Beers brewed by a Manchester historian with the flavours of Ancient Rome and Medieval Britain have been served to Manchester pubgoers.

Dr Ben Edwards, Senior Lecturer in History at Manchester Metropolitan University, worked on the heritage project with Chester pub and microbrewery The Pied Bull.

Encountering Corpses delegates sampled Roman wheat beer Mithras and Medieval mild 1534 at a special event on Saturday, where Dr Edwards also spoke about beer throughout history.

The remainder of the 140-pint kegs will be on offer to customers of The Salutation pub on Higher Chatham Street, and it is hoped the drinks will be brewed again in the future.

Dr Edwards said: “It can be difficult to bring ancient history to life, so this was a fun way for modern pubgoers to taste and smell what it was like to be a citizen of Roman or Medieval Manchester.

“Many archaeologists and beer enthusiasts have had a go at recreating alcoholic drinks from hundreds of years ago using the methods of the time – so for instance boiling the mix over an open fire.

“We decided to use recipes and flavours inspired by the Roman and Medieval periods, but brew the beer using modern methods so that they can be enjoyed in the pub, connecting with people who usually aren’t involved in history and heritage.”

Using the facilities and expertise of the brewers at The Pied Bull, Dr Edwards created Mithras – a ruby wheat beer flavoured with spices commonly found in Roman wine.

He said: “Wine was the more popular drink in Roman societies, but often so unpalatable that it was given strong flavours to mask the taste.

“So this beer has been given the same flavours typical of the period’s wines – fennel, cloves, peppercorns, raisins and honey – infused using a giant muslin ‘teabag’ while the brew was boiling.

“With hops not introduced to the brewing process until the end of the 15th century, this beer did not look or taste like the typical pint pulled in pubs each weekend.”

1534 was brewed with European hops using recipes of the 15th and 16th centuries, and named after the date that the Pied Bull was opened. This mild has a more familiar taste.

The project was funded by the History Research Centre with the majority of time and ingredients provided at no cost by The Pied Bull.


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