Battling Over Beer in 14th Century Poland

Monk image courtesy of Atlas Obscura
Monk image courtesy of Atlas Obscura

Beer and war? That’s what happened in medieval Wrocław, in western Poland, in 1380, according to Atlas Obscura in one of its reliably fascinating posts on the oddities of history.

Wrocław was then the capital of Silesia, a region that corresponds to portions of today’s Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland and beer was such a part of life at the time, that the city has a brewery in the basement of city hall. Beer sales and taxes were a big source of revenue…until some nearby monks started brewing better beer…

Citizens preferred the monk brews over the town alternative. So, when the Rata decided to invade and sack the island, it was with an army that did not exactly support its own cause—but did manage to cause a great deal of (drunken) damage. “When the Bishop denied the request to restore religious services made by the newly appointed king of Silesia, Vaclav IV, the Rata sent troops to Ostrów Tumski,” writes Van Reed. “For the duration of their stay, soldiers drunkenly roamed the streets looting church property while dressed in pillaged clerical outfits.”

read the whole story here...and reflect that the greatest beer war Portland has (yet) experienced was Henry Weinhard  trying — and failing — to get permission to pump beer into the Skidmore Fountain for it’s opening in 1877…

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