22.01.2018 in Book Report
Ale, Beer, and Brewster’s in England


The book under review is ‘Ale, Beer, and Brewster’s in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World’. The author of this particular book goes by the name of Judith M. Bennett. She is most popular for her literature that is inclined to the closer study and improvement of the female gender. To some critics, this has earned her the title of a feminist writer. In my opinion, her opinions are justified and form a basis that can be relied on in the future references for the same purposes. The main theme of this particular work of literature is the focus laid upon the female brewers in England and the gradual development of a culture that in the end led to men taking up these roles. To a considerable extent, it seeks to exhibit the role of women in the development of England both economically and socially. This paper intends to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the book ‘Ale, Beer, and Brewster’s in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World’. The analysis will be that which makes an objective argument on the quality of the work and the opinions of the author.

In my opinion, this book has gone a long way in staging an avenue through which women’s pleas and efforts are used for improving the lives of the individuals. It has not left out a detail of the manner in which men pushed the women out of the business. A culture of male dominance in England existed since the women had little to do other than pack and abandon their brewing skills. I am in total agreement with the writer’s opinion, conclusions and ideologies as pertains to the role of women in changing England. According to this book, the writer expresses her ideology as the culture of brewing rested solely on women. Consequently, they sold almost the entire ale drunk in the greater medieval England. However, it was not until in the late 1350s that the men slowly took up and struggled to dominate the trade. All through until 1600, many of the brewers in England and generally, as in many cities and towns were not female but male. The writer, Judith Bennett,explicitly describes the way in which Brewsters (which was the term used to refer to female brewers) slowly and gradually were forced out the trade.

This is a deduction that is on a wide variety of information sources. These kind of sources include court records, artistic materials, administrative orders and literary and accounts Judith continues further to tell a story of changing technologies, commercial growth, innovative regulations, gild formation, and ultimately the endurance of the ideas which often linked Brewster’s with disorder and drunkenness. This kind of analysis is a clear illustration of the dramatic and rapid improvements in women’s status. The author (Bennett), argues that this included crucial elements that would lead to continuity. Later in this book, women have been working predominantly in poorly remunerated, low-status, and low skilled tasks despite them not been in the lead in the brewing industry since 1600. Through the use of such experiences of Brewster’s who went ahead to rewrite the stories of women’s roles during the development of capitalism, the literature (Ale, Beer, and Brewster’s in England) has offered an avenue through which women’s struggles have been staged. The telling story of the triumph of patriarchy in events of radical changes in the economic arena of England has indicated the roles played by women in the development of life styles in England.

The context of my analysis is on the need for gender equity as many human rights activists advocate for. Ideally, every individual is just as capable as the second person considering that all other necessities are constant (Bennett 145). The fact that the women of England had developed a culture of brewing and that, which had yielded a great reputation in economic contribution and definition, calls for the consideration of the women to empower them. The United Nations definition of the equity needs of gender is that no individual and especially of either sexes greatly benefits at the expense of the other.

According to me, the book has touched on various crucial topics that affect England as a country even to the present day. The first issue is that the writer puts more emphasis on the eviction of the women out of the brewing industry. As one of feminism’s paradoxes that include the challenges, afflicting many of England’s optimistic histories has been how patriarchy has remained to be persistent over time. Despite Judith Bennett’s Ale, Beer, and Brewster’s in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World, that focuses on the time period of 1300-1600 the recognition of medieval women as important historical participants through their brewing of ale also indicates that female agency had stipulated its boundaries during the advent of beer brewing (Bennett 20-100). It is my assumption that those limits were influenced both by politics and by religious activities; however, Bennett explains how a “patriarchal equilibrium” applied to shut women out. Their entire economic lives really depended on the success of their work. In my opinion, Judith’s analysis of women’s salaries in beer and ale production went on to prove that a variance in the work of women does not be equitable to a change in the working status women. In still insist that contemporary historians and feminists should take a closer look into Bennett’s book and think twice when they need to make a decision of opening a new brewsky.

Judith Bennett’s book of the female brewers focuses on the way women used to brew and make sales to the greater audience of ale drunk in London. Since time in memorial, ale and beer and not necessarily water, wine, or milk were crucial elements of the diet in the English culture. Beer brewing was low status and low-skill labor, which was a great deal to the fulfillment women’s domestic responsibilities and roles. In the late fourteenth century, many of the existing brewers started to make ale with hops. This was added later into the diet menu as a new drink popularly known as “beer.” This method provided allowance for brewers to produce their drinks and beverages at a lower cost of production and later sell it more easily. However, women stopped brewing the moment this empire business gradually became more and more profitable.

Through the book, I have known about the cultural issues and rituals present drinking in medieval England: the games, the parties, the songs. Bennett has clearly provided most of the building blocks of the English social environment. In my view, I really liked how this book illustrated beer and ale brewing being the most common economic activity. This way the reader becomes fully aware of the details of wages and prices. I was more intrigued in the personal lives of the Brewsters (women). This book was categorized into eight detailed chapters and still on the same note; I could not imagine why anyone would have the urge of reading it.

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