The Tale of John Barleycorn: Or from Barley to Beer
(David R Godine, Oct. 4, 2018)
We have entered an age where microbreweries are in the mainstream, producing experimental amber nectars to the taste (and sometimes distaste) of all palates. Using flavors as diverse as chocolate, grapefruit, mint, and more, brewers push the boundaries of what it means to make a beer. Online groups exist to trade rare brews from coast to coast and country to country (Pliny the Elder, Heady Topper, anyone?), but here, Mary Azarian, with her characteristically charming woodcuts, takes us back to a simpler time where fifteenth-century households produced up to two hundred gallons of beer and ale a month. Seen as a nutritional necessity, this beer came from grain and fresh spring water, and was primarily brewed by women. The Ballad of John Barleycorn is still sung in England today, personifying the spirit of the grain, the essential component of beer-making. From planting, harvesting, brewing, and celebrating, this ballad covers the process of beer-making. Including a four-ingredient recipe, this book reminds us that sometimes the simplest way is best.