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Beer on DVD  no.62

Your Shout!

“Your Shout” from History Channel, combines the history of brewing in Australia with a potted animated account of ancient Babylonian bakers discovering the miraculous blending of water and barley with their yeast. Also learn that native Americans welcomed Columbus with beer when he first set foot on their shores. Captain Cook actually brewed beer on his 1770 voyage in 1770 to sterilize the ship’s fetid drinking water. The drink of choice for Australia’s early settlers was rum with consequent drunkenness, so state governments decided to support beer brewing.
A lot of the early stuff was pretty foul; soupy and nutricious but cloudy warm and flat. Higher temperatures than brewers were used to in cooler climates meant that the beer wouldn’t keep as well. Refrigeration was deployed in an Australian brewery a good 50 years before in the USA. The barrels were heavy and roads were poor so in any new town that was built there’d be a brewery or two or three. In a town in Victoria at a civic celebration for Queen Victoria’s birthday, the 400 guests all went down with diarrhoea (or whatever Aussies call it). In the 1880s there were 300+ breweries in Australia.
Today there remains one large family-owned brewery from that time, Cooper’s. Mrs Cooper from Yorkshire was poorly and persuaded her husband Thomas to brew her some ale, as a tonic, mind, since they were Methodists. Legend says he used their bathtub as a fermenter. Thomas would not sell to alehouses, only door-to-door, but his sons went on to sell to the trade. As all around the world, much of the brewing is in the hands of multi-nationals* but at the time the documentary was made the count of small breweries had reached a healthy 106.A large part of the documentary is devoted to the Australian pub, which, talking of being at the heart of the community, at one time had to have a morgue in the cellar! You’ll also learn about the 6pm closing time, and, blink or you’ll miss it, footage of Toby the Tram Engine on a Sydney street. You will also enjoy some hilarious tv commercials. It’s a Region 4 disc which plays on multi-region players and some others. It will cost around a tenner by mail order

 printed in O-to-K,  December2018  main text ©RKW 2018