Useless Beer Trivia
It was the accepted practice in Babylonia 4,000 years ago that for a
month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with
all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer, and because their
calendar was lunar based, this period was called the "honey month" or what
we know today as the "honeymoon".
Before thermometers were invented, brewers would dip a thumb or finger
into the mix to find the right temperature for adding yeast. Too cold, and
the yeast wouldn't grow. Too hot, and the yeast would die. This thumb in
the beer is where we get the phrase "rule of thumb".
In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. so in old
England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them to mind
their own pints and quarts and settle down. It's where we get the phrase
"mind your P's and Q's".
Beer was the reason the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. It's clear
from the Mayflower's log that the crew didn't want to waste beer looking for
a better site. The log goes on to state that the passengers "were hasted
ashore and made to drink water that the seamen might have the more beer".
After consuming a bucket or two of vibrant brew they called aul, or
ale, the Vikings would head fearlessly into battle often without armor or
even shirts. In fact, the term "berserk" means "bare shirt" in Norse, and
eventually took on the meaning of their wild battles.
In 1740 Admiral Vernon of the British fleet decided to water down the
navy's rum. Needless to say, the sailors weren't too pleased and called
Admiral Vernon, Old Grog, after the stiff wool grogram coats he wore. The
term "grog" soon began to mean the watered down drink itself. When you were
drunk on this grog, you were "groggy", a word still in use today.
Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the
rim or handle of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used
the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle", is the phrase inspired
by this practice.
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