In 1814 in the London Parish of St.Giles, a colossal vat of beer ruptured and sent 400,000 Gallons of beer merrily sloshing through the streets. Several streets were flooded. It is not known whether residents were ale to source enough peanuts and potato crisps to make a party, or how many sore heads there were in the Parish the next morning.
In the UK, one of the beer types that is less commonly found nowadays is the 'Old Ale'. Typically, an Old Ale type is a beer with an Alcohol by Volume (ABV) value of 5% or greater and is usually hark brown or Dark Red in colour.
However, when the Egyptian pyramids were explored, they found traces of malted barley inside, along with other artefacts. As you will know, Malted Barley is the primary constituent of ale. It seems that, as long ago as 550 BC people wanted to send their pharaohs into the next world with the ability to make a good beer to fortify them for the journey.
We do not know the style of beers they might have made but, irrespective of colour or ABV, i think it is fair to say they were very Old Ales!
You may have noticed that India Pale Ales (IPA's) such as our own Midlife Crisis, are usually hoppier than regular ales. It is entirely possible (and completely understandable) if you have noticed this and not given it any further thought. However, if you HAVE ever wondered why this might be, well today is your lucky day!
In the days of the British Empire, they used to ship beer from the mother country out to the colonies in India. Because of the long voyage and the hot climate of the destination, more often than not, the beer was spoilt by the time it arrived at it's destination.
They then noticed that hops had good antiseptic properties and, moreover, that if they increased the concentration of the hops in the beer, that the beer would not spoil en route and would arrive at it's destination in ready-to-drink condition.
That the drinkers then developed a taste for the extra hoppy beers (the genesis of today's 'hophead' drinker), was a happy accident borne out of the necessity of making the beer transportable.
And so the classic, hoppy IPA was born.