Echoes of the Garden

A Place in the World

A Hopping Good Time.

It doesn't matter whether it's medieval society or modern, is there anything that symbolizes “social” more than beer? People have been brewing beer since 7000 BCE in the East and 3500 BCE in the West.

Hops have been being added to beer since at least the 9th century. The practice began in Germany and spread west from there.

[Public domain]

If you'd like to try your hand at brewing a bit for your own pleasure, I've looked up a few sites that will give you the basics in one of two methods.

You can try the Medieval method, which will give you a less certain outcome but still a creditable product.

[Public domain]

This site offers interesting historical background with a thorough discussion of process packed into it. Likewise, this site, although this site does give directions for how to make your own from scratch, starting at the feed store.

This site has a ton of great information and the link in it has even more. If you want to try your hand at “real” medieval brewing, this is the place to start.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

If you're using your own hops with this method, you'll need to know a bit about the harvesting of your hops. This video shows clearly what hops look like when they're ready to harvest.

Both of these sites have information which will help you harvest, use, and store your hops. Try this one from Beer and Brewing Magazine or this one from Homebrewing Supply Co

I found this video detailing a great way to dry your hops without laying out a great deal of money on your set-up. My only comment is that in rainy areas you might want to set it up in an open garage or other protected area.  By the way, this method could be used for drying many different herbs.

Or you can go with the Modern method, which will give you a more consistent brew with a flavor more nearly like the beer modern palates are accustomed to.

The Homebrewer's Association has an excellent step-by-step tutorial  for the beginner.

By Makyo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Once you've mastered the basics, you can set about customizing your brew. Beer and Brewing magazine has this tutorial on how to hop up your homebrew.

[Public Domain]

There are different types of hops. There are the original four varieties used in the Middle Ages are known as “the noble hops”. This site has a description of these four and their influence on your brew and this one gives a list of newer varieties with names that might to lead to confusion when you're in the brew shop to acquire your hops.

Before you head out to the brew shop for those hops, you'll want to read over this list of (all? most of? an awful lot of?) hops varieties and the flavors they will impart to your brew so you aren't completely overwhelmed by your choices once you get there.

I wish you happy brewing whichever method you use! Let me know how your first batch turns out.

[Public Domain]

Now for the Tales and Odes of Praise to our Noble Interest.

There are a fair number of stories that send somebody into the cellar to fetch beer. They're usually silly people. I wonder if they're sent for the beer because they're silly or does the act of drawing the beer make them silly? Ether way, this one is representative of the lot.

I confess to being at something of a loss with this story of Bread and Beer.  There seems to be no clear reason why any of it happened, but I suppose you will have this occasionally.

Songs celebrating beer are something else again. There are a large number of them from all eras and genres. I had more fun than I should have while researching this part.

This is one of my personal favorites and was vocal enough about it at one of Mr Hall's concerts that he saluted me with his beer and sang a chorus to me. It's a treasured memory.

This is a traditional drinking song. Here's a well-done version with clearly understandable lyrics. Enjoy!

I haven't made my way through all of these yet, but I thought I'd pass the link along just for fun. Let me know which one is your favorite in the comments section.

This week I learned that there is even more to our Noble Interest than I thought even though it still comes back around to beer. I was also surprised to find out how recent the use of it truly is. I'll keep trying to find out what early names it was known by so that maybe I can learn more about it. Please remember to like and share this post. Thanks for stopping by!

Tomorrow's Tools, Techniques, and Processes will get all wet taking a look at unexplainable successes in the quest for water and riches.

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The information and recipes contained on this site are presented for intellectual and historical interest only. If you are looking for medical advice, please consult with a licensed physician. If you choose to try any recipe for the sake of adventure or curiosity, you do so at your own risk.

About Me

About Me

My interest in plants started young. While most of my friends were playing with Barbie or dreaming of horses, I was out in the fields of our farm creating imaginary villages and caching collected seeds, roots and herbs against winter need. When I discovered the library and field guides, I realized that I had found my passion- the interaction between plants and people. While my caching habits have switched to saving more useful plants, some things don’t change. I still …
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