polynesia), Sikaru (Mesopotamia), and Kvas (Russia).

As you can see, these examples are primarily Indigenous beers from around
the world, with many Ancient and Medieval beers missing.  I have since heard
from a number of hist-brewing readers that have opened our collective eyes
up to the wonderful  world of Ancient and Medieval beers.  From what I've
heard, these beers sound incredible and I would expect them to dominate the
medals in this category.

I was kind of surprised that none of the books in the recommendation
list were in the bibliography that I have on the web, and only 1 of
the 3 even has a title that hints at historical brewing. I suggested
that he add Cindy Renfrow's book to the list.

- -- greg

Much thanks to Greg Lindahl for his suggestion to add Cindy Renfrow's book
A Sip Through Time, A Collection of Old Brewing Recipes to our source list.
Ms. Renfrow has graciously donated a copy as a prize for the winner of this
category.  We have also incorporated the suggestion to request a description
from the brewer regarding his entry.  The description should include the
name, ingredients, source(s), and any other information that the brewer
deems necessary for an accurate evaluation of his or her beverage.

Finalized entry information can be found at www.softbrew.com/afchbc .
Please contact me with your address if you would like an entry packet mailed
to you.  Thanks to everyone who has replied - your comments have been very
helpful and much appreciated.  Good luck!

Peter Zien
Quality Ale & Fermentation Fraternity (QUAFF)
pz.jdzinc at worldnet.att.net

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