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Orly Borges Personal Collection


First things first (this is an English teaching site). Beer rhymes with here and dear not with there and care. If you go into a pub and ask for a bear you will either be laughed at or offered a large aggressive hairy animal with enormous teeth.  :-)

The word "beer" didn't come into general use until the 16th. Century and it was used to describe ale which had had hops added to it. The word is believed to be derived from bibere, "to drink" in Latin and this reflects the importance of beer in English culture.

Until the late 19th. Century beer was not a recreational drink but the everyday drink of the entire population since most water and milk were not safe to drink. It was only a little over a hundred years ago that tea replaced beer as the everyday drink of the British.

Until the end of the 1700s nearly every cottage in the English countryside brewed its own beer. The rural women brewers were called "ale wives". By the way, a nice little point to remember is the fact that the female of "brewer" is "brewster".

The English pub grew from the homes of the most successful ale wives. Their homes became "public houses" or "pubs". Indeed, beer was even once described as "liquid bread"!

The Incredible Antiquity of Beer  
Beer was first developed by the Mesopotamians and the Ancient Egyptians over 5000 years ago. The truth is quite a simple one. Civilization as we know it evolved in the great river valleys such as the Euphrates and the Tigris in Asia Minor and the Nile in North Africa, where the nomads and cave-dwellers gave up chasing and took to growing grains. And where there was grain, sooner or later there was beer. But Egypt was the true home of beer, just as it was the originator of so many arts and institutions. There the patroness of beer was the goddess Isis, and beer was literally the national beverage. 


Egyptian beer -called Hek- was made from lightly baked barley bread. The bread was crumbled, put into jars with water and allowed to ferment, after which the liquid was strained and consumed or bottled. Most Egyptians, even children, drank beer and esteemed it so highly that it was regularly offered as a libation to the gods.

Egypt gave beer its big start but the Greek and Roman conquerors took that special knowledge of brewing with them and spread it al over the world. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon, he toasted his troops with beer, and he always took plenty of it on long marches to keep the legionnaires happy.

Of course, the Egyptian and Middle Eastern brewing industries collapsed with the arrival of Islam. Fortunately, by this time the barbarians in Northern Europe had mastered the art of brewing. Tacitus and Pliny the Elder both bear witness to the strange habit of the Germans and the Gauls of drinking beer instead of wine. Despite the availability of wine in the north and beer in the south, Europe still has a north-south drink divide. Further north, ale had a special place in Viking mythology. Valhalla, the Norse paradise, was where dead warriors went to spend their days drinking beer.

hairy: covered in a lot of hair (peludo)
ale: (specifically) beer without hops; (more generally) beer (cerveza inglesa muy fuerte)
hops: the dried fruit of a climbing plant which is used to make beer taste bitter (lúpulo).
: small house in the country (casa de campo)
to brew: make or ferment beer (or make tea) (elaborar cerveza)
evolved: developed (se desarrolló)
cave-dweller: caveman (cavernícola)
crumbled: broken into pieces or fragments (desmenuzado)
The boundary in ancient times between Italy and Gaul; Caesar's crossing it with his army in 49 BC was an act of war (límite entre Italia y la Antigua Galia en la antigüedad)
toasted: saluted, proposed a toast to (brindó
to master: dominate, control, acquire, learn (dominar, manejar

to bear witness to
: testify to, comment on (atestiguar, testimoniar)
: fighter, (primitive) soldier (guerrero)

Sources: Falstaff's Beer Book - Think in English