Gillian and the Brewsters of Exeter

In medieval England, while the brewing trade was dominated largely by women, especially in rural areas, those who maintained and enforced regulations were male. In particular the position of aletaster, that is a person who evaluated women’s brews and made sure they were keeping to regulations, was wholly male dominated – I have not found […]

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Ninkasi

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. [1]   According to scholars like Ian Hornsby, brewing in Mesopotamian society was the only trade presided over by a goddess of some type.[2]  Residing on Mount Sâbu (‘the […]

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Margery Kempe and Her Failed Brewing Enterprise

Known as an Christian Mystic, Kempe is most famous for writing The Book of Margery Kempe, completed around 1438, wherein she described her life, her flaws, her discussions with God, and her pilgrimages. One such instance was of her brewing. According to her own account, she began to brew ‘out of pure covetousness and in […]

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Hen Droppings and Rosary Beads: The Tunning of Elynour Rummyng

She breweth nappy ale, And maketh thereof pot-sale To travellers, to tinkers, To sweaters, to swinkers, And all good ale-drinkers, Sometime around 1517 John Skelton sat down and wrote one of the most well-known poems of the Early Modern era. A poet and priest, Skelton was accustomed to running in elite circles, from the royal […]

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