Historic Brew Con - Manchester

5th & 6th August - 2024

Dr Christina Wade

Dr Christina Wade is a beer historian specialising in the hidden histories of women, especially those in the brewing trade. Wade most recently wrote The Devil’s In the Draught Lines: 1,000 Years of Women in Britain’s Beer History with CAMRA Books on this very topic.

She received her doctorate in History from Trinity College Dublin, and since then, has spent much of her time posting about women and beer history on her website braciatrix, and writing for various other publications including The Medieval Dublin Series, The Journal of Franco-Irish Studies, TheTaste.ie, and Beoir Magazine. Wade has also presented her research on podcasts, conferences and festivals around the world such as The Beverage Research Network Conference, Friends of Medieval Dublin Lunchtime Lecture Series, The FemAle Beer Festival in Cork, Alltech Brews and Food Fair, BrewCon,

and the Killarney Beer Festival.

She currently sits on the League of Historians at the Beer Culture Center. Additionally, Wade founded the Ladies Craft Beer Society of Ireland in 2013 and is a co-host and resident beer historian on the Beer Ladies Podcast. She is also a BJCP Certified Beer Judge.

Going to Hell in a Beer Barrel:

Alewives, Demons, and the History That Connects Them

It was a monstrous thing that landed in the ale glass at Gwen ferch Ellis’ house in those last years of the 16 th century. The enormous fly sputtered its grotesque wings as it frantically struggled to seek purchase inside the cup. The men that had gathered, or more to the point, had invaded her house, looked on in fascinated horror, determining that this series of events was proof that Gwen was practicing maleficium, (or evil witchcraft). It was the fly you see, the very size of it, that led them to this conclusion, deeming the creature a familiar.

It was not the ale.

In recent years, we have become entranced with stories of alewives and the infernal. Particularly, the alleged link between those women accused of witchcraft and those women who brewed. Tales have taken shape of a medieval European past where women who made beer were all pushed out of the industry because of these accusations. Further, some even say that the modern witch stereotype is based on the garb of medieval brewing women.

But the contemporary sources reveal something quite different.

Join me while we investigate what really happened to those alewives during the witch trials in England, Scotland, and Wales, and how women continued to brew long after the last trial had taken place.