November 2005 Archives

Strong Beer for Strong Bones

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So we've all heard how hops with their antioxidant properties and alchohol with it's benefits can make us live longer, but wait, there are more health benefits to beer.


It is likely to strengthen your bones, according to researchers at The Rayne Institute at St Thomas' Hospital, who have studied beer for its silicon content. The mineral comes from the hops, although it can also be found in mineral water, and is believed by Prof Jonathon Powell and his team to aid bone strength and density. Dr Ravin Jugdaohsingh, a senior research fellow, said: "One serving of beer - between 300 and 600ml - will give between five and 16mg of silicon. We only consume up to 50mg a day, so it is a huge proportion of our daily intake."

Beer Bread

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Thank you to foodnetwork for the following recipe.


Beer Bread



3 cups self-rising flour

1/2 cup sugar

12 ounces beer

2 tablespoons melted butter



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter a loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and beer and mix well. The mixture should be

sticky. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes. At the last 3 minutes of baking, remove from oven, brush the top

of the loaf with butter and return to oven.


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"the attempt to make the consumption of beer criminal is as silly and as futile as if you passed a law to send a man to jail for eating cucumber salad" - Stephen Leacock (Canadian humorist, 1869-1944)

Ancient Brewery

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Archaeologists working in southern Peru found an ancient brewery more than 1,000 years old. Remains of the brewing facility were uncovered on Cerro Baúl, a mountaintop city over 8,000 feet above sea level, which was home to elite members of the Wari Empire from AD 600-1000.


Predating the Inca Empire by at least four centuries, this Wari brewery was used to make chicha, a fermented beverage similar to beer that played an important role in ritual feasting and drinking during Peru's first empire. Ancient Peruvians made chicha with local grains and fruit, which is quite different from today's commercial beers typically made with barley and hops.


"We believe this important find may be the oldest large-scale brewery ever found in the Andes," said Patrick Ryan Williams, PhD, Assistant Curator of Anthropology at The Field Museum.

There once was a...

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Carolyn from Bella Online shares her thoughts about tavern limericks. The following three are from her article.


There was a sweet girl from Gadzooks

Who spent all her time coaching crooks-

As thieves they had fun

And she needed no gun

'Cause she'd just knock 'em dead with her looks.


There was a weight trainer named Joe

Had a voice that was sexy and low -

He attracted a lass

With his muscular ass

And a bag overflowing with dough.


There was a park ranger named Dale

Who liked making moonshine and ale-

He first filled a mug

But drank the whole jug

Then passed out and drowned in his pail.


My favorite limerick is "A Barmaid From Sale"


On the chest of a barmaid in Sale

Were tattooed the prices of ale.

And on her behind,

For the sake of the blind,

Was the same information in Braille.


The limerick also known as nonsense verse is a popular form of short, humorous verse that is often nonsensical and frequently ribald. It consists of five lines, rhyming aabba, the first, second, and fifth lines must have three accented beats in them. The third and fourth lines must have two accented beats.


The origin of the limerick is unknown, but it has been suggested that the name derives from the chorus of an 18th-century Irish soldiers' song, "Will You Come Up to Limerick?"


Here is another theory as to origin of the Limerick.

The Brewer's Star

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It amazes me that although events that took place in the past are completely finite and unchangeable, history seems to have a lot of versions. It is often intentionally or unintentionally mudded and clouded, a virtual maze for anyone trying to find real answers.

It seems that one is generally met with this constant of history when researching anything that took place in the past. The history of brewing is no exception.


The History and Origin of the Brewers Star

Brewers as far back as the 1300's painted a six-pointed star on the ends of their beer kegs, known as the "brewer's star". The star was the official insignia of the Brewer's Guild as early as the 1500s. The star was hung outside breweries and incorporated into logos for breweries and can still be seen in small village breweries in Bavaria.


Apparently the brewer's star was intended to symbolize purity. If a brewer attached this insignia to his brew he was in essence declaring it to be free of any impurities such as additives, and adjuncts. In folklore the six points of the star represented the six aspects of brewing most critical to purity: the water, the hops, the grain, the malt, the yeast, and the brewer.


Because of its similarities to the Star of David, some have suggested that King David was a brewer and this was its origin. According to scripture David was a worshipper of the true God Jehovah, and the six sided star or hexagram had connections far from true worship. I am not enough of a historian to know how intermixed the Israelite's were with paganism at this time.


Around 804 B.C.E a possible Biblical reference to this 'star' appears. It can be found in the Bible at Amos 5:26, where it mentions "the star of YOUR god" making reference to a pagan god, Rephan also known as Kaiwan. J. A. Hort remarked: "In the LXX of Am v 26 the form used is [Rhai•phan´] or [Rhe•phan´], which is similar to Repa or Repha, one of the names of the Egyptian Saturn (Seb)."--The New Testament in the Original Greek, by Westcott and Hort, Graz, 1974, Vol. II, appendix, p. 92


Possibly connected with star worship, the hexagram no doubt existed even long before 804 B.C.E. People in the occult, astrology, and witchcraft have all long used this symbol. It's often used as a talisman or charm.


Some have suggested that this found it's way into the Jewish community when Israel's king Solomon apostatized and started worshiping pagan gods. While others state that the first use of the term "Shield of David" was about 1300 CE when a Spanish practitioner of Jewish mysticism wrote a commentary on the central book of that mysticism, the Zohar. They also state that the first actual linkage of the hexagram to a Jewish community appears in the early 1300s on the flag of the Jewish community of Prague, which was designed with permission of Charles IV when he became king of Bohemia.


So, at what point did this star find its way into brewing?

That is a pretty good question. I think most answers are going to be pretty speculative. I can see why someone may have wanted to put a symbol of 'good luck' on their brew, much as Bacardi does with the bat emblem. I can also see how if this was an official flag in part of Bohemia, the birthplace of Pilsner, that somehow this star could have come to represent their product. But like I said at the beginning when trying to find answers in History one often finds 'mudded and clouded' answers.

(Update May 2010. Much of the data for this article comes from since my blog 'crashed' in late 2007 the original attribution was lost. Please forgive any perceived plagiarism. Future writing will attempt to use MLA format for any references.)  

Healthy Hops

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Thanks to Alan for the link. A good beer blog continues to be one the most up-to-date, and in my humble opinion the best beer blog on the 'net. Although I continue to be impressed with some of the new ones poping up and those I have seem to have overlooked.


Another excellent beer blog is Knut Albert's. Just today I discovered Real Beer Some other popular beer blogs are Hail the ale, 1000 bars, sudspundit, The Brew Site, BeerBytes.


There are some others that are not so up to date such as Beer-the Blog. For a daily beer poem see Beer Haiku Daily.


If you frequently enjoy a beer blog that I have overlooked, contact me and I will post it, or link it.


Scientists at Oregon State University say the hops used in brewing beer contain a compound called flavonids, which neutralize "free radicals:" rogue oxygen molecules that can damage cells.


The researchers say porter, stout and ale have significantly higher levels of flavonids, when compared to lager and pilsner beers.


However, according to the study, the beneficial effect of brew may be minimal and more research is required.


"We can't say that drinking beer will help prevent cancer," says Fred Stevens, OSU assistant professor of pharmacy and scientist in the Linus Pauling Institute.

(Update May 2010. Alan is still blogging. When my site went to hell in a handbasket he offered to let me post at a good beer blog. Thanks Alan - someday we'll have to share a pint on me.)

Rushing The Growler

Although the exact etymology of the word growler, is a little unclear, it's 19th century to current history is interesting. Growlers or half gallon glass jugs are popular with local microbreweries as a way to sell 'take home' beer. Back in the 19th century parents would at dinnertime send their child to a local bar or brewery to fetch beer in a pail, or covered bucket, which was referred to as a "growler."


Brander Matthews wrote about it in Harper's Magazine in July 1893: "In New York a can brought in filled with beer at a bar-room is called a growler, and the act of sending this can from the private house to the public-house and back is called working the growler".


It was also called rushing the growler, since perhaps these children were often in a hurry. Teenagers could make good money and get a free lunch if they would show up at the factories and pick up the workers' beer pails to get them filled 243-growlers1.jpgat the taverns. They would sometime use a long pole in order to carry a quantity of pails to refill on one trip. Another possible explanation for using the term 'rushing' the growler.


Regarding the term 'growler the Trenton Times for 20 June 1883 said, perhaps in jest "It is called the growler because it provokes so much trouble in the scramble after beer"


One can only imagine that if you spilt your fathers can of Ale that he was the growler. It seems that it may have been a slang term, and those who "rushed the growler" were no doubt the poorer working class looked down upon by the upper crust of society.


It reminds me of the part in John Barleycorn where he says "It was on a hot day, and my father was ploughing in the field. I was sent from the house, half a mile away, to carry to him a pail of beer".


The Brewmaster


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This page is an archive of entries from November 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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