Jan 11 2010 12:16 pm

X100 history of beer lecture #6: Pre-Industrial England

Turns out it’s been more than a year since I've posted any lectures from X100, the history of beer class that I designed and taught at Indiana University for nine, count them, nine semesters.  That's all over now, but I still have these lectures that contain years of my sweat, my tears, and a whole shit-ton of stolen, copywrited images.

When we left the story (lecture #5), we were looking at hopped beer brewing in continental Europe from roughly 1200-1600CE and its spread to England beginning about 1400.  I refer to the period in England up until about 1750 as the "pre-industrial period."

In lecture #6, we'll take a closer look at the pre-industrial period in England, how beer was brewed, where it was brewed, who brewed it, the kinds of beer that were brewed, and some of the social and cultural forces that shaped this period in England’s brewing history. 

Lecture #6 draws heavily on Pamela Sambrook’s excellent book Country House Brewing in England 1500-1900 (link to Google Books).  The English country house brewery is a powerful source for historians of brewing because it was very resistant to change.  While common (for-profit) breweries were rapidly “modernizing” through the 1800s and 1900s, the country house brewery putted along happily as if it were still 1695.  Sambrook documents many of the extant country house breweries, interviews surviving brewers, and scours brewers’ books, butler logs, and house inventories to produce a vibrant picture of the pre-industrial brewery in England. 

In lecture #7 we’ll turn to the practices and beers brewed in the common brewer context during the pre-industrial period. 

download lecture #6

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