From Tuder Times.
Ale was the staple drink in the fifteenth century and the first half of the sixteenth, in both England and Scotland. By the end of the period, ale was giving way to beer, much to the disgust of older members of society who thought it a nasty, foreign brew.
Water was not generally safe to drink, particularly in urban areas and milk was only available around calving time. Any excess milk was far too valuable for drinking, and was saved for butter and cheese production.
Both ale and beer are made from barley, the difference between the two being the addition of hops to make beer. Adding hops to beer was prevalent in the Low Countries, particularly Holland, and beer was first imported to Winchelsea in around 1400. Imported beer grew in popularity, fulminations against “the pernicious weed, hops” notwithstanding, but the hop plant itself was not cultivated in Britain until around 1520.
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