Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Beer, Beef and Liberty

Beef and Liberty

I was once in the Brighton Pavillion museum and saw a lovely old nineteenth century mug with the words, "Beef and Liberty" emblazoned on it. I loved it. I covet it.
I have a good mate back in NZ who works for the Meat Board so I told him about it. "A noble sentiment" was his resonse. And indeed it is.
It turns out this is the motto of the Beefsteak Club, which is alive and well in London, and has a long and proud history of eating beef and getting drunk. Long may they prosper. I wonder if the Calcutta branch is still going?
Source: Asiatic journal and monthly register for British India and its dependencies. Feb 1828. p 260

Instant Beer - Just add water
Witness its birth in this article. After a journey from England, which over six months entailed crossing the equator twice and walloping around the Cape of Good Hope with no refrigeration, the beer ended up pretty rubbish. But that was all that was available in the early days. No wonder the the toffs preferred gin, brandy and madeira, and left the beer to the sailors.
Lord knows what happened to the formula mentioned in this article, though I hope that at the end of the trial it was found guilty, taken from that place to a place of execution, and hanged until dead. dead. dead. I suspect it's still in use in those home brew kits.
Around this time, India Pale Ale (IPA) was developed. It had more hops and a higher alcohol content to help it on it's journey. My suspicion is that this was just so the people who drank it wouldn't mind it tasting like flat piss as it got them soused for cheap. Ships' masters would like it too as it would have extended the volume of small beer rations. During the 1830s I think, someone had the bright idea of brewing beer in India. It probably took an Indian to think of this.
It may well be that the writer of the article got the wrong end of the stick and this product is in fact IPA. Someone can go look it up no doubt.
Source: Asiatic journal and monthly register for British India and its dependencies. May 1828. p 681.

No comments: