Beer and Ale

This article will be constantly updated. Please follow my changes in case you are interested in this matter. In case you have some knowledge about the subject let me know as I am very interested in this as you can see.

As we all know words are symbols of subjects they represent. Language is a very old invention of ours but symbols which are represented by the language are even older. It is very sad but unfortunately original symbolism of most of the words is forgotten and invisible. But the good part is that until the word and related words are not forgotten it might be possible to trace back to original source of symbolism around those words. And nobody is to blame for this forgotten meaning of our words but our children. It is for sure that languages are developed not by grownups but by children as in ancient times people used not to live long, not more than thirty years. And teenagers were not different from the same age people from nowadays. They used to gather into groups and teams and they used to hang about some popular place like supermarket benches nowadays. And they used to leave the branch tribe for the search of better life still before they were fully grown. Some of the words they used to transfer to each other slightly changed the same way your child is able to change words he is not able to pronounce or understand the true meaning of the combined word. It is for sure that they started with some words and they were combining them to describe not described parts of their environment. That is why after you take a close look you are able to relate from the first sight completely not related words.

In this article I’ll write about a very timeworn substance – beer. Many of us drink it seldom, occasionally or often. It is known and popular all around the globe. It is old as civilization and most probably it is the cause and a key driver of our modern civilization and industrialized world. There are a lot of recipes how to make it. All that variety is because of small variations to the base recipe which is owned by the Nature itself. Key ingredients are always the same for tens of thousands of years – hops, corn and water. It is not a surprise if words associated with beer, brewery and the process of drinking it are also ancient and has a lot to be revealed.

There are history theories about agriculture which state that people stopped moving and started to cultivate the ground only because of a need of alcohol. Indeed it is more difficult to take  care of your fields and crops when to go behind a herd of mammoths or aurochs. In my opinion hunting is over evaluated also as biggest portion of food supply might have been fruits, berries, roots and branches. In order to be more productive humankind needed tools. And all of the tools came from environment – stones, sticks. The hunted down game was not only a sack of meat but also a source of material for new tools. Horns, bones and skin were consumed for invention and production of new better tools – fishing, hunting and berry picking tools. I guess an aurochs horn was one of the first drinking cups after human cupped hands. And in that mixed hunter and picker society it had an important purpose – to be a volume for friable goodies and liquids like berries, corn and water. Till nowadays we know about cornucopia and the horn of plenty.

Rubens Abundance with Cornucopia

Allegorical depiction of the Roman goddess Abundantia with a cornucopia, by Rubens (ca. 1630)

Take a look at your favourite ice cream – it sits inside a wafer horn.

There are more wonders of the cuisine.

It is no wonder if some blueberries used to start fermentation process inside those carrying horns. And it is not a surprise somebody tried that smelly stuff while being with empty stomach and very hungry. Probably the one got very surprised and rejoiced by the effects on his head of the rotten food. And the learner became a teacher and showed the other from which end of the horn to sip. By the way it is probably not know what was first sipping from one side of full horn or dwelling from another side of the empty horn. But that is for sure fun to have a multi tool – musical instrument, drinking and food preservation capacity.

Once you learn to do something what makes you happy and cozy you want to repeat it over and over again. And you want it to be the same way as it was the last time. This is how you get ceremonies and rituals. Take a look at tea drinking ceremony in china. And take a look at your bellowed coffee cup. For some of you that cup is very intimate while for your partner it might bring nothing more but disguise.

So we are not even surprised that beer and mead (By the way check mead recipe which is honey and berries) are associated with horns as lads used to drink those beverages from horns. And today you might check hunting/ fishing equipment shop and for sure you will find drinking horns there. For start take a look at drinking horn.

 drinking horn

The Roordahuizum drinking horn, made in the mid 16th century by silversmith Albert Jacobs Canter, kept in the Frisian Museum at Leeuwarden[1]

And I’ll stop for now even though there are much more to add to this. But let us review beer related words from different languages. Follow my posts under the same category.