Whether or not you agree that “craft beer” is really the right term, it has been used enough in print that it has been added to the latest edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
craft beer n (1986): a specialty beer produced in limited quantities: MICROBREW
That definition seems a little spare, especially considering all of the nuance found in beer and all the joy it has brought to the world. And, of course, a lot of people still define it by what it’s not.
Other words and definitions that were added this year that may (or may not) have some significance to me are:
- man cave
- underwater (as in a mortgage)
- brain cramp
Top 25 newcomers to Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary
(via Brookston Beer Bulletin)
Some may think that cerebral topics like word origins and “the people’s drink” don’t go together (much the same way I don’t like chocolate in my peanut butter and vice versa) but I think it’s great.
Zythophile: Words for beer (2) – was ‘beer’ originally cider?
To rub in the point that ealu and beór were seen as distinct and separate drinks a thousand years ago, Ælfric, abbot of Cerne Abbas in Dorset, who lived from around AD 955 to AD 1010, wrote of John the Baptist in one of his “Homilies” that “ne dranc he naðor ne win, ne beór, ne ealu, ne nan ðæra wætan ðe menn of druncniað,” that is, “nor drank he neither wine, nor beór, nor ale, nor any other liquor that makes men drunk.” Ælfric, who was a conscientious writer, clearly felt he needed to differentiate beór from ealu, as well as ealu from win. Beór, then, comes through from Anglo-Saxon texts as strong and sweet, and different to, or separate, from ealu.
Our friend Zythophile is at it again. This time with the first part of an article that explores the origins of the word “beer” with explorations of its equivalent in other languages. Etymology fascinates me; I think maybe I should have been a linguist.
Here’s an excerpt:
In Britain, as on the continent, that change from m to v meant that the old Brythonic (British Celtic) word for “beer”, *korm, altered its form, becoming *cwrf (pronounced “coorv”) in old Welsh, then cwrwf, before losing the f to become modern Welsh cwrw, pronounced “cooroo”. (Welsh being what is known technically as a “mutating” language, incidentally, certain initial consonants change when nouns are used with prepositions, and that includes hard “c”, which becomes hard “g”: I am grateful to a young woman called Kat for imparting the information that the essential order at the bar in grammatically correct Welsh would be “Dau peint o gwrw ac baced crisps, plis.” This is particularly important in the Lleyn peninsula, where you wouldn’t want the locals to think you were from Swansea.
Zythophile: Words for beer
He promises to actually get to the word “beer”, and “ale” as well, in a future article.