Re: The great European Inebriation
And much earlier! Yes, Russian Stout was very strong, but rather sweeter and more "hoppy" than Guiness. There was a thriving trade between the Burton on Trent brewers and Russia: beer would be used as ballast and taken to Russia, in exchange for timber and other useful imports. Burton strong ales were very highly prized: the French, who could not match it's strength, flavour or clarity, accused the brewers of putting arsenic into it. This was disproved.
There was also a thriving trade with (British) India: once again, beer would be used as ballast, and taken out to the colonies, who longed for English beer. They could not brew it themselves, due to the climate and lack of right ingredients: English malt is the best in the world. This was a very strong, very hoppy bitter, called.........IPA: Indian Pale Ale. Nowadays, IPA is a weaker, paler bitter.
There was also extensive trade with the Americas, for similar reasons. Beer brewing was one of the first mass producing industries: there were still 30+ breweries in Burton in Trent just before WW2. At one time, there were over 100!