hist-brewing: Re: hist-brewing-digest V1 #233

OxladeMac at aol.com OxladeMac at aol.com
Tue Jan 19 20:02:55 PST 1999

In a message dated 1/19/99 6:07:38 AM CST, owner-hist-brewing-digest at rt.com

<< >1) The Beer Drinker's Bible.  Authors: Gregg Smith and Carrie Getty
 >2) The Homebrewer's Garden.  Authors: Joe Fisher and Dennis Fisher
 >3) Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation.
 >Author: Stephen Harrod Buhner
 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?
 Al. >>

I'm new to this list (today), so I'm not sure what has been said on this topic
thus far, but I've got both _The_Homebrewer's_Garden_ and
_Sacred_and_Herbal_Healing_Beers_ and have initial reviews on both of them.

 _The_Homebrewer's_Garden_ is a modern book describing modern hop growing,
grain growing, grain malting, herb growing, and herb uses.  I think it is a
great book for the reference shelf of any brewer, historical or not.  In a
plea to those that will say that it is not documented - how much have the
basic practices of growing stuff changed over the centuries?  Of course, we
have all sorts of gadgets and tools they didn't have, but the basic premise of
finding a good space, putting stuff in the ground, watering it, caring for it,
and harvesting it haven't changed much.  And it is remarkable to read the
section on malting of grains,  then read Grevase Markham's description (if you
will lend me the favor of claiming that Markham is at least late period.)
It's like dejavu.  Documentable or not, there are kernels of good info for the
historical brewer in here.  Personally, I am going to try growing and malting
my own grains - using Fischer's modern instruction correlated with Markham's
historical justification.

As for  _Sacred_and_Herbal_Healing_Beers:  I have just recieved this book, and
have not had a chance to read it cover-to-cover.  Again, it is modern.  It
does make several refernces to Renfrow's book.  It makes some claims of origin
for stuff, but probably not sufficient to be considered anything
authoritative.  Personally, I think the combination of this book and Renfrow's
would make the job of recreating period "ales" much easier.  It's not a
perfect source for authentic purposes, but hey, considering the market for
such information, it's not bad.  (Outside of our SCA relm, how many people do
you know that are interrested in circa 1000-1600 brewing  anyways?)

Just my two cents.

Ok - ready, aim, FIRE!!  Shot the newbie down!


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