hist-brewing: Historical Wine Sweetening

NeophyteSG at aol.com NeophyteSG at aol.com
Wed Jun 7 11:58:22 PDT 2000

In a message dated 6/7/00 8:55:48 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
John_Purdy at Jabil.com writes:

> <<<I've been meaning to get a copy of Renfrow's book.  Right now I'm reading
>  "Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers" by Stephen Buhner-great read.>>>

>  Have you finished it yet?  What's it like?  I'm thinking about picking up a
>  copy as well.

Yes ... pretty much didn't put it down.  In a word, Excellent.  

It's essentially the history and cultural anthropology of non-fruit fermented 
beverages.  Unlike most of the historical brewing books I've read, he covers 
a broader range of non-UK/-norse/-etc. ("indigenous") cultures.  It's a nice 
"warm" read interwoven with the author's particular bend toward giving you a 
sense of what the "spiritual" context was surrounding the beverage, process, 
brewer, etc., within that culture, which appealed to me no end.  

The back of the book is what I thought was a pretty thorough coverage of 
herbs/gruits -- again, with their own historical/spiritual/medicinal 
narratives.  Each herb also features a "beer" recipe with that herb as the 
primary flavoring.  My only disappointment was that the recipes were, with 
possibly one or two exceptions, not period/historical -- though the author 
may have paraphrased or "modernized" from references without stating so.  Nor 
were there any consistent references to examples of the historical use of the 
herbs in brewing.  However, the recipes do provide me with a pretty 
consistent set of quantity guidelines regarding the palatability and, in some 
cases, the toxicity.

No matter what, it's the best brewing book I've read this year, though I have 
Cindy's book on order so we'll see ... :)

Warm Regards,

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