Pontifical university patents beer giving drinkers taste of the Middle Ages

Romantick_veer.jpg Credit: Eliška Zeisková (CC BY-SA 4.0).

A pontifical university in Poland is patenting a beer that will give drinkers a taste of the Middle Ages.

Sławomir Dryja, a lecturer at the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Kraków, created the recipe which he believes is 90% similar to the white beer drunk by medieval residents of the city, reported Radio Kraków.

Modern-day drinkers will be able to sample the brew -- known as Kraków White Beer (Piwo Krakowskie Białe in Polish) -- from April at the earliest. 

The 56-year-old archaeologist was able to identify the original yeast by studying the cellar walls of Kraków's Lubomirski Palace.

Dryja, an expert on the history of brewing, explained that the beer would be made in a similar way to the original. 

"We know the production of malt technology. We can assume that modern light wheat malts do not differ significantly in their characteristics from those used at that time," he said.

"We have the original yeast and we know more or less the technological procedure, i.e. how it was mashed, boiled, in what proportions the hops should be added and how to handle it." 

According to the pontifical university's website, Dryja has been a homebrewer for almost 20 years and is a founding member of the Polish Homebrewers Association

In 2019, he completed a brewing course at the Research Institute of Brewing and Malting in Prague and has had a number of internships at breweries in the Czech Republic, which boasts the highest beer consumption per capita in the world. 

"So I have explored the subject of beer in many ways," he said. "The result of combining the knowledge of the historian and the brewer is the program of reviving the traditional Kraków white beer." 

"The tradition of brewing it dates back to the 13th century, and at the beginning of the 19th century it completely disappeared."

"Thanks to the involvement of many people, including academics from the University of Agriculture [in Kraków], we will soon know its taste!"

Dryja has been an employee of the Institute of History of Art and Culture of the Pontifical University of John Paul II since 2012. The pontifical university acquired its present title in 2009, but it traces its roots back to the theology faculty of the Jagiellonian University founded in 1397.

The patented beer will be produced in cooperation with a local craft brewery. Dryja said that when it is poured into a glass it will have "a beautiful white head."

"These wheat beers foam fantastically and the foam is long-lasting," he enthused. "I hope we can get it. And the distinctive color it owes its name to is not entirely white, but very bright and transparent."

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