For those of you who spend more time drinking and less time wondering about why, hops is the ingredient that gives beer it’s astringent taste. It is also a preservative that keeps beer from going bad.
Prior to hops various things were added, usually sugar (honey for mead, various fruit juices) but also marigold and horehound and other astringent herbs.
Anyway, I was wondering if it were possible the Danes took hops to England in the 11th c. or if maybe the Normans did. So there I was checking out the history of England c. 1066.
Well I got led astray by Ehtelred the Unready – and who wouldn’t? – and found myself reading about the various Kings of England, coming across Knut the Great.
Knut or Cnut was the ruler of Denmark, Scotland, England, Norway and Sweden with a few chunks of northern europe and Ireland thrown in for good measure. Hence his greatness.
Knut passed on, and the Danes convened a council or parliament to choose his successor. In the end they opted for his son, Harthacnut.
I guess they decided Harthacnut was better than none…
[exit stage left, pursued by vegetables…]