Not entirely, no

On this day 500 years ago, an obscure Saxon monk launched a protest movement against the Catholic Church that would transform Europe. Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation changed not just the way Europeans lived, fought, worshipped, worked and created art but also how they ate and drank. For among the things it impacted was a drink beloved throughout the world and especially in Luther’s native Germany: beer.

The change in beer production was wrought by the pale green conical flower of a wildly prolific plant — hops.

In one – and rather archaic – meaning, beer is with hops, ale is without hops. Thus the addition of hops doesn’t change beer it creates it.

23 thoughts on “Not entirely, no”

  1. I wonder if in 500 years time another obscure professor (from Ely, via Downham Market) will be similarly lauded for his perspicacity and contribution to human understanding. His bequest to the totality of knowledge has been immense – including the development of country by country reporting, the Fair Tax Mark and a novel and authoritative theory of the consequences of the second law of thermodynamics (which originally proved to be controversial with sceptics, now discredited).

  2. If you read the Wikipedia article on hops you discover that the article you are commenting on is a gross distortion of history. Hops were used in brewing since about the tenth century.

    Not until the 13th century did hops begin to start threatening the use of gruit for flavoring. Gruit was used when taxes were levied by the nobility on hops. Whichever was taxed made the brewer then quickly switch to the other. In Britain, hopped beer was first imported from Holland around 1400, yet hops were condemned as late as 1519 as a “wicked and pernicious weed”. In 1471, Norwich, England, banned use of the plant in the brewing of ale (“beer” was the name for fermented malt liquors bittered with hops; only in recent times are the words often used as synonyms).

  3. Some say it is the cloth we now spell baize. But maybe it was the bay tree. A splendid specimen grows in Corpus Christi college

  4. There’s a fantastic Swiss beer flavoured with hemp rather than hops. Is that what you get when you mix Protestants and Catholics?

  5. Enough with arguments about beer hopping back and forth.

    “.. changed … how they .. ate”

    Don’t think Luther had anything to do with the introduction of forks for use when eating. What could it be?

  6. VftS said:
    ““.. changed … how they .. ate” – Don’t think Luther had anything to do with the introduction of forks for use when eating. What could it be?”

    Wouldn’t it be ending the fasting and abstinence rules? No more fish on Fridays (to put it simplistically).

  7. Richard… So if you don’t eat fish on Fridays, you start using a fork? Sounds like a conjecture from the mind of DBCR

  8. Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation

    Err, not quite. Protestant Christian religion appeared later. In England Henry VIII was still RC after he removed the pope.

  9. Pcar, the Anglicans always used to think of themselves as belonging to the same religion as the Catholics, but the head of the church was different. Not sure if that is still the case with the current semi-witted incumbent at Canterbury, nor his equally ill – equipped counterpart in Rome

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    Diogenes – “are there differences between Germany and Switzerland in the use of cannabis?”

    Cannabis I do not know. But the Swiss do eat dogs. And perhaps donkeys. Which is relatively unknown in Germany proper from what I can see.

  11. So Much For Subtlety

    VftS – “Don’t think Luther had anything to do with the introduction of forks for use when eating. What could it be?”

    I am sorry to drag this back to beer, but surely if the Germans drink beer it is because Luther did not get his way. Or at least not as much of his way as he would like.

    Hitler did not launch a coup from a beer cellar in Dresden did he? Nor do you have an Oktoberfest in Berlin. Well you probably do but at least not one I have heard of.

    In Europe good food and alcohol go with Catholicism, not with Protestant countries. Dutch cuisine? There are exceptions. I don’t suppose Ireland is outstanding for its food. I am dubious about Poland too. But the rule holds pretty well.

  12. Bloke in Costa Rica

    When I was there the food in Poland was outstanding. And you can get a bad meal in Amsterdam, but it takes some doing.

  13. @Diogenes,

    Switzerland has cannabis cigarettes on sale openly. The beer doesn’t contain anything approaching an effective dose of thc and has been around far longer than the permissive attitude to weed.

    Trying to take a bottle to Dubai would be asking for trouble, but it’s available in the station at Basel and i often get some to enjoy on the way home.

  14. Diogenes/ Pcar, the Anglicans always used to think of themselves as belonging to the same religion as the Catholics./

    Well reciting the apostle’s creed recited in most would indicate that and indeed Anglicans are in full communion with the ‘old’ catholics of Germany and Austria and Switzerland.

    When it comes to beer and religion, surprised no-one mentioned Belgians yet. Did the trappists have a monopoly there which enjoyed church (not just state) protection.

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