#31BeerHerstories Mega List

Behold! The Mega List ™ of all the #31beerherstories all in one place for your reading pleasure. I hope it is somewhat useful to have them all in one place. I will also be posting some final thoughts on the themes I have seen throughout this project later on. I have essentially copied and pasted all of these, with only some grammar/spelling/formatting edits. Without further ado, The List:


Day 1 #31beerherstories is Gillian Pykard who was having none of the regulatory measures created to control the female brewers in medieval England. This included sending aletasters, who evaluated if women were keeping to regulations. This field was male-dominated, obvs. Indeed, in 1275 when aletasters came to her household in Wakefield manor, she refused to comply and insisted she was going to brew her ale as she liked and that ‘she cared not at all about the orders of the bailiffs or even the earl’. I am so here for this energy.

Source: Judith Bennett, Ale, Beer and Brewsters in England: Women’s work in a changing world 1300–1600, (New York, 1996)


Day 2 #31beerherstories The Wari brewers. In the years 600-1000 CE the Wari empire dominated Peru where they erected monumental buildings, one of which, and arguably one of the most important was a massive brewery. And who was making the beer? Elite women. Many tupu shaw pins were found which indicate ‘a prominent involvement of elite women in chicha beer production’. The brewery was huge, with ‘a production capacity of ~1,800 liters per batch, making this one of the largest pre-Inca breweries yet discovered in the Americas’.

Source: Michael E. Moseley, Donna J. Nash, Patrick Ryan Williams, Susan D. deFrance, Ana Miranda and Mario Ruales PNAS 2005 November, 102 (48) 17264-17271. Burning down the brewery: Establishing and evacuating an ancient imperial colony at Cerro Baúl, Peru


Day 3 #31beerherstories In the 15th century during the reign of the Inca, elite women continued to dominate the chicha brewing trade and also widely consumed the beverage. In this period young girls between the ages of eight and ten were selected by Incan representatives from all over the realm to serve in acllawasi, or houses of the Chosen Women. After service to the acllawasi, women emerged experts in brewing chicha, among other critical tasks in their society. Francis Hayashida argued that they, “brewed the massive quantities of maize beer…”

Sources: Frances Hayashida, ‘Chicha Histories: Pre-Hispanic Brewing in the Andes and the Use of Ethnographic and Historical Analogues’ Susan Kellog, Weaving the Past: A History of Latin America’s Indigenous Women from the Prehispanic Period to the Present


Day 4 #31beerherstories 1517 in England, John Skelton wrote ‘The Tunning of Elynour Rummyng’ which demonstrated his hatred/mistrust for alewives. Rummyng brewed with things like hen droppings in her ale. Not to worry though, this was the magic ingredient in her youth potion! Skelton talked at length about her cheating & what he thought was lewd

Elynour Rummyng

behavior: The above potion makes her husband foolish in love with her. She apparently kept the company of witches & ‘the devil and she be sib’ Rummyng may be based on the very real alewife Alianora Romyng.

Sources: Ralph Hanna, ‘Brewing Trouble: On Literature and History- and alewives’ Barbara Hanawalt, ‘Of Good and Ill Repute’: Gender and Social Control in Medieval England


One of a series of prints featuring famous courtesans with famous sake. 1794.

Day 5 #31beerherstories female Sake brewers in medieval Japan and later. Shinto miko (female attendants) made a version of kuchikamizake – a mouth-chewed sake. This could be used for ritual purposes. Bijinshu “Beautiful Woman Sake” where the Sake rice chewed was by young women, was a culturally significant brew. Other women made it for more commercial reasons, to the extent that they are mentioned in tax laws, according to Paula Curtis. Women are also depicted as sake brewers in literary sources such as Shichijuichiban shokunin Uta Awase.

Source: There is a great article with an interview with Paula Curtis, a professor at Yale, for more: The Return of Japan’s Female Sake Brewers Pushed out of brewing more than a century ago, they’re making a comeback.


Day 6 #31beerherstories Nomkhubulwane, Zulu goddess of rain, agriculture, fertility, and creator of beer. Also known as Mbaba Mwana Waresa and Lady Rainbow, she is credited with teaching Zulu women how to brew. One of the ceremonies associated with her involves the brewing of millet beer, known as uNomdede by women. Then a small patch of ground was hoed and seeds were planted with a small amount of beer poured into the soil. In other cases, gourds of beer were left for the goddess to consume later.

Sources: Identity and Networks: Fashioning Gender and Ethnicity Across Cultures edited by Deborah Fahy Bryceson, Judith Okely, Jonathan Meir Webber Kendall, The Role of Izangoma in Bringing the Zulu Goddess Back to Her People TDR/The Drama Review Volume 43 | Issue 2 | Summer 99


Day 7 #31beerherstories: The Kelabit female brewers of Pa’Dalih in Malaysia. Here they make rice beer known as borak which is consumed by both men and women. It is women, however, who are responsible for creating this brew. Janowski cited that it is evident there are parallels to women who make borak and men who make war. She argued, ‘both were associated with accessing, processing and possession of potency or power’. And this rice beer is assoc. with a life-giving force.

Source: Monica Janowski, ‘Rice Beer and Social Cohesion in the Kelabit Highlands, Sarawak.’ in Liquid Bread: Beer and Brewing in Cross-Cultural Perspective edited by Wulf Schiefenhövel, Helen Macbeth


Day 8 #31beerherstories Prior to quite recently, Irish pubs, as Kevin Kearns argued, were male-dominated arenas; spaces where many women would dare not enter for fear of being ostracized, or also because they were *literally barred* from coming into the ‘male-only’ public house Enter Nell McCafferty. A founding member of the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement, in the early years of the 1970’s McCafferty led a group of women to a Dublin pub. Here, they ordered the socially acceptable drink of brandy, and after it was served, proceeded to order a pint. They were refused the pint bc women & bc it was a pint. They drank their brandy, refused to pay & walked out. Acts like this helped pave the way for women to happily drink pints in pubs. It wasn’t until 2000 that the Equal Status Act barred this kind of sexist discrimination

Source: Kevin Kearns, Dublin Pub Life and Lore: An Oral History (Dublin, 2004)


Day 9 #31beerherstories Ella Seymour and hop picking women in late 19th century Wisconsin by @ediblememory Ella kept a diary of the hops she picked on her farm. While she picked hops herself, during the season women came to the farm specifically to help pick. These hops would… be eventually sent to Milwaukee & beyond to make beer. Jordan stated, ‘Ella’s diary offers important details about the centrality of women’s work for the cultivation of hops, and thus for filling the growing demand for beer in towns and cities across the US and around the world.’

Source: For a fascinating read detailing Ella’s hop picking and the broader impact of this work Jennifer Jordan’s (@ediblememory) full article here: https://seeingthewoods.org/2019/03/29/picking-hops-in-nineteenth-century-wisconsin/… She is also writing a book on hops that I cannot wait to read!


Geronimo (Goyathlay) 1887

Day 10 #31beerherstories and we are going to talk about female Apache tiswin brewers. Tiswin is a fermented corn-based beverage, much like we saw in Peru. Heurea, wife of an Apache leader, made a particularly amazing brew. According to Stan Hiernonymous, she made the tiswin for what became the ‘final confrontation’ on its prohibition, and her tiswin, and counsel, helped inspire Geronimo to leave their forced settlement at Turkey Creek reservation. She was a woman known also for her wisdom, intelligence and powers of healing.

Source: Brewing Local: American-Grown Beer By Stan Hieronymus


Day 11 #31beerherstories Centuries ago, in West Africa, women brewed many types of beer, including millet and sorghum. When the Transatlantic Slave Trade enslaved millions of these women, they carried on their traditions. Evidence from the Bahamas indicated that these women were likely brewing beer and that its consumption remained a critical part of their lives. Excavations at Clifton Plantation in the Bahamas found many beer bottles in the slave quarters, in addition to the brewing equipment they would have needed- large brewing vessels have been found. In addition, there is clear documentation indicating they were brewing millet and sorghum. It is safe to say that these women were certainly brewing in the Bahamas.

Source: Beer Brewing and Consumption in the Maintenance of African Identity by the Enslaved People of the Bahamas 1783-1834 by P. Farnsworth.


Day 12 #31beerherstories Ancient Egyptian brewing was dominated by women as evidenced by archaeological finds. And according to some scholars, one of the most important roles in society was “overseer of the brewery women”. Additionally, ancient Egypt had many stories about women brewing or consuming beer. Hathor was ‘a most important bovine goddess’ & features prominently in the Destruction of Mankind dating to the New Kingdom c. 1570-1069 BCE. Here she is in the form of the goddess Sehkmet, a literal bloodthirsty warrior. According to the tale: The god Ra grew weary of humanity & their propensity for wickedness & stupidity. So he releases Sekhmet aka Hathor to destroy them- she slaughters & consumes the blood of town after town. However, after a while, it occurs to Ra that if she kills everyone, there will be no humans left to worship him…ergo bad. So. Ra hatches a plan to dye beer red in order to trick her into consuming it. She does & falls asleep. Awakening back to her old self as Hathor, the kinder, less murdery apocalypse, goddess. It was also women who made this brew.

Source: Ian Hornsey, A History of Beer and Brewing

Also here is the Destruction of Mankind in its entirety: https://mjn.host.cs.st-andrews.ac.uk/egyptian/texts/corpus/pdf/DestructionMankind.pdf

BONUS #31beerherstories is Menqet, a minor ancient Egyptian goddess, who is known as the ‘goddess who makes beer’ and was often depicted alongside Hathor.


Hymn to Ninkasi

Day 13 #31beerherstories Ninkasi was the Sumerian goddess of beer. Known as ‘the lady who fills the mouth’ an ancient tablet dating to around 1800 BCE contained a hymn to the goddess. Here is an excerpt: “Ninkasi, it is you who water the earth-covered malt; the noble dogs guard it even from the potentates It is you who soak the malt in a jar; the waves rise, the waves fall. Ninkasi, it is you who soak the malt in a jar; the waves rise, the waves fall.”

Source: You can read the rest here, Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Fluckiger-Hawker, E, Robson, E., and Zólyomi, G., The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (http://www-etcsl.orient.ox.ac.uk), Oxford 1998-


Day 14 #31beerherstories Margery Kempe, famous for writing a book about her life around 1438. According to her own account, she began to brew ‘out of pure covetousness and in order to maintain her pride’. She stated that she rose to become one of the greatest brewers in her town until she lost it all due to bad brews. According to her, ‘For, when the ale had as fine a head on it as could be seen, suddenly the head would fall away, and all the ale would be lost one brew after another, so her servants were ashamed and did not wish to stay with her’

Source: To read the rest of her brewing account, you can find it here: The Book of Margery Kempe books.google.ie


Day 15 #31beerherstories In 1627 in the parish of Tune, a man by the name of Dr. Peder Alfssøn, came across a remarkable find. Located within the walls of the town churchyard was an impressive, and rather large, runic stone. Dating to between 375/400 to 520/530 CE, this is the oldest legal source for female inheritance in the Scandinavian world. And while it is prior to the Viking era, what it reveals is a ritual that carried on through that period. One of

Tune Rune Stone (c) Skadinaujo CC BY-SA 2.5

the sentences etched on the stone was: For WodundaR, a stone Three daughters prepared A funeral feast, the noblest of heirs. This funeral feast is particularly interesting because of the importance placed on one integral element: erfiøl, that is, funeral beer Funeral beer is well attested to in the medieval legal texts of Norway. The GulathingsLov, a series of law tracts, stated ‘And when men are dead and the heir will make beer after (them)’. But what is critical for our purposes is the funeral of Unnr attested to in Laxdaela Saga Unnr was a truly remarkable woman. Described as ‘peerless among women’, She was honoured and revered in her lifetime and was an extremely powerful matriarch of her family. Though exhausted and at the end of her life, Unnr was determined to marry off her grandson. She prepared an elaborate feast. She greeted & entertained each of her guests w/ care for which she was renowned. And in her final act, she gracefully retired to bed and never woke up. And thus the wedding feast changed into a funeral feast, likely complete with funeral beer. And we know Viking women dominated the brewing of ale. More on that later.

Source: Bernard Mees, ‘Further Thoughts on the Tune Memorial’, in Norsk Lingvistisk Tidsskrift Volume 33 (2015), p. 49; for more information on the stone please see Frans-Arne Stylegar, ‘The Tune stone and its archaeological context’.


Day 16 #31beerherstories and as promised, I am back with more on Viking women and brewing. This is rather exciting for my bc I get to use my thesis! Yay! So. On with it: Brewing ale was of critical importance in many a Viking ritual.

So in an act of revenge, Guðrún fed him the flesh of his two sons that she had slaughtered, ‘”Thou shalt never call | to thy knees again| Erp or Eitil, | when merry with ale…’ At this revelation the whole hall takes up weeping. All except Guðrún, who the poem makes clear, never cries, not once, not when her brothers were killed nor now for her sons. Atli, rather stupidly, opted to get wasted while she gave away his wealth, and freed his dogs and thralls. And in her And in her final act, slaughtered him and burned his hall to ash.

In Lady with the Mead Cup: Ritual, Prophesy and Lordship in the European Warband from La Tene to the Viking Age, Michael Enright explored in detail this link between women serving ale, or alcohol more generally, and rituals of power. You see while ale itself was a critical component of rituals as seen above, the activity of serving it was integral to Viking cultural traditions. Over and over and over again, throughout the corpus of Norse sagas and beyond, women were directly associated with alcohol. In fact, Enright argued that ‘so commonly and internally consistent is this pattern as to be practically impossible to overlook.’

And the archaeological sources support such arguments. For example, bowls are often found in Viking furnished burial. These are usually declared to be female graves, and according to Shelia Raven, their presence in these burials, along with other ‘luxury’ vessels associated with liquids, ‘may either signify a wealthy woman’s role as hostess in the feasting hall, or alternatively her status as a woman of wealth and refinement in having at her disposal a personal “washing set”‘. And indeed, one of the most common depictions in Viking art is ‘that of a female figure presenting a warrior with a drinking horn.’

So there we have it, a brief glance into the Viking female servers and brewers of ale. And, in a bit of shameless self-promotion, if you want to hear more about Vikings and brewing, specifically about Vikings, brewing and medieval Dublin, read my forthcoming book 🙂

Source: Lady with the Mead Cup: Ritual, Prophesy and Lordship in the European Warband from La Tene to the Viking Age by Michael Enright


For Saint Patrick’s Day #31beerherstories I will be posting all day abut women who brewed in medieval Ireland, along with some excellent archaeological materials from the @NMIreland Archaeology. Let’s begin.

Day 17 #31beerherstories will begin with Saint Brigid and her miraculous brew day. So the story goes that Easter was fast approaching and Brigid decided she wanted to supply all the local churches with some ale in celebration. Now, this deeply concerned her nuns at the newly established monastic community in Kildare, because they did not have anywhere near the proper amount of supplies. But ale-feasts at Easter time were of critical importance, and so Brigid was determined to see this through.

In any event, they found themselves with only one vat, two tubs, and one Bushell of malt with which to make all this ale. Nevermind that it also had to ferment almost instantly. And so one of her hagiographers tells us that: ‘Now Sunday approached. ‘I do not think it fortunate now’, said Brigit to her maidens, ‘not to have ale on Low Sunday for the bishop who will preach and say Mass.’ As soon as she said that, two maidens went to the water to bring in water and they had a large churn for the purpose and Brigit was not aware of this. When they came back again, Brigit saw them there. ‘Thanks be to God’, said Brigit. ‘God has given us beer for our bishop.’ ’ The nuns became frightened then. ‘May God help us. O maiden.’ ‘Whatever foolish thing I said, I have not said anything evil, O nuns.’ The water which was brought inside, because you have blessed it, God did what you desired and immediately it was changed into ale with the smell of wine from it, and better ale was never set to brew in the [whole] world.’ There are many versions of this tale present in the different Lives written about Brigid, but the overarching theme is the same. Brigid makes miraculous ale to supply to the surrounding people and churches.

Sources: There are various Lives written about Brigid, but the first is The Life of Saint Brigid written by a monk of Kildare called Cogitosus in the 7th century. I will have much more about Brigid in my book.

Day 17 #31beerherstories to tie in yesterday’s post with our theme today, here are some ladles, bowls, and buckets from Viking Dublin. These could have been used by women to serve ale during feasts and ritual events. These can found at @NMIreland Archaeology Viking exhibition

Day 17 #31beerherstories By 13c brewing is female-dominated in Dublin. The Ordinances by the Common Council of the City of Dublin, from 14th century, only referenced women: ‘no woman-brewer shall brew with straw under penalty of 20 shillings’. Possible brewing cauldron from @NMIreland


Day 18 #31beerherstories Women & brewing in Mesopotamia. I have touched on this before with Ninkasi, but let’s look a little deeper. I read a paper today by Lance Allred, which talked about the legal evidence that women were the dominant brewers in these societies. For example, The Code of Hammurabi contains three laws regarding brewers, all referenced as female. Allred stated that ‘The Sumerian King List tells us that the third dynasty of Kiš was founded by one Ku-Ba’u, described as a female brewer. ‘Ancient Babylon often has images of women drinking beer from straws. And many ancient texts reference female brewers. I have talked about one of these before, Siduri, from the Epic of Gilgamesh, and here is what I found: So Siduri is a Sumerian goddess who appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh and is associated with beer. I have looked at various translations of this text and she is listed as alewife, tavern-keeper, divine girl and winemaker. (See: https://uruk-warka.dk/Gilgamish/The%20Epic%20of%20Gilgamesh.pdf…) In this tale, she is running a tavern at the edge of the world when Gilgamesh approaches her for aid. When he comes close to her house she quickly bars the door against him. She thinks he is a thief and a criminal b/c of his bedraggled appearance. He is in bits, apparently. He sticks his foot in the door and tells her his name, to which she replies, essentially, if you are Gilgamesh who has done all these amazing feats, why do you look so horrible? He then explains that his friend has died and he is in deep mourning.

And here is where some scholars have argued that she expressed one of the first instances of the philosophy of carpe diem. She said, “Gilgamesh, where are you hurrying to? You will never find that life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and… day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man.” A good translation: http://pelister.org/courses/topics/gilgamesh/gilgamesh2.pdf

So essentially, the carpe diem philosophical interpretation has been: Gilgamesh take a bath, get yourself together and enjoy your life now, immortality is only for the gods, you will die. This idea that she is speaking a carpe diem type philosophy is found in throughout the scholarship. You can see instances of it here (https://preview.tinyurl.com/vv6pue5) and here (https://tinyurl.com/w3vxyml) This idea has been challenged, with some scholars like Susan Ackerman and Gary Anderson arguing that this is instead Siduri trying to get him to stop mourning the death of his friend and return to living his life. Other scholars, like Tzvi Abusch state that this is Siduri telling Gilgamesh to get himself a –human- wife.

Source: Lance Allred, Beer and Women in Mesopotamia (AOS 2008)

Gelatin silver print photograph of traditional Ainu storehouse, with child in traditional costume visible at lower left corner, c. 1890s.

Day 19 #31beerherstories Kamui Fuchi ‘The Great Ancestress” of the Ainu. A critical part of housewarming ceremonies was the brewing of sacred beer in her honour until this was banned by the government. A low-alcohol brew which was said to make the drinkers closer to their ancestors and deities, something we have seen across cultures in our stories this month. Munro described the brewing of this beer & it was made from millet. During the straining process, Kamui Fuchi is asked to protect the brew, as she is asked to protect the house.

Source: Munro, Ainu Creed and Cult



Day 20 #31beerherstories and the Dogon of Mali, specifically, the diety Yasigi and women who brew for her. Yasigi is an important goddess and is often represented carrying a ladle for serving beer to those who gathered at ceremonies. Dogon women are renowned for their brewing prowess and have been brewing for ages. Using grains such as sorghum and millet, they can make different batches of wort and then blend them together. These beers are central to many important ceremonies, as in most cultures today.

Sources: Liquid Bread: Beer and Brewing in Cross-Cultural Perspective Rosalind Hackett, Art and Religion in Africa


Day 21 #31beerherstories1364, Alice, a Brewster, cheated her customers by selling them false amounts of ale: she added 1½ inches of pitch to the bottom of an unsealed quart measure thus making them so ‘severely false that even her six quarts didn’t add up to a gallon’.To be clear, these practices were not limited to women or ale. The beer brewers were not at all immune to cheating, as Judith Bennett concluded from her examination of the London reports of the brewers guild, ‘we learn that these wealthy and prestigious guildsmen regularl cheated their measures, sold unwholesome ale or beer, charged unfair prices, brewed strong beer that encouraged drunkenness, tolerated disorderly houses, kept unclean premises, and wantonly disobeyed city orders’.

Source: Judith Bennett, Ale, Beer and Brewsters in England: Women’s work in a changing world 1300–1600, (New York, 1996)


Day 22 #31beerherstories The Celts. Many scholars, such as Ian Hornsey, have argued that women were the primary brewers in Celtic society, much as they were in many ancient ones. Interestingly, loads of charred barley grains were unearthed at Eberdingen-Hochdorf, a 2,550 year-old Celtic settlement. Using these materials, archaeobotanist Hans-Peter Stika attempted to recreate a Celtic ale using Iron Age methods.

Source: For the full results of his brew and to read more about this find please see his paper: ‘Early Iron Age and Late Mediaeval Malt Finds From Germany: Attempts At Reconstruction of Early Celtic Brewing and The Taste of Celtic Beer’.



Day 23 #31beerherstories In ancient Honduras, feasting was a central part of their culture. At Puerto Escondido used circa 1600- 200 BCE, the earliest remains of cacao were concluded to have been used in a type of beer c. Interestingly, scholars Joyce & Henderson argue that brewing was designed to ‘build solidarity & create hierarchy.’ & w/ visible brewing ‘actors were foregrounding the labor and creativity that went into the manufacture of the beverage that would be distinctive in flavour, which brought more prestige to the feast giver.’ According to Joyce and Henderson, ‘These results support the proposition that fermenting the fruity pulp of cacao to produce a chicha-like beverage probably preceded the use of the seeds for chocolate.’ Since women were central to Chicha production throughout South and Central American and later Maya sources show women creating these cacao beverages, so it is possible that women were an integral part of the brewing process for these beverages.

Sources: Strung Out on Archaeology: An Introduction to Archaeological Research By Laurie A Wilkie Chemical and archaeological evidence for the earliest cacao beverages John S. Henderson, Rosemary A. Joyce, Gretchen R. Hall, W. Jeffrey Hurst, and Patrick E. McGovern


Koru-Kalevala, The Illustrated Kalevala sketches for Vainamoinen’s visit in Tuonela. 1923-1924.

Day 24 #31beerherstories The brewing women of the Kalevala. The Kalevala is the national epic of Finland. It was edited in the 19th c by Elias Lönnrot and compiled from Karelian Finnish folklore. It prominently featured beer, esp. brewing women. Here is part of one tale: “Osmotar, the beer-preparer, Brewer of the drink refreshing, Takes the golden grains of barley, Taking six of barley-kernels, Taking seven tips of hop-fruit, Filling seven cups with water, On the fire she sets the caldron, Boils the barley, hops, and water, Lets them steep, and seethe, and bubble Brewing thus the beer delicious,” In the hottest days of summer, On the foggy promontory, On the island forest-covered; Poured it into birch-wood barrels, Into hogsheads made of oak-wood. “Thus did Osmotar of Kalew Brew together hops and barley, Could not generate the ferment. Thinking long and long debating, Thus she spake in troubled accents: ‘What will bring the effervescence, Who will add the needed factor, That the beer may foam and sparkle, May ferment and be delightful?’ Kalevatar, magic maiden, Grace and beauty in her fingers, Swiftly moving, lightly stepping, In her trimly-buckled sandals, Steps upon the birch-wood bottom, Turns one way, and then another, In the centre of the caldron; Finds within a splinter lying From the bottom lifts the fragment, Turns it in her fingers, musing: ‘What may come of this I know not, In the hands of magic maidens, In the virgin hands of Kapo, Snowy virgin of the Northland!’ “Kalevatar took the splinter

To the magic virgin, Kapo, Who by unknown force and insight. Rubbed her hands and knees together, And produced a snow-white squirrel; Thus instructed she her creature, Gave the squirrel these directions: ‘Snow-white squirrel, mountain-jewel, Flower of the field and forest, Haste thee whither I would send thee, Into Metsola’s wide limits, Into Tapio’s seat of wisdom; Hasten through the heavy tree-tops, Wisely through the thickest branches, That the eagle may not seize thee, Thus escape the bird of heaven. Bring me ripe cones from the fir-tree, From the pine-tree bring me seedlings, Bring them to the hands of Kapo, For the beer of Osmo’s daughter.'”

Source: To finish this story about the beer that would not ferment, you can read the rest of the Kalevala: http://gutenberg.org/cache/epub/5186/pg5186-images.html


Day 25 #31beerherstories and we have Yidi from ancient China. Yidi was the wife of the Emperor Yu and is credited with the discovery of alcohol c. 2000-1600 BCE. Ancient China, and indeed, more modern China, beer/alcohol were an important part of hosting, as many other places. They also had a method for heat-pasteurizing their rice beer in the Tang Dynasty. According to Huang, Two pieces of beeswax, five slices of bamboo leaves, and half a pill of serrated arum, are added to a jar of newly pressed wine, which is covered with mulberry leaves. It is placed on a steamer and heated until the wine inside begins to boil. The wax acts as a defoamer and prevents the wine from frothing over. When the fire dies down the jar is removed, placed in a heap of lime, and allowed to cool very slowly. ” Recently, a complex brewery was found near the Wei River, which revealed traces of a beer containing broomcorn millet, barley, and Chinese pearl barley. Finally, rice beer could last for up to 5 years and took up to 85 days to make. It was a critical part of feasting rituals and also played an important role in various ceremonies, as we have seen across cultures, temporal contexts, and locations.

Source: You can read more about that find here: Oldest beer-making “factory” found near the Wei River in China  thevintagenews.com

Other source: “Drinking Beer in a Blissful Mood” Alcohol Production, Operational Chains, and Feasting in the Ancient World1 by Justin Jennings, Kathleen L. Antrobus, Sam J. Atencio, Erin Glavich, Rebecca Johnson, German Loffler, and Christine Luu 2. H. T., Huang, Biology and biological technology, pt. 5, Fermentations and food science. (Science and Civilization in China 6.) Edited by Joseph Needham. New York: Cambridge University Press 3. Amber Shine and Black Dragon Pearls: The History of Chinese Wine Culture by Peter Kupfer 4. Ancient Chinese Inventions By Yinke Deng


Day 26 #31beerherstories Women in Northeast India have been brewing apong for generation after generation after generation. This excellent article details the story of women from a Mishing village who have been making apong for years : https://scroll.in/article/857160/assam-how-tribal-communities-brew-apong-their-drink-reveals-a-lot-about-gender-and-tradition…. Some highlights: Apong is a kind of rice beer, and there are two kinds of along: Nogin and Po:ro, Barman stated, “For the Nogin apong, starter cakes called E’pob are made by crushing rice with medicinal plants, each providing a unique health quotient (and sweetness) to the drink… Biju also tells me that some flowers are used, though she doesn’t know their names. Cooked rice is laid out on leaves of banana or bamboo and after it cools, crushed E’pob is added to the rice… Then the entire mixture is put inside a pitcher or a plastic drum, the latter more commonly visible these days. I am told that in summer it may take up to 6 days for a proper fermentation. After that the mixture is filtered and the waste is used as pig or poultry fodder”.

Importantly, Barman concluded that “brewing beer acts as a cathartic outlet from their everyday tasks.” The article has a really interesting discussion of brewing beer within the patriarchies in which we all live, and why in this particular patriarchy allows women to brew, “But, it can also be argued that such outlets are “permissible” only because any complete subversion might be crushed. In that respect, merry women producing better beer is a part of myth-making. Forms of carnival laughter such as this, are made available to women only… temporarily because the fruition of counter-knowledge in the process is perceived as the real threat.” I am off to track down this book, as I really want to read it!

Source article: “Assam: How tribal communities brew apong, their drink, reveals a lot about gender and tradition” Excerpted with permission from “Hands That Brew”, by Rini Barman, from Centrepiece: New Writing And Art From Northeast India, edited by Parismita Singh, Zubaan Books


Pažaislis Monastery, Kaunas, Lithuania. CC BY SA 3.0 Diliff

Day 27 #31beerherstories Lithuania. Women have been an integral part of brewing beer in the region known as Lithuania for centuries. In early pagan times, women brewed beer that was used in a variety of important ceremonies and religious rituals. For example, women made beer and bread in honor of the Gabija, the goddess of grain. Beer would also be poured out in her honor. Additionally, a portion of the bride’s hair was cut off and mixed with beer, to be drunk by a pagan priest. Beer was also used in the naming of a child, Maria Paplauskas-Ramunas cited an ex by Praetorious: “The midwife kills a hen which has laid its eggs and boiled It very carefully, making sure not to spill a drop. The soup and meat Is eaten only by the mother, the midwife, and women who play a role similar to that of godmothers.

The midwife starts the ceremony with a prayer to Laima for the child’s happiness. She then pours some beer on the ground in honor of Zemyna. Then the women drink three glasses of beer each and (with the exception of the mother) eat while kneeling. After the hen has been eaten the midwife and the other women put money on the table for the child’s good luck. the mother then gives the midwife a “nuometas” and the other women waistbands. Finally, the mother kneels down at the chair where the hen was eaten and drinks three glasses of the same beer.”

@larsga also noted the importance of women brewing beer in the Early Modern period, stating, “…dark beer was considered sacred, with a role not unlike that of altar wine, but in a pagan context. It was brewed by women, who performed rituals during the brewing. ”

Sources: WOMAN IN LITHUANIAN FOLKLORE by Maria Paplauskas-Ramunas LITHUANIAN BEER A rough guide by Marius Garshol


Day 28 #31beerherstories and we are talking about kvass, a low alcohol beer type beverage largely produced by women in Russia and other places in Eastern Europe. Kvass is still consumed widely in many areas. It is made by mixing flour and malts, in particular rye, with hot, or boiling, water. It was then heated for several hours and allowed to ferment for one to three days. It is not considered an alcoholic beverage as such, where it is still drunk.

Source: Ian Hornsey, A History of Beer and Brewing.


Day 29 #31beerherstories medieval and early modern female brewers in The Netherlands. Like many places elsewhere in Europe, brewing came to be more professionalized and guilds formed. In places like England, these guilds often forced women out of the industry, among other reasons. However, Marjolein van Dekken has found that due to the fact that women could inherit these guild memberships from their husbands, women could remain in the industry. She stated, “However, even during the early modern period when breweries became highly commercial and capital intensive enterprises, women continued to work in the industry, both as owners and as employees. In fact, in Haarlem, from 1518 and 1663, showed that 97 brewsters, three-quarters of whom were widows, were operating among a total of 536 brewers in the city. In contrast to other places in Europe, there were no restrictions on female membership. She said, “Women almost always became brewers or distillers by inheriting a company. The only new people in the trade were men or to be more precise: couples, of which only the man was registered as an entrepreneur. This is a really interesting point, and something that we can see in other areas, like England,

Source: Marjolein van Dekken PhD thesis: “Brewing, distilling and serving Working women in Dutch drink industry, 1500-1800”


Day 30 #31beerherstories in Nepal, women brew Jaandh, a type of beer, and have been brewing this beverage for generations and generations. According to Yesha Malla, this is made with a variety of ingredients such as rice, millet, or barley. different cultures brew this beer in different ways. Malla stated, “In Newari households, the rice is soaked in water for half an hour and then steamed. Before it is completely cooked, the rice is taken out and washed with cold water and then steamed again. Once cooked, the rice is spread out on a sheet of plastic for some of the moisture to dry. According to Sanu Maiya, who lives in Itache, Bhaktapur and farms for a living, this is then mixed with a fermentation agent called manaapu or murcha, which is sold in certain shops in the. form of ‘bricks’, and should be powdered and then kept in an earthen vessel. The vessel is covered well to make it airtight and warm, and the mixture is stirred once or twice a day. If the temperature is warm enough, the fermentation process takes as few as three days, the strong alcoholic smell already emanating from the vessel. Once the rice ferments, it is called ponka in Newari, and the resultant liquid is the main concentrate of Jaandh known as munti.”

Malla described this beer as sweet and slightly sour. It is an important part of hosting events and religious purposes, much like we have seen across cultures.

Source: Yesha Malla JAANDH : AN INTEGRAL PART OF NEPALI CULTURE FOOD ISSUE 107 SEP, 2010 https://web.archive.org/web/20180907011914/http://ecs.com.np/food/jaandh-an-integral-part-of-nepali-culture

Kava drying in Lovoni Village, Ovalau, Fiji, Taken by Helen Creighton in October 2001


Day 31 #31beerherstories Kava brewing throughout Oceania, such as Tonga, Fiji, and Samoa. Both men and women take part in the brewing process, in various places. According to Lewin, “In Waja…women are said to have their own kava societies, similar to those on Tonga”. and furthermore, on Fiji when a kava feast takes place without ceremonies, it is girls who chew the root for the creation of the kava beverage. The ceremonies and processes’ for making this beverage can vary greatly, as with brewing we have seen throughout cultures.

Source: Phantastica: A Classic Survey on the Use and Abuse of Mind-Altering Plants By Louis Lewin



And there we have it, The Mega List. Later on this week, I will be posting some final thoughts on this project and some ideas for future study!