It baffles us how could this topic be left out from the history books, taken the key role beer played in the birth of human civilization. You think we’re exaggerating? Just watch this (scientifically questionable) documentary and behold the beer truth!
We will start our escapades into the beer history of the yesteryear a little (but just a little) closer and try focusing on the (fun)facts.
Behold the road to craft beer, the way we heard it from our founders.
Once upon a time…
In the beginning,
there was beer.
And beer, as we all know it, is loved by everyone. This was even more of a fact back in the days. Back when England was populated by alehouses on every corner of every town. These places were not only serving beer, but also brewing it and by the 17th century they were practically doused in the glorious beverage.
Today we’d probably call them community houses where DIY workshops are replaced by a more intoxicating pastime.
Just picture a large family taking a trip to the local pub to have a talk with friends and neighbors in the company of a few pints of beautiful, brown ale. But if you think only mom and dad was drinking while little Harry was quietly dangling his feet, you’re gravely mistaken. No, Harry was deep into toasting with his own “small ale”, a beer with slightly lower alcohol content (so basically a regular beer by today’s standards).
The main reason for underage drinking, aside from this being the dark ages basically, is the fact that the historic ale, the predecessor of beer was not really seen as an alcoholic drink back then. It was mostly considered a harmless, nutritious and downright healthy beverage. And so the goal of beer drinking (mostly) was not getting drunk, it was more like a social endeavor. If this caused a few kids to take the scenic route home, well, at least they didn’t drink from the dangerous town water.
We can safely call this, the golden age of beer. So much so, that by 1630 a national census counted 50.000 alehouses in England. That’s practically a beerhouse for every 95th Briton. Including the children.
A New Age in Beer Brewing
As we know, golden ages don’t last forever and the dawn of the alehouse was brought on by an advancement in beer brewing: using hops.
By adding hops to the mix, beers could be preserved for longer and the taps and the breweries were finally able to separate. By the 18th century, independent beer breweries started supplying their own beers to pubs and so this glorious beverage ceased being synonymous with alehouses.
The industrial revolution brought large-scale brewing and cheaper beers and a massive transformation in beer and pub culture into the one we know today.
Beer love did not stop at the shores of the British Isles naturally. National beer cultures emerged in Europe and the US that flourished all the way to the modern age.
Al Capone and the death of the American dreambeer
If you think about American beers what is the first thing that come to mind?
For us, it’s Bud Light, Miller Light, Coors, and the rest of the mass-produced *****s. But you’d be mistaken to think that Americans first discovered real beer in their craft beer revolution.
In the 1800s thousands of American breweries were making their own beers. These were lot stronger and definitely more inventive than the ones mentioned above. And then the 20th century happened.
These gangsters in savior clothing however were not too fond of one particular drink that was difficult to produce, even more difficult to transport and not even that simple to get drunk on. So beer was simply tossed aside for the whole era and by the time the laws were lifted, the once blooming breweries were left for the **bugs?**s.
Naturally, Americans were unable to bear this beerless living for long and so they cried for help towards the other side. The first one to hear their SOS was a small Dutch brewery called Heineken. Instead of an amount the only thing in the order was: send as much as you can!
And so they did, and so did many other European breweries to try and quench the American’s insatiable thirst for beer. The once thriving beer culture was wiped from the land and what remained were bland tastes, simple lagers and mass production.
During this time, on the other side of the Atlantic a small and obscure Central-Eastern-European country was having very similar issues. And the similarities don’t end there. Believe it or not, Hungary also fought in the frontlines during the birth of the global craft beer culture.