The London Beer Flood occurred on this day in 1814. At 6:00 on a Monday evening, a torrent of beer came rushing through the streets of the St. Giles district of London.
It started at the Horse Shoe Brewery at Tottenham Court and Oxford Street, where there were huge vats of porter perched on top of the roof. They contained beer, which had been fermenting right there for months. The wooden vats were enormous — some as tall as 22 feet — and were structurally supported by large iron hoops, dozens of them. They sat on the roof of the Meux Brewing Company, each of them containing hundreds of thousands of liters of beer.
The largest vat had started to strain under the weight and pressure of all that porter, and on this day, around 6:00 p.m., one of the iron hoops gave way and all the porter in the 22-foot-tall vat came gushing out. There were about 600,000 liters of beer in there, and when the vat burst and all that beer came exploding out, there was a chain reaction and the surrounding vats on the roof also burst. More than a million liters of beer toppled the brewery's brick wall (it was 25 feet tall) and began flooding the streets of St. Giles.
People came out onto the streets of St. Giles with mugs and buckets and pots and pans to collect the free beer; others leaned over and drank directly from the streams gushing down the streets. But many people were injured by the torrent and sent to the hospital, where inpatients smelled the beer and nearly rioted to get their share.
Nine people died. About half were children who drowned or sustained fatal injuries from the flood, which had also crushed the roofs of buildings near the brewery, adding heavy timber to the gushing rivers of beer. One man died a few days after the flood from alcohol poisoning. Trying to prevent all of it from going to waste, he had drunk a lot of beer in the span of a few days. People brought a lawsuit against the Meux & Company Brewery, but in court the flood was ruled an Act of God, and the brewery was not held legally responsible.
In 1919 there was a molasses flood in Boston, Massachusetts, after a massive tank of molasses crumpled and burst. The molasses flood destroyed houses and trains and killed 21 people.
text lifted from the Writer's Almanac
image lifted from Wikipedia
In other News...
The Strothi missed the Morgantown Zombie Walk due to the oppressive wet and cold weather and copious amounts of snot and phlegm. Yes, we three all have mild upper respiratory distress - I'm sure you wanted to know that. We will likely not be going anywhere or doing anything this cold, wet weekend. So Mom, don't make any extra food for us, we aren't going to bring our little bug to your house!
Instead I am going to sit on my couch and knit all weekend, and hopefully soon have a new hat to show off, possibly some gloves too. Maybe also a couple of beer cozies, since Porter is on my mind right now. Mmmm, beer.
Thursday night Delia and I invented a recipe for some damn fine pork chops. It involved cranberry sauce, garlic, pomegranate molasses, chicken broth and Sam Adams Imperial Series Double Bock. Oh, and pork chops, of course! Served with a nice baked sweet potato and some sugar snap peas.
She plucked all the seeds out of the pomegranate I brought home for her, and shared them with us as a garnish. Except for the ones she juiced through a mesh strainer, she's been talking about making pomegranate juice for a week. Turns out you need a lot of seeds to make any juice, and it really is cheaper to buy a bottle of POM, but not as much fun!