Classical Beer Review: Corinium Ales Beerus Britannicus

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A Classically- AND Archaeologically-themed beer? I’m in! I was immediately attracted to this beer in the Giftshop of the Chedworth Roman villa – an archaeological site just outside the Roman town of Corinium Dobunnorum (modern Cirencester). With this brew, Corinium Ales promises that we can literally taste history by drinking this beverage – it is made with the water from the ancient Roman spring.

How does the beer stack up? Unfortunately, a not-so-minor flaw ruined my drinking experience: the beer failed to carbonate in the bottle (as in: at all). I imagine that this contributed to the other negatives in its flavor: a harsh astringency (dead yeast?) and an unappealing sugariness that coated the teeth. Underlying this disappointment, however, was a quite pleasant caramel malt flavor that occasionally bubbled to the surface and showed the promise of this beer.

I hope to try Beerus Britannicus again some day – perhaps, on cask! – to see how the spring water plays with the mosaic hops (lost in the other flavors) and malts. Fortunately (for me), this review offers the chance to talk a little about my recent archaeological travels.

Corinium
Corinium Dobunnorum is the Roman settlement at modern Cirencester. The town boasts a fantastic, modern museum (Corinium Museum) with local artifacts dating to the Celtic, Roman, and Medieval periods. The town itself preserves the impression of the Roman amphitheater and other miscellaneous architectural finds.

Corinium was a Roman military post placed in the territory of the local Dobunni tribe in the first c. CE. The Romans had conquered much of Britain under the reign of emperor Claudius and military contingents were subsequently stationed throughout the regions to ensure tax payments, civil order, and Roman supremacy in the land. With the Romans, however, there also came the benefits(?) of town planning, architecture, and Romanitas that we associate with that Empire, today (like, that amphitheater).

Chedworth Roman Villa

File:Cover buildings, Chedworth Roman Villa - geograph.org.uk - 1408333.jpg

Source: WikimediaCommons, geograph.org.uk, Paul Shreeve

The remains of the Chedworth Roman Villa are situated in the impossibly charming and well-sheeped countryside near Cirencester. The ubiquitous Roman villas are a large country-houses of the local elite (Roman and native) that was built wherever Rome exerted her political influence. This villa (2nd-4th c CE) boasts beautiful mosaics and at least two bath complexes. Large rectilinear wings of buildings gird successive courtyards to form the outline of this complex. An important spring and nymphaeum with a Chi-Rho (Christian) inscription stand in the corner of the villa.

Facts
Red Ale
4.8% ABV
Ingredients: Water, Malt, Mosaic Hops, Local Spring Water (ancient source)
Brewed by: Corinium Ales, Cirencester, Gloucestershire

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