hist-brewing: Polite Victorian Beer Drinking

Donald Beistle dbeistle at arches.uga.edu
Tue Aug 10 09:44:40 PDT 1999

Mel et al.,

Pamela Sambrook's excellent _Country House Brewing in England, 1500-1900_
(Hambledon Press, 1996) reveals that beer/ale was hardly shunned by the
landed blue bloods of a century ago. Very strong pale beers in particular
were popular among the rural gentry. Besides their obvious appeal, such
brews helped the rural gentry define itself in contradistinction to the
urban working class which drank cheaper, dark, mass-produced ales.
Drinking strong, pale beers also was a kind of "conspicuous consumption"
because these required great quantities of high-quality (i.e. expensive)
pale malt and a longer-than-commercially viable maturation period.

So, if I were trying to emulate a Victorian gentleperson I would do so
with an elegant glass of pale barleywine in hand.

All best,

Don Beistle
Athens, Georgia

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