A buddy of mine sent me an email with a collection of old "photographs from yesteryear." I'm happy to say that my high school graduation pictures were not among them, though the teen faces of the Kennedys--Jack, Bobby and Teddy--were.
But I digress.
In that collection was the picture above, which is reportedly the oldest known photograph of men drinking beer.
The featured beer was called "Edinburgh Ale" from 1844.
According to this pretty well-documented, and very interesting, entry in Wikipedia, beer has been produced in Scotland for 5,000 years. And Edinburgh Ale itself was introduced in 1821 by a laddie named Robert Disher.
"Charles McMaster, the "leading historian of the Scottish brewing industry" according to Roger Protz,believes that the hard water of Edinburgh was particularly suitable for the brewing of Pale Ale - especially the water from the wells on the "charmed circle" of Holyrood through Canongate, Cowgate, Grassmarket and Fountainbridge; and that due to the quality of this water brewer Robert Disher was able to launch a hoppy Edinburgh Pale Ale in 1821."
Generally speaking, Scottish beers are known for being more malty than hoppy, and they definitely command a large market. That Charmed Circle stuff is a pretty interesting read too, as is the entire article, but beers from Scotland have been longtime favorites of yours truly, who just finished two four-packs of Innis and Gunn's outstanding Rum Cask. The task took four days. In fact, McEwan's was one of the beers that launched my personal craft beer odyssey.
You have to like a country that has given us such great beer. And remember, Scotland is the home of Brewdog, which until Armageddon
(also from Scotland) came out at 65% ABV, was the strongest beer in the world at 55% ABV. They were criticized for making an 18.2% beer, and, being typical Scots (who don't take kindly to being told what to do), they responded by trebling the ABV.
And I'm betting William Wallace (Braveheart) could have handled them easily, and Robert Burns (poet) would have immortalized them forever.
H/T to Gary P. for the pics!