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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: June ::
Shakespeare's Barley
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0343  Sunday, 8 June 2008

[1] From:   Mike Shapiro <
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     Date:   Saturday, 07 Jun 2008 04:44:12 +0000
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0341 Shakespeare's Barley

[2] From:   Gabriel Egan <
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     Date:   Saturday, 7 Jun 2008 15:21:03 +0100
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0341 Shakespeare's Barley


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Mike Shapiro <
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Date:       Saturday, 07 Jun 2008 04:44:12 +0000
Subject: 19.0341 Shakespeare's Barley
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0341 Shakespeare's Barley

"Eat, drink and be merry - banned .," Jamie Douglass, Institute of Ideas with Pfizer

Shakespeare's Iago talks of the drinking capacity of an Englishman, and by 1606 
the situation was bad enough to prompt parliament to pass 'The Act to Repress 
the Odious and Loathsome Sin of Drunkenness' (Vallely 19.11.2005). But this was 
the lager-loving lower orders, the Stella-swillers. If they were to remain 
sober, it was to remain productive. The fear was -- and remains -- that 
pissed-up peasants might revolt against their masters; might not be in work the 
next day. One can take issue with, criticize, hate even, the self-interest that 
lies behind such mock-horror, but at least it is a concern we can understand.

Mike Shapiro

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Gabriel Egan <
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Date:       Saturday, 7 Jun 2008 15:21:03 +0100
Subject: 19.0341 Shakespeare's Barley
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0341 Shakespeare's Barley

John Wall asks:

 >Has anyone calibrated the alcohol percentage
 >of beer brewed according to early modern recipes?

The usual assumption is that the stuff consumed as readily as water was weak 
(small) beer, but in _Food in Shakespeare_ (Ashgate, 2007) Joan Fitzpatrick 
discusses the more potent double beer and, even worse, double-double beer (pp. 
50-51).

Fitzpatrick cites contemporary concerns about the strength of these products 
(causing "toil and trouble") and reads the witches' cauldron in Macbeth as a 
possible allusion to such brewing. British drinkers over a certain age will 
recall that Double Diamond beer was supposed to work wonders.

Gabriel Egan

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