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Ale

is the Scandinavian öl, called ealo in our island. Beer, written bere, even in the reign of James I, is the Anglo-Saxon beor, from bere (barley). A beverage made from barley is mentioned by Tacitus and even Herodotus. Hops were introduced from Holland and used for brewing in 1524, but their use was prohibited by Act of Parliament in 1528—a prohibition which soon fell into disuse. Ale is made from pale malt, whence its light colour; porter and stout from malt more highly dried. Beer is the general word, and in many parts of England includes ale, porter, and stout. The word ale was introduced by the Danes, and the word beer by the Teutons. Among London brewers beer means the dark form, called also stout or porter.

“Called ale among men; but by the gods called beer.” —The Alvismal.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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