Thursday, November 22, 2012

Postprandial reading: beer & corn

For your Thanksgiving postprandium: Beer Mythbusting: The Truth About Pilgrims, Adjuncts, and Prohibition.

Beer blogger and writer Lisa Grimm has written a piece for the website Serious Eats on why the Pilgrims, in 1620, would make landfall at Plymouth Rock and not at their original destination, further south, along the Hudson River. Spoiler alert: The reason had to do with beer.

And so in the morning, after calling upon God for direction, we came to this conclusion: to go presently ashore again. For we could not now take time for further search or consideration, our victuals being much spent, especially our beer.
—William Bradford, 1620, writing aboard the Mayflower.

In a nice twist, Ms. Grimm has connected that forced landing with a historical analysis of why American brewers' have brewed with a proportion of grains other than barley, principally corn. In modern usage, those non-barley grains are called "adjuncts." It's a term that carries a pejorative patina, at least to 'craft brewers' and 'craft beer' drinkers. Ms. Grimm disagrees with them. She writes that it's a matter of history, intent, and method, not the corn itself.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Dominion Millenium 2002 (1)

  • More on the Pilgrims and beer (and on disabusing a popular beer myth about Ben Franklin): here.
  • More on the use of corn in American beer: "Praise the Maize."
  • Pictured: Seitan Roast and a 2002-vintage bottle of Dominion Brewing Millenium Barleywine (brewed in Ashburn, Virginia, when the brewery was still located in that Washington, D.C, suburb).

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