Iron Age Brew
Egwolf awoke with his customary headache
and reached for a ramshorn of Brew. Elsewhere in the roundhouse
others also roused and downed their first draft of the day. Those
who drank water got ill and died, although Egwolf often wondered
if there was a better way to make it safe than fermenting Brew.
Those who drank Brew could be divided into
Firstly there were those who became
intoxicated very quickly. They died too, in a variety of ways.
There were those, like Eringard, who might take exception to the
way a wild boar or some other dangerous carnivore looked at them
and then make the decision to fight it. There were others, like
Cairnfeld, who might become convinced that they could fly if only
they could jump from a high enough cliff. A terrible waste of
life but great anecdotes for long drinking sessions.
The second and largest group, of which
Egwolf was a member, retained enough sense to stay alive but
spent their entire lives in an alcoholic haze.
The third group were virtually unaffected
by the intoxicating properties of Brew but also tended to have a
limited lifespan, often being put to death by the second group
for being annoying, self-righteous smart-arses. Ethelwarp was a
case in point. He had been the sixth person during the previous
millennium to independently invent the wheel. He had become very
angry, however, when no one else cared and had unwisely pointed
out that non-stop partying meant no significant technological,
scientific or cultural advances had been made in the previous ten
thousand years. At some level the others recognised a profound
truth in this and drowned him, like his predecessors, in a vat of
Today it was the turn of Egwolfs
roundhouse to make the Brew. Everyone collected outside the
building and shouted Its our roundhouse in
order to remind the others in the settlement. Others would shout
back Its your roundhouse to ensure no confusion.
Thousands of years later, this ritual would be preserved in the
expressions Its my round or Its
your round in relation to purchase of alcoholic beverages.
When ready, the opaque, yeasty liquid would
be carried to the local drinking circles where it would be
consumed amid singing, dancing and story-telling until most
gathered there were propped unconscious against the standing
stones. This once again leading to the later expression of being
Stone avenues leading from the circles had
been a wonderful invention in helping the villagers find their
way home at night or locate one of the fast food longbarrows.
Twenty-first century archaeologists are now
accepting the theory that people in the Iron Age had many parties.
Egwolf, however, could have told them they were wrong. There was
just the one - beginning in 12,000 BC and ending with the Roman