Articles – W


“Wales” entry at page 822 says: “Saxon records from the 7th century mention ‘Welsh ale’ (or bragawd/bragot), a heavy brew laced with spices. It was as highly prized as another Celtic drink, mead, made from fermented honey.” There is no evidence that the drink referred to in Anglo-Saxon records as Waelsces aloth, Welsh ale in Anglian Old English, or Wilisc ealath, Welsh ale in the Wessex dialect, was the same as the drink known in Old Welsh bragaut, and in modern English as bragget, although the assumption is that they were the same. However, bragaut was not a “heavy brew laced with spices” – there is no evidence for spices in early versions – but a malt-and-honey brew, although spices were certainly sometimes used in later versions, around the 17th century. Not was it “as highly prized as mead” – in fact records of rents and tributes from the 12th century in Wales show clearly that mead was regarded as twice as valuable as bragget, which was itself twice as valuable as ordinary ale.

“Washington, George” entry at page 823 could better describe the breadth of the first American President’s interests in a broad range of drinks.

“Wassail” entry at page 824 repeats Geoffrey of Monmouth’s account of the legend of Rowena, daughter of Hengist, and the pledging of “wacht heil!” by the British king Vortigern in the 5th century, but fails to point out that the story is entirely anachronistic, since using “wæs hæil” as a drinking salutation only came into use hundreds of years later.

“Water” entry at 824 under the sub-heading of “Water Chemistry and Beer Quality” on page 826 lists the sulfate ion as having a 2+ charge. That is incorrect. It has a 2- charge.

“Wee heavy” entry at page 826 fails to make the important point that “wee heavy” is a term known only from the middle of the 20th century, derived from just one brand, Fowler’s Wee Heavy, and described ales known earlier by such designations as 10-Guinea Ale and 12-Guinea Ale. This entry also states that Scottish brewers invariably kept hop content to a minimum and soft water has been a key compenent of Scottish brewing, yet Scottish brewers have used high hop rates and brewed in hard water areas.

“Weevils” entry at page 827 says: “In 16th century England [weevils] were known as ‘maltworms’ and the playwright William Shakespeare makes several references to them and the damage they do to grain.” He does not. Shakespeare uses “malt-worm” two or three times in his plays, but purely metaphorically, to refer to someone fond of drinking ale and beer, a use that continued until at least the 18th century. In addition, the word maltworm meaning “weevil” dates back to at least the 15th century.

“weissbier” entry at page 831 states “In Germany, hefewiezen is never served with the slices of lemon that became strangely ubiquitous in the the Untied States in 1980s and 1990s.” In his 1982 US edition of The Pocket Guide to Beer (before the creation and popularity of the US craft wheat beer style), Michael Jackson wrote “(Weizenbiers) are served in tall, narrow, vase-shaped glasses, usually with a slice of lemon, although some drinkers eschew this embellishment”. Perhaps Jackson was mistaken (although at least one bar in the city of Stuttgart was selling tall glasses of wheat beer with a slice of lemon in during the early 1980s) but it can likely be assumed that the lemon served with US wheat beers probably came from his claim and influence. Additionally, even before Jackson, German-themed bars in the US were serving wiessbier with lemon added in the mid-1970s. As well as the yeast the high protein content of wheat adds to the haze in wheat beers.

“Westvleteren Brewery” entry at page 833 states ” it “is the smallest of the six Belgian Trappist breweries, with yearly production around 5,000 hl.” “Achel Brewery” entry states that it “is the newest and smallest of seven approved Trappist monastery breweries.” Current Achel production is stated to be 3,000hl. Sentences only harmonize if Achel is not Belgian. In fact, Achel is the smallest. Example of poor cross referencing.

“wet hopping” this entry states that: “These beers have emerged largely in the past 10 years and a almost exclusively produced by American craft brewers…” Yet Wadsworth in England have bee making a “green hop” beer for 20 years and many other British breweries now make green hop beers too, see for example Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight.

“Whitbread Brewery” entry at p 841 says “the company entered licensing agreements with lager brewers such as Stella Artois …” Stella Artois is the name of a beer, not a brewer. The brewery was called Artois.

“Whitbread Golding Variety (hop)” entry at page 843 says “a seedling of an old hop variety called Bate’s Brewers”. That should be “Bates’s Brewer”. The farm this hop was first grown on was not owned by Whitbread until 1920, and the hop was orignally called White’s Golding after EH White who owned Beltring Farm when it was first grown.

“White beer” entry at page 843 completely ignores the style called West Country White Ale from England which lasted from at least medieval times until the late 19th century. See here

“woodruff” entry at page 850 states “San Andreas Brewing of Hollister California has brewed its Woodruff Ale since the early 1990s…” As of the date of the first publication of the OCB, the San Andreas Brewing had been closed for years. It operated from 1988 to 2005.

“Worthington Brewery” entry at page 851 says the brewery “was established by William Worthington in the English town of Burton-on-Trent in 1744.” But that was only the year that William Worthington II, son of William Worthington, yeoman farmer of Orton on the Hill, Leicestershire, born 1723, moved to Burton upon Trent to work as a cooper. He did not set up as a brewer until 1760, when he bought a brewery in east High Street, Burton and entered the beer export business, selling Burton ale to customers in Baltic countries. At page 852 it says that the East India beer trade “was dominated by London brewer Abbot & Hodgsons”. The owners of the Bow brewery at the time the Burton brewers came into the trade circa 1823/4 were Frederic Hodgson and Thomas Drane, and it was usually known as Hodgson’s. It did not become Hodgson and Abbott (sic) until in or shortly before 1838.