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Stories and other tales from the theatre

September 24, 2014

The Pilsner: Brief History

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The Modern Pilsner was born on October 5, 1842, in the city of Plzen, Bohemia, now part of modern-day Czech Republic. Brewer Josef Groll combined newly available pale malts with German lagering techniques and local Saaz hops to create the Pilsner. The beer’s brilliant clarity, golden color, and light body made it an instant hit among beer drinkers everywhere who had become accustomed to only dark, heavy, and cloudy beers. From there, its popularity increased exponentially. Immediately, this new style of beer became widely popular throughout Europe.

Not too long after that, the Pilsner spread to many other parts of the world, but not without some local variations. Not to mention, the Pilsner inspired the production of numerous other light beers. Budweiser, the most famous of the Pilsner’s inspirations, derived its original name from a Bohemian Pilsner brewery. While sometimes referred to as a Pilsner, Budweiser is actually better known as an American Pale Lager.

Today there are three types of Pilsner: Bohemian, German, and American. The Bohemian, or Czech Pilsner, features Saaz hops with a base of rich malt and soft water. The German Pilsner is brewed to have different characteristics than the Czech Pilsner since the Germans did not have access to the soft water in Plzen. Because of this, German Pilsners tend to have a dry, refreshing character and less emphasis on rich malt character. Lastly, American Pilsners are actually American Pale Lagers. However, true home and craft brewers typically do not consider American Pilsners to be true Pilsners.

Being the common beer among warriors, we created a true Pilsner for our first beer. We wanted our beer to be one with as much history as barritus, of which our name was born from. Modeled after a Bohemian Pilsner, our Light Pilsner is brewed with German Lager yeast and balanced with a mixture of hops from Germany and the Czech Republic. These ingredients leave you with a crisp and light beer, exactly the way a Pilsner was supposed to be made. Unlike IPA’s or Pale Ales that can only take a week to ten days to ferment, Pilsner’s require a cold fermentation process of 5-6 weeks to perfect. The result is a clear and clean taste that is refreshing on a hot summer day. Although we could have picked an easier first beer to brew, we’re Barritus Brewery and true warriors don’t run from battle!

July 21, 2014

The War Cry: Barritus

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Like most ancient soldiers, the Romans used war cries to scare their enemy, display strength and eagerness, and heighten individual and shared determination. But the demands of discipline and tactical unity required them to instead exercise restraint. Recurrent shouting caused alarm or impulsive action among both men and horses, and obstructed the communication of commands. Because of this, battle cries were only allowed immediately prior to or upon engaging the enemy in close quarters. The strict compliance of silence until this moment left opponents anxious, intensifying the psychological impact of the battle cry.

In the 4th century, the Roman army favored the barritus, a war cry of Germanic origin, apparently mimicked from a battle custom widespread among infantries from East of the Rhine. It began as low murmuring and gradually evolved into a loud roar. The term barditus was also used to describe the way in which Germans chanted songs in the battlefield, which amplified and echoed within the curvature of their shields. The late Latin form most likely evolved from a twist on barditus under the influence of an existing Latin word barritus, a “trumpeting” of an elephant. Later, battle cries increasingly took the shape of Christian prayers, most notably “God be with us”. Towards the end of the period, “God, help us,” was officially sanctioned. If victory was apparent, other slogans were chanted to better fit the occasion. But if not, the Germans would chant these songs in order to incite the mind to victory and come together as one to frighten the enemy they had surrounded.

Jumping to the 21st century, we now come to Barritus Brewery. A brewery, which was formed with the stated mission to hire and give back to battle heroes in need who have served or continue to serve this country. Our quest is to make the finest beer and merchandise for all to enjoy with the promise to provide 10% of all brewery sales to The Barritus Foundation. Furthermore, to ensure that these heroes receive your donations, The Barritus Foundation is managed by warriors who have or are currently serving. They know the ropes and have had their fair share of battle cries. All in all, we hope to show our veterans how much we truly appreciate them, while enjoying a fine glass of beer.

For more detail on the origins of the word barritus, see War Cry by Philip Rance.