And here we have our third fact about beer for the day!
Before hops became the standard ingredient for flavouring beer in the 8th century, a herbal mixture called gruit was the additive of choice. The Catholic Church used to collect tax on gruit, whereas hops was not taxed – so each European nation’s decision to switch from one to the other became charged with tones of religious dissent.
While the transfer from gruit to hops ran contemporaneously with the publication of Luther‘s theses, Germany remained the last country to continue using gruit. When the breweries of the Rhine region eventually moved to hops, the income of the Church was dramatically reduced as a result. As such, the Reformation certainly had some help from hops!
All our beer facts have come from History in a Pint Glass. http://souvenirpress.co.uk/product/down-beer-street/