Pliny the Elder 18.12.68: Beer for Bread

Galliae et hispaniae frumento in potum resoluto quibus diximus generibus spuma ita concreta pro fermento utuntur, qua de causa levior illis quam ceteris panis. When the grain of Gaul and Spain – the types of which we spoke about earlier – is made into a drink, they use the foam that forms during fermentation [for…

Classical Beer Review: Omnipollo Agamemnon

After a long hiatus, the BCS team returns to review a beer that we have been looking forward to drinking for quite some time – not because of the beer per se (though, we do love the Imperial Stouts!), but because of its name: Agamemnon – the Homeric king of men,  ruler of Mycenae ‘rich…

A CeltIberian-NEIPA

To help kick off a new season of blogs, we offer a lighthearted mash-up and a Classics-themed take on today’s trendiest beer style: the New England (or Northeast) IPA (herafter: “NEIPA”). The NEIPA is defined by a pronounced hop flavor and aroma with juicy and fruit notes predominating and low bitterness. These beers are typically…

Part 2: Cellars, Cross-contamination, and Fermentation (Pliny the Elder 14.49[27])

Picari oportere protinus a canis ortu, postea perfundi marina aqua aut salsa, dein cinere e sarmentis aspergi vel argilla, abstersa murra suffiri ipsasque saepius cellas. inbecilla vina demissis in terram doliis servanda, valida expositis. numquam inplenda [. . .] aperiri vetant nisi sereno die, vetant austro flante lunave plena. flos vini candidus probatur; rubens triste…

Cellars, Cross-contamination, and Fermentation Vessels! (Pliny the Elder 14.49[27])

Magna et collecto iam vino differentia in caelo. circa alpes ligneis vasis condunt tectisque cingunt atque etiam hieme gelida ignibus rigorem arcent. rarum dictu, sed aliquando visum, ruptis vasis stetere glaciatae moles, prodigii modo, quoniam vini natura non gelascit; alias ad frigus stupet tantum. mitiores plagae doliis condunt infodiuntque terrae tota aut ad portionem situs….

Classical Beer Review: Pliny the Younger

This guest review comes from Chris and Laurissa (Kyle’s siblings) who had the opportunity to attend the release of Pliny the Younger for the second straight year. On February 8, 2018, we went to Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, California to try the annual Pliny the Younger release. This is our second year…

Bog Myrtle Beer Tasting

Another in our series of SMASH herbal beers (see Meadowsweet and Heather): Bog Myrtle! Please follow the links below for the archaeological and literary evidence for bog myrtle beers during the Greco-Roman era (and elsewhere): Bog Myrtle in Archaeology Bog Myrtle Pt. 2 Bog Myrtle SMASH(erb) Brew Day The bog myrtle beer had a fantastic fermentation and reach…

Bog Myrtle Brew Day

Another in our series of SMASH Herbal beers (see Meadowsweet and Heather): Bog Myrtle! Please follow the links below for the archaeological and literary evidence for bog myrtle beers during the Greco-Roman era (and elsewhere): Bog Myrtle in Archaeology Bog Myrtle Pt. 2 Our brewday largely followed that of the previous SMASH beers. This allows…

Bog Myrtle Miscellanea Pt. 2

A bit more on Bog Myrtle (see pt. 1): I recently came across a 19th century article about bog myrtle in which the author describes the attempts by 15th-19th century botanists to identify bog myrtle in ancient literature, particularly in the works of Theophrastus, Dioscorides, and Pliny (see these authors’ references to beer in Ancient…

Bog Myrtle in Literature and Archaeology

Bog myrtle (Myrica gale) has long been used in gruits, ales, and beers. Although archaeological evidence (see below) indicates a similar use of this shrub by northern Europeans in periods contemporary with ancient Greece and Rome, Greco-Roman literary sources are lacking for this plant and such beers. In fact, it is even difficult to identify…

Heather Tasting

For the previous entries in our heather brewing trial, see: Heather in Ancient Sources Heather in Archaeology Heather SMASH(erb) Brew Day The heather ale began fermenting immediately and produced the strongest fermentation that I have witnessed from any of the beer experiments. The krausen nearly doubled the size of the original wort in less than…

Heather SMASH(erb) Beer

For the previous entries in our heather brewing trial, see: Heather in Ancient Sources Heather in Archaeology Heather is among the more common plants/herbs used in modern gruits and historic ales. Perhaps the most well-known of the commercial heather ales is made by Williams Brothers Brewing in Scotland. Their drink, Fraoch Heather Ale, includes bog…