Five centuries ago, the Duke of Bavaria instated the “Reinheitsgebot” – a purity law dictating a strict list of acceptable ingredients for the making of German beer. In the early 1500’s, the law allowed for beer to brewed exclusively with barley, hops, and water. As culinary advances developed over the centuries, the purity law allowed for slight modifications to the original law. Today’s Reinheitsgebot allows for the following: malted grains, hops, water, and yeast.
According to the BBC, the “oldest consumer protection law in the world” was decreed in the early 16th century by Duke Wilhelm IV. The Duke had three objectives for the law: to “protects drinkers from high prices; to ban the use of wheat in beer so more bread could be made; and to stop unscrupulous brewers from adding dubious toxic and even hallucinogenic ingredients” (BBC).
Scheming, unscrupulous 16th century brewers…
You know this means that dastardly brewers were actually putting hallucinogens and toxins in the beer. What. For the right crowd, this may’ve been an incentive, but really only if advertised. Can we picture the unsuspecting 16th century Bavarian cobbler stopping in at the neighborhood Kneipe for a few tall pints after a long day of tacking tiny nails into shitty wooden shoes? He cozies up to his barstool and asks his Barmann for a cold one. The bushy mustached proprietor suggests a new local brew from up-river that just arrived… fast forward to the naked cobbler slathered in sauerkraut, ambling through the dimly lit stone streets, swinging tiny ballpeen hammers at imaginary, strobing Lutzelfraus.
What kind of profits did the hallucinogenic & toxic beer market fetch, anyway? Was it such a racket, that the Duke had to enact a national LAW to correct these practices?? On the other side of the coin, let’s consider the lowly toxic beer brewer. Once the law is instated, he’s out of work! What happens to this guy? Oh, you’re gonna tell me the new surplus of Bavarian wheat has opened the doors for hallucinogenic bakers?