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Warm-Beere-art - 7/23/09

 

"An aside— on Beer and English Customs" by THL Johnnae llyn Lewis.

 

NOTE: See also the files: beer-msg, Basic-Beer-art, Ale-a-Beer-lnks, brewing-msg, small-beer-msg, barley-water-msg, beverages-msg, grains-msg, hops-msg.

 

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Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.

 

While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.

 

Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org

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This article in a revised version appeared in Mead, Meat & More volume 2 issue 4 and The Gauntlet in 2007. 

 

An aside— on Beer and English Customs

by THL Johnnae llyn Lewis

 

                   In the spring of 2007, I came across this original but little known title while looking through the database Early English Books Online. I was actually looking for more information on barley waters, but I couldn't resist this title:
Warm beere, or, A treatise wherein is declared by many reasons that beere so qualified is farre more wholsome then that which is drunke cold with a confutation of such objections that are made against it, published for the preservation of health.
Published in Cambridge : Printed by R.D. for Henry Overton, and are to be sold at his shop ..., 1641. [Wing (2nd ed.), W26A] Alternative title: A Treatise of Warm Beer [Wing (2nd ed.), W26] Reprinted at least twice in the 18th century.

 

                   Taking a look at the actual text one discovers that the author F. W. advises the Reader that previously that he "did alwayes drink cold beer, and now and then a cup of wine." This led to the author being "very often troubled with exceeding pain in the head, which did much distemper me; also with stomach-ach, tooth-ach, cough, cold, and many other Rheumatick diseases." But the author has discovered a simple cure for his ills. He writes "But since my drinking my beer (small or strong) actually hot as bloud, I have never been troubled with any of the former diseases, but have alwayes continued in very good health constantly (blessed be God)." He continues "hot beer doth prevent this evil, for it heateth the stomach and causeth good digestion, and nourisheth and strengtheneth the liver."  The entire text, which runs to 143 pages, lays out the author's various arguments for drinking beer warm. He writes, "But some will say, Cold beer is very pleasant to one that is thirstie: I answer it is true: But pleasant things for the most part are very dangerous." The book ends in a last chapter wherein F. W. assures his countrymen that drinking beer warm is an ancient custom. "That it is no new devised thing, but that which hath been used amongst the Grecians and Romanes in the time of their longest age, and is in use at this day in countreys where they live farre longer then we do; which shall be proved by divers clear testimonies."
 
                   All in all it's an amusing and interesting treatise, which clearly shows that the practice of diet, medicine, and the humors carried well into the 17th and 18th centuries. (The work was reprinted twice in the 18th century.) It's the first book to be catalogued under the heading: Therapeutic uses of beer and under its alternate title the first book to appear to be catalogued under the subject beer in the English Short Title Catalogue. 
 
                   So does this book perhaps answer that age-old question as to why the English still drink their beer at tap warm temperatures? Perhaps it harkens back to the 17th century when it was thought that beer drank warm was more wholesome. 

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Copyright 2007 by Johnna H. Holloway. <Johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>. Please contact the author before republishing this article.

 

If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.

 

<the end>



Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
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Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org