Here at Fueled By Hops, we are more than proud to call ourselves ‘Beer Nerds’. We want to know all about it, try all the brews we can, and talk to our community of other beer nerds about it all.
If you ever find yourself running out of things to talk about, though, these pieces of beer trivia are sure to get a conversation going.
Let’s start with a little etymology. Zythology is, you guessed it, the study of beer and beer brewing. Is it in Merriam-Webster? No. It is in Wiktionary, the Wikipedia dictionary, though, and that’s all the proof we need.
Plus, when you whip this word out in casual conversation at the taproom, chances of your friend carrying a whole dictionary to fact-check you but not having access to Wikipedia are slim to none, so it’s pretty safe to use it.
“Witches” are Probably Just Beer Brewers
Picture a witch. Probably, you’re imagining a woman with a tall pointy hat, a broomstick, and maybe a cat nearby, right? Maybe she’s stirring a cauldron? Yeah, some historians believe that this image comes from old-timey beer brewers (also called alewives).
See, brewing was a woman’s work back in the day, and often they would make large amounts at once (hello, cauldron) to be able to sell what their families didn’t need. If they did have excess to sell, they would advertise by placing a signal outside. The signal was often a broomstick.
Sometimes, they would advertise by standing on corners wearing tall hats for attention. As for the cats, alewives kept them around to chase away any pests that may eat the grain needed for brewing.
So if you’re looking for a costume that’s both overdone and completely original for Halloween this year, might we suggest Alewife?
Beer Founded America (Kind Of)
Obviously that title is a bit of a stretch, but we’re going to make a solid case here so stay with us. The year is 1620 and the Mayflower has set sail for what will one day be the US of A. It’s also November.
Now, we don’t know how much you know about agriculture, but generally speaking November is a bad time to plant things in Massachusetts. The Mayflower was going to sail further south where the weather was warmer, but the ship started running dangerously low on crucial supplies.
It was beer. They were running out of beer.
So instead of continuing south, the captain made the choice to land at Plymouth Rock so that passengers could exit and find water and the remaining beer could be saved for crew members. Seriously. The passengers weren’t happy about it, either.
Documents even survive today in which passengers openly complain about having to drink water instead of beer. We’re passing no judgement, first settlers. That seems like an unfair deal to us, too.
Now that you’re armed with some fascinating beer trivia, consider your beer-nerdiness officially leveled-up. You’ll never run out of things to discuss with fellow beer nerds, or really anyone, ever again. Well, until you’ve told everyone these three things. Then you’re on your own.
We can only do so much, we aren’t zythologists.