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Raise your glass – it’s beer week at Big Barn

With everything going on at the moment, things are starting to seem like a bit of a blur. If we think back to good old normality for a moment, it has been brilliant to see and hear about so many local, craft breweries opening across our country in recent years and, more importantly, being exceptionally well supported. So much so that CAMRA; the Campaign for Real Ale, was suggesting even disbanding because of the quality and variety of good local beer available. That’s not likely to happen anytime soon and their current initiatives around online virtual pubs are brilliant – you should definitely have a read here.

You’ve probably noticed that the last few years have seen a surge in the popularity and number of local Beer festivals and, even many small breweries, have secured licences to allow brewery tours. Many have twinned these with an eatery or a beer gardens and are onto a winner. This success in the local alcohol industry is reflective of exactly what we’re encouraging at BigBarn – it looks likely that the current virus might be the jump start people need to make full use of local farm shops and think again about where their food actually comes from. Our mission is to connect local people with their local producers and there are lots of promising signs across many industries.

Back on to the beers, drinking it is not the only way to enjoy a luscious ale. There are plenty of ways to use it in your cooking even in the warmer months. The rich flavours and aromas can give your cooking depth and excitement. The famous beer bum chicken is a great way to experiment with cooking and enjoy an isolation BBQ at the same time.

So let’s celebrate beer this week and continue discovering and supporting our local breweries and making use of deliveries where journeys are no essential, but first some good old facts about beer, some of which are brilliant for one of those online pub quizzes.

First some beer facts:
– Beer used to be healthier than water because it was boiled and thus sterilised from pathogens. So children, manual workers and drivers would drink beer all day!

– After consuming a bucket or two of ale, the Vikings would head fearlessly into battle, often without armour or even shirts. In fact, “berserk” means “bare shirt” in Norse

– The word “bridal” comes from 19th century Englishmen, who took out their mates for a final “Bride Ale” the day before their wedding.

– The first consumer protection law ever written in 1516 was a purity law limiting the ingredients of beer to barley, hops and water.

– Monks brewing beer in the Middle Ages were allowed to drink five quarts of beer a day.

– The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock because they had run out of beer on the journey.

– Hops in beer mean brewers don’t have to have high alcohol content to prevent spoilage.

– The first references to beer dates to as early as 6,000 BC.

– Tab opening aluminium cans began in 1962, by 1970, over 90% of all beer cans were self-opening.

– Centuries ago in England, pub visitors used mugs with a whistle baked into the rim to summon the barmaid, giving birth to the phrase “wet your whistle.”

– President Theodore Roosevelt took more than 500 gallons of beer with him on an African safari.

– Beer wasn’t sold in bottles until 1850. Beer lovers would visit their local tavern with a special bucket, have it filled and then begin the merry journey home. (Not a bad idea now we’re looking to cut down packaging!)

To find your local beer visit our local food & drink map. Or browse and buy online at the BigBarn MarketPlace

If you have a favourite beer recipe that you’d like to share, or any other recipe, and would like the chance to win a prize, please video your recipe and add it to KIS (Keep it Simple) Cookery. Please have a look at existing videos here and try and keep your video less than 2 minutes long.

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