Sven says:

Many kinds of thoughts coming up

Hot beer? Not hot any more

with one comment

‘Then,’ said Mr Codlin, [waiting to get food, informed that it would take some time] ‘fetch me a pint of warm ale, and don’t let nobody bring into the room even so much as a biscuit till the time arrives.’

Nodding his approval of this decisive and manly course of procedure, the landlord retired to draw the beer, and presently returning with it, applied himself to warm the same in a small tin vessel shaped funnel-wise, for the convenience of sticking it far down in the fire and getting at the bright places. This was soon done, and he handed it over to Mr Codlin with that creamy froth upon the surface which is one of the happy circumstances attendant on mulled malt.

From Charles Dickens:  The Old Curiosity Shop, chapter 18.

I have read a lot of English classics which describe this and that from daily life in the 18-19th centuries. Many kinds of more or less forgotten food and beverage are thus remembered by me.

Still the above scene struck me unusually when I read it the other day. Actually there was a habit of heating the ale on request, not just serving it luke-warm as it still sometimes is done? I have not noticed such an instance before, not in Dickens, Scott, Austen, Gaskell or others of their kind. Compare with mulled wine which was and is still well known!

Most people like a hot drink when feeling cold, wet and tired. Before the industrial age wine, tea and coffee were expensive, I believe, so what could people of lesser means get, if they were not content with just hot water? In the countryside they might collect local herbs to make a tea substitute, but in town? Beer.

Some more practical information here, to complete what is told by Dickens, who is always eager about visual details.



Written by svensays

June 30, 2013 at 15:10

Posted in beer, coffee, Dickens, tea

Tagged with , , ,

One Response

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    September 13, 2014 at 15:47

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