hist-brewing: gruit sources

PBLoomis at aol.com PBLoomis at aol.com
Sun Jan 14 17:27:15 PST 2001

In a message dated 1/14/01 4:42:57 AM Central Standard Time, 
polrena at hotmail.com writes:

> For the record, I also agree with Henry Davis's opinion that out-of-season 
>  herbs were dried, especially in light of the fact that the Church's 
>  Gruit-Houses probably sold their gruit to brewers as dried ingredients.  I 
>  do not know whether they were dried when being measured, however, which I 
>  believe was the reason for the original question.
    However, we probably should not get wrapped around the axle about 
the Gruit Guild.  The guilds in general sold themselves to the public as a
group of experts who provided a quality service, but in reality they were 
what we would call "a conspiracy in restraint of trade".  This is particularly
true of the mercantile guilds such as the Gruit Guild.
    The Guild did not invent gruit, and neither did the Church.  The use of 
various individual herbs as gruits was undoubtedly discovered by various 
individual brewsters, who used them in whatever form was available.  
Some, like spruce tips, were picked fresh and used in a seasonal beer.  
Others were dried and used all year long.
    When the Gruit Guild reared its ugly head in late Medieval times,
it presumably concentrated on those gruit herbs which could be 
collected, dried, stored, and shipped.  But out in the hinterlands, 
unlettered alewives were still brewing good ale gruited with herbs they
picked themselves.

>  quite out of my relative area 
>  of expertise...if, in fact, I can be called to have any area expertise at 
>  all.  (grin)  All of you on this list never cease to amaze me with the 
>  of your knowledge and understanding of historical brewing.  I'm delighted 
>  be able to use you as a resource for my own brewing adventures.

    Hear!  Hear!  8-)
    My opinions are my own.  I speak for no one, and no one speaks for me.

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