Once upon a time in the back garden, I started to do some archaeological grain processing experiments. It was the summer of 1995. I'd just finished an archaeology degree. Now I was enrolled on a master's degree course at Manchester University and I was beginning my investigations into how people may have made the ale in prehistory.
In my final year as an undergraduate, I had chosen the British Neolithic and Bronze Age as my specialist subject. We were told that, in Bronze Age Britain- Beakers were for Beer! Warriors buried with wristguards and bows and arrows and fine beaker pots for their ale! It got a laugh from the class, as any mention of beer and brewing seems to do.I'm still not sure why - but that was when I first began to wonder. "OK. So, how did they make it?"
Being married to a craft brewer, I was used to living in a brew house. The sacks of crushed malt. The delicious aroma of the mash. The rituals. The water and wort spilled on the kitchen floor. Steam emanating from the out house door as he mashed the malt and boiled the wort. We lived in a big, old Victorian house and the dining room was where the beer was fermented. We had a cellar to keep it in. He would bring a sack of crushed malt in through the front door and transform it into beer. It was very good beer. It was a fairly simple process.