I realise I’m whistling into a gale here. But if you want an expression that will cover everything from Kölsch to porter, taking in saison, IPA, mild, Oud Bruin and Alt on the way, then it’s “warm-fermented beers”. Not “ale”. Please. Because if you use “ale” in a broad, ahistoric sense to mean “any beer… Read More Look, will you all stop misusing the word ‘ale’. Thank you
Before we dive more fully into the tangled roots of the words “ale” and “beer”, we have to tackle one particularly knotted strand first, caused by the curious fact that, four hundred years before English adopted the word bier from the Continent to describe a malt liquor flavoured with hops (altering the spelling to “beere”),… Read More Words for beer (2) – was ‘beer’ originally cider?
There are four or five competing theories for the origin of the word “beer” and, frankly, none of them is particularly convincing. The same is true of the word “ale”, as it happens: despite “ale” and its sisters, such as öl in Swedish and alus in Lithuanian, being found in languages from Britain to the… Read More Words for beer
I love etymology. To binge, the Oxford English Dictionary reveals, was originally a Lincolnshire (and, it implies, East Midlands generally) dialect word meaning “to soak (a wooden vessel)”. The metaphorical extension of meaning from soaking wood to soaking yourself was an easy journey, and by 1854 a book called A Glossary of Northamptonshire Words had… Read More Binge drinking: a brief history