Beer Facts for St. Patty's Day

March 17, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Today, of course, is St. Patrick's Day.

While there is no “official” connection between the commemoration of the day and drinking, lots of people do find a way to link the two. Whether you are one of those folks or not, alcohol has had an intriguing influence on a surprising number of phrases and practices that we all use today.

About 4000 years ago, it was the accepted practice in Babylonia that for a month after the wedding, the bride’s father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer, and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the “honey month” or what we know to day as the “Honey moon”

Before invention of the thermometer, brewers used to check the temperature by dipping their thumb, to find whether appropriate for adding Yeast. Too hot, the yeast would die. This is where we get the phrase “The Rule of the Thumb”

In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender used to yell at them to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down. From where we get “mind your own P’s and Q’s”.

After consuming a vibrant brew called Aul or Ale, the Vikings would go fearlessly to the battlefield, without their armor, or even their shirts. The “Berserk” means “bear shirt” in norse, and eventually to the meaning of wild battles.

Way down in 1740, the Admiral Veron of the British fleet decided to water down the navy’s rum, which naturally, the sailors weren’t pleased with. They nicknamed the Admiral Old Grog, after the still stiff grogram coats he used to wear. The term grog soon began to mean the watered down drink itself. When you are drunk on this this grog, you are “groggy”, a word still in use.

Long ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim of their beer mugs or ceramic/glass cups. The whistle was used to order services. Thus we get the phrase, “wet your whistle”.

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