Archive for the ‘beer styles’ Category

Harvey Quamen: Using Digital Humanities Techniques to Study the History of Beer and Brewing

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Thanks to Simon Fowler for highlighting this forthcoming talk-

http://scienceforthirstypeople.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/history-down-pub-london-august-28th.html

The preamble says-

Three major questions—all difficult to answer—prompt this talk:

  1. what caused the sudden demise of porter around 1820?
  2. how did the style called India Pale Ale spread so rapidly?
  3. can we locate the historical London breweries?

Although surrounded in some mystery, these questions might be answerable using some techniques from the digital humanities. In particular, building a database of historical recipes will help us understand the movement and growth of beer styles (especially as those styles moved through homebrewing) and we can begin to track master-apprenticeship relationships with the use of propopographies, databases that serve as “collective biographies” of groups of people. Finally, using historical maps (like the Agas map digitized at the Map of Early Modern London project), we might begin to reconstruct the historical distribution of beer around the capital.