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The History of Hops in Britain “Probably”

Things to consider: -

· Hops were introduced to Britain just prior to or during the reign of Henry VIII

· Hops are a powerful preservative

· Drink produced without hops was known as ale

· Drink produced with hops was known as beer

· Before Hops gruit or grut was used to flavour ale

· Gruit was a mixture of herbs that gave the ale a bitter flavour and was at best only a mild preservative

· Gruit supply was a monopoly controlled by the church on the grounds of regulation of purity and of course the church raised considerable income through this supply

· Henry the VIII was opposed to the Catholic Church, due to marriage concerns, and the fact that they were too wealthy and too powerful

· Henry the VIII liked his beer/ ale, and was known to complain about the consistency of beer quality across the county on his annual grand tour of the nation

· Hopped beer was being imported in small quantities from Belgium and Holland in this period so the king would have known about the consistency of quality that hops provided through their ability to prolong the shelf life of casked beer

So here’s my theory, due to reformation of the church Henry the VIII not only gained his divorce he broke the church’s monopoly on Gruit and therefore pushed the use of hops in Britain. He therefore got a new wife and consistent beer quality in a single stroke, nice one Henry, and as they say the rest is history