Medieval Facts & Myths: "Water? Never touch the stuff."
Did people in Medieval times drink beer to avoid polluted water? Sorry, Bud. Not true.
Back then, people didn’t know about bacteria and microbes. Beer was prized, not as a substitute for bad water, but for its taste and nutritional properties.
Beer is loaded with calories. (How we dread that now.) A mug of brew did more than quench the thirst of farmers and workers. It gave them fuel to work.
In fact, clean water was not rare. Cities and villages arose around sources of clean water -- and the citizens did their best to keep it that way. Tradesmen like tanners who used water in their work faced fines if they polluted the local drinking supply.
Beer was even thought to be unhealthy by some. "It harms the head and the stomach, it causes bad breath and ruins the teeth, it fills the stomach with bad fumes," one Medieval health expert warned.
Some things never change.
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