Medieval Beer Culture and Modern Beer Medievalisms

deadline for submissions: 
June 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Noelle Phillips (Douglas College), Rosemary O’Neill (Kenyon College), and John A. Geck (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
contact email: 

Essay Collection CFP: Medieval Beer Culture and Modern Beer Medievalisms

Edited Noelle Phillips, Rosemary O’Neill, and John A. Geck


Brewing, beer drinking, and beer culture were important parts of not only medieval daily life, but also the medieval literary imagination. Beer consumption played a critical role in people’s nutrition in the Middle Ages, and regular consumption of beer emphasized its function as a social lubricant and a marker of social cohesion. At the same time, drunkenness was a regular target for moralists. As a vice, it was often associated with gluttony, violence, mischief, gambling and blasphemy. The Middle Ages also marked both the beginning of the industrialization of beer production and the incorporation of hops in beer recipes, shaping our modern conception of what beer is.


Both the medieval and medievalisms continue to captivate modern craft beer culture, in both brewery names, such as the Middle Ages Brewing Company (Syracuse, NY) or Dragonmead Microbrewery (Warren, MI), and individual beers, such as Big Pitcher’s Kingslayer Medieval Dark Wheat Ale (Bangalore, India) or Demented Brewing Company’s Beowulf (Middlesex, NJ). Medieval imagery in modern beer culture can be deployed to suggest a serious connection with the long history of brewing, evoke a nostalgic return to the past, or entertain with whimsical gestures to medieval fantasy.


This volume places the medieval and modern in dialogue with each other, offering a study both of medieval attitudes, treatments, and depictions of beer and ale culture, and of modern recreations, adaptations, and appropriations.


We seek essays of approximately 6000 to 8000 words on any subject related to medieval beer culture or modern beer medievalisms. We welcome studies from all disciplines, including literature, art history, religious studies, and history. We encourage submissions from medievalists and scholars of medievalism at all career levels. Please submit short abstracts (~300 words) and a brief statement to John Geck (jgeck[at] by 15 June.



Potential topics include:


  • The ongoing influence of medieval ideas on modern beer culture
  • Ebrietas, drunkenness or the social harms of alcohol in medieval literature or culture
  • Beer and ale consumption as class signifier or social leveler in the Middle Ages
  • Gendered beer cultures: monastic brewers and Viking beer halls; tapsters and alewives
  • The relationship of beer medievalism to discourses of gender, race, and nation
  • Getting medieval: beer culture as affective connection with the past
  • Ludic aspects of medieval beer drinking; playful medievalisms in craft beer
  • Beer as nostalgic return or reconstruction of lost tradition
  • Fantastic neomedievalisms in craft beer marketing
  • Modern reconstruction of medieval beer craft
  • Beer as affective history
  • Africa, Asia, and beyond: beer in non-European medieval contexts
  • European and non-European medievalisms in global craft beer culture