Thursday, October 2, 2008

Beer in Colonial Virginia

Frank Clark is the historic foodways supervisor for Colonial Williamsburg. He is also the author of a research paper entitled "A Most Wholesome Liquor: Beer and Ale in 18th-Century England and America". The, a Hampton Roads news site, has excerpts from the paper, and interviews with Clark, in "Brewing back through time":
Who was drinking beer back then? Most people — although it wasn't necessarily recognizable as what we think of as beer today. Servants and slaves were given weak beer as part of their daily ration, or as payment, Clark said. Inventory records from the Williamsburg governor's palace show that beer was being brewed on the grounds, and imported beers were being stored there. Home brew went to the servants. Imports were probably reserved for the governor, his family and friends.

Clark will lead occasional presentations this fall in Colonial Williamsburg. The demonstrations are held at the Governor's Palace scullery. In "The Art and Mysteries of Brewing" interpreters discuss the place of beer in colonial life, demonstrate colonial brewing techniques, and actually brew an 18th century-style beer.

See the complete article at for more information on colonial beer and the program at Colonial Williamsburg.


  1. Do these events take place regularly or is it a one-off? Sounds really interesting and I guess Virginia isn't that far from SC once we move over.

  2. As I understand it, this is an "occassional" presentation.

    I think you'll definitely enjoy the eastern US beer scene!


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