Archive for October, 2009

A question on hops from Switzerland

Friday, October 16th, 2009

A question on hops from Switzerland

 Hello from Switzerland!I’m taking part to a medieval reconstitution group in ma area (Fribourg) in Switzerland, specialized in 1420 – 1480 and for the artisanal aspect of the life at this range. I’m trying to find as you suspect beer recipe and process. Do you cover this on your blog in England? I cannot find.Or maybe in Europe/France/Germany/Switzerland ? Everything I found is starting 1600/1700.If I’m not wrong hops are landing into throws around 1400-1450 in England no, in parallel with the gruit ale? Beer vs ale :o)I ask also to Durden Park, but they don’t have source for this period. Maybe you?Or do you know medieval group around in UK?Brewerly, Dom   

We copied this to Ian Hornsey who replied as follows. Other contributions, as ever, would be very welcome


Regarding the enquiry, I have no reliable records of recipes from this era. Being ‘inland’, and far from the Hansa towns further north, I suspect that the hop would not have been used for brewing in medieval Switzerland. Cultivation of the plant may not have reached that far south. I suggest that Dom looks at Unger’s two books, and Nordland’s epic (even tho’ the latter relates to matters further north). Also, advise him to look up details of the old monastery at St. Gall – I know of early records, but there might be some later ones. He will almost certainly know about this.

 References are:Nordland, Odd. Brewing and Beer Traditions in Norway. Universitetsforlaget, Oslo. 1969.Unger, R.W. A History of Brewing in Holland 900-1900. Brill, Leiden. 2001. Unger, R.W. Beer in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia. PA. 2004.  (Austria mentioned on pp.50, 54, 107, 161, 217, 246 – no mention of Switzerland) Best,Ian

The Craft of the Cooper, Watford

Monday, October 12th, 2009

David Dines has just told me about a forthcoming talk at 8.00pm on December 17th at the Watford & District Industrial History Society on the ‘The Craft of the Cooper’, together with their social evening.

Visitors are welcome, a minimum donation of £3 is requested.

The event is at St. Thomas’ Church Hall, Langley Road, Watford.

Their web site address is