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Writing about beer, fatal for the reputation

Back when you could crack wise when discussing The Oxford Companion to Beer I casually mentioned that it would be nice to find the tasting notes written more than 400 years ago by Heinrich Knaust.

His book — Fünff Bucher, von der Göttlichen und Edleen Gabe, der Philosphischen, hochtewren and wunderbaren Kunt Bier zu brawen, first published in 1573 — brought together much of what was understood about brewing at the time. According to Richard Unger in Beer in the Middle Ages he described about 150 beers from Germany in detail. I’ve only seen this one:

“The noble Hamburg beer is the queen of all other wheat, or white, beers, just as the Dantzic beer has the precedence and is queen of all the other barley, or red beers.”

I continue to hope that his work will show up in Google books, so occasionally do a new search. Which is why today I found this in Language and its Functions by Pieter Adrianus Verbung:

“He studied at Wittenbergunder Melanchton and Luther; at an early age he become headmaster of the Gymnasium of Cöllin (Berlin), turned later to jurisprudence, was the author of many words on theology, more philosophy and law, all of them with a polarizing tendency. he wrote lyric and dramatic poetry, inter alid so called ‘school drams,’ often with biblical content, in German and Latin. It was fatal for his reputation as a humanist that the only work of his to achieve fame was his so called beer book.” (Italics added for emphasis.)

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be beer writers.

6 Responses to Writing about beer, fatal for the reputation

  1. Alan October 28, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Someone just coined the phrase “Knaust’s Fate.” Oh. It was me.

  2. Stan Hieronymus October 28, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    Hilarious, Alan.

  3. Bill Night October 29, 2011 at 1:12 am #

    Don’t tell my mother I write about beer. She still thinks I play piano in a whorehouse.

  4. Steve October 31, 2011 at 5:51 am #

    Has Garrett started writing lyric and dramatic poetry yet? 😉

  5. Greg October 31, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    You can buy a scanned version on CD-ROM if you’re so inclined, Stan. 22 Euros from The University of Göttingen Library

  6. Joe Stange October 31, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    I’m a humanist but don’t have a reputation as such. Now I know why.

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