The Early History of Hops

One of the biggest mysteries in the history of beer is where and when people started using hops in beer. We still don't really know the answer, but we do know some things, and what we know is quite different from the history of hops as most people understand it. So I wanted to straighten out the record a little bit. But before we get into that, let's set the context. ...

Read | 2022-12-06 10:15 | 28 comment(s)

Did People Once Drink Beer Every Day?

Martyn Cornell has been fulminating against what he calls The Great Medieval Water Myth: that the peasants drank ale all the time because ale was safe to drink while water was not. He concludes that it's wrong, and that English peasants mostly drank water. ...

Read | 2022-10-15 11:57 | 9 comment(s)

The Mystery of the Pierced Planks

In March 2021 Norwegian archaeologists posted the photo above on Facebook, asking their followers what they thought these planks might have been used for. The planks had been found during an archaeological excavation in the centre of the Norwegian city of Trondheim in the 1980s, but nobody had ever figured out what they had been used for. The planks were thought to date to the 12th century. ...

Read | 2022-10-01 12:54 | 12 comment(s)

New Book on Norwegian Farmhouse Ale

I just sent to the publisher my academic book on Norwegian farmhouse ale, which summarizes what I've found in nine years of research on the subject. The text I sent is in Norwegian, but I may be able to get it translated into English. The English-language publisher wants to judge interest before they decide, hence this blog post. So if you're interested in that, read on to the end. ...

Read | 2022-09-15 13:33 | 193 comment(s)

Life as a Full-time Author

As I wrote last year I quit my job as a software engineer to have more time for writing books and doing research, even though I suspected that economically that might be a less than optimal decision. In practice it's worked out as I thought: I did get more time for writing and research, and a lot less money. ...

Read | 2022-05-10 13:05 | 5 comment(s)

Building a Nation

I left my hotel, crossed the river, and headed for the outskirts of town. Eventually I passed out of the town entirely, into the countryside. And there, in the middle of an empty field, stood a huge, modern extraordinary-looking glass building. It seemed to change shape depending on which angle you looked at it from. ...

Read | 2022-02-26 20:20 | 13 comment(s)

Lammin Sahti

The day after we visited Finlandia Sahti the time had come for Lammin Sahti, the other major commercial producer of Finnish sahti. The name really means "sahti of Lammi", or "Lammi's sahti", and the brewery is on a small farm in the county of Lammi, about 100 kilometers north of Helsinki. (This was part of the Finnish sahti expedition of 2018.) ...

Read | 2021-11-15 14:24 | 0 comment(s)

Celtic Beer Yeast and Blue Cheese

A recent archaeological find caused much stir and writings in various newspapers, but everyone seems to have missed the most interesting part of the discovery. However, before we get to that, let's have a little look at the context. ...

Read | 2021-11-01 08:59 | 6 comment(s)

The Yeast Family Tree Grows

A few years ago I wrote about the groundbreaking study (Gallone et al 2016) that for the first time gave us an idea of how the different types of brewers yeast are related to each other. It was progress in genetic technology that made the study possible, and in the years after more studies have come out, giving us an even better picture of the family tree of yeast. So I figured it was time for an update. ...

Read | 2021-10-26 10:39 | 7 comment(s)

What makes kveik a super-yeast

When Richard Preiss first started studying kveik his former thesis advisor at the University of Guelph, George van der Merwe, told him that it was a "super-yeast" because of its speed and stress resistance. The lab that van der Merwe heads at the university has been investigating how yeast responds to stress for many years, and that made them extra excited about kveik. Since kveik was so robust, maybe it knew some special tricks for handling stress? ...

Read | 2021-08-01 13:49 | 14 comment(s)

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