« on: November 21, 2015, 08:48:38 AM »
Something to consider about myths vs. dispelling myths is that brewing was not monolithic in any European community until the late 19th century forward as large brewing operations squeezed out the majority of smaller local breweries and home/farm/village brewing practices. We can't act like what was true in one part of a region was necessarily the way all brewing occurred and that is absolutely true when comparing urban versus country practices in any given area. A good example of this is the belief that lager brewing in Germany only occurred during cool months. That may be true in urban areas where breweries were heavily monitored and taxed but in rural areas where regulation was lax or nonexistent brewing occurred as needed and those lagers may have been bottom fermented in cold months but top fermented in warmer months, suggesting either the use of a mixed culture or the ability for lager yeast to ferment comfortably at warmer temperatures. (See Beer in the Middle Ages and Renaissance)
Can we definitively say that beer was never aged in caves anywhere in Europe? Doubtful. There would have been abandoned natural and mining caves available. Were all of these difficult to reach? Probably not. For brewers in rural areas with access to abandoned caves it might have been an easy opportunity to store beer without taking up space in cellars or barns. It would take quite a bit, in my opinion, to exclude the possibility that any region found brewers aging or fermenting lagers in caves.
We do have to exclude marketing stories and brewer's lies along with would-be brewing historians who merely repeated marketing tales or whatever some prior author had written but we also do not do ourselves any favors replacing a marketing fabrication with a fabrication that treats brewing as though there was only one way it was done.