Get a taste of history with beer brewed in medieval and Tudor styles

Museum of Norwich staff Elliot Sadler, buildings services assistant, Sarah Harvey, visitors services

Museum of Norwich staff at the event where visitors could try medieval and Tudor-brewed beer - Credit: Danielle Booden

Punters have been given the chance to have a sip of the past with beers brewed in the style of years gone by.

Visitors to the Museum of Norwich undercroft this week were whisked back to the 1320s courtesy of a beer brewed for the City of Ale Festival. 

Bethan Holdridge is the curator of community history at the Museum of Norwich and saw a gap in the popular festival as the brochures featured a paragraph about each of the pubs.  

Bethan Holdridge, assistant curator of social history at the Museum of Norwich. Picture: Danielle Bo

Bethan Holdridge, assistant curator of social history at the Museum of Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Bethan explained: “It made me realise it was far more of an historical heritage and community event rather than your average beer trail.  

“I saw this connection with the museum service - in particular the Museum of Norwich.” 

The museum in Bridewell Alley already features displays of the history of brewing within the city.  

Tasting of Bruha's lager taking place at the Museum of Norwich undercroft on Bridewell Alley. Pictur

Tasting of Bruha's lager taking place at the Museum of Norwich undercroft in Bridewell Alley. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

So she enlisted the help of Bruha Brewing based in Eye, which brewed two beers in the medieval and Tudor styles. 

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It was served at an event in the museum's undercroft this week.

Bethan said: “Medieval beer is pre-hopped beer - hops were not popularised until visitors brought them to the city in 1565.  

“After that time we had regular refugees who would come and settle in the city.  

Social Media Specialist Robbie Nichols trying some of Bruha's lagerat the Museum of Norwich undercro

Social media specialist Robbie Nichols trying some of Bruha's lager at the Museum of Norwich undercroft. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

“They brought lots of different things with them which included hops for beer.

"This was handy because they act as a preservative for beer so if people were going on long sea voyages their beer wouldn’t go bad.” 

The Tudor beer on offer was hopped unlike the medieval beer.

However it was not hopped in the same way beer drinkers are used to.  

Bethan said: “I expect people found it a strange taste to begin with.” 

Museum of Norwich undercroft on Bridewell Alley. Picture: Danielle Booden

Museum of Norwich undercroft on Bridewell Alley. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Bethan added there is a misconception that people drank a lot of beer in Norwich because the water tasted bad in medieval times. 

She added: “They did drink water they were just selective of where it came from, but beer had a nice flavour. 

“The beer they were drinking through the day had a light alcohol content so they wouldn’t just be getting hammered - it was also guaranteed to be safer than water.” 

Bruha IPA, Lager and Session Pale. Picture: Danielle Booden

Bruha IPA, Lager and Session Pale. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

A Bruha Lager being poured at the Museum of Norwich on Bridewell Alley. Picture: Danielle Booden

A Bruha Lager being poured at the Museum of Norwich in Bridewell Alley. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden