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Thank God for Brewers
Beer, playing off of its previous religious affiliation, really took off with the expansion of the brewing industry in Christianity. Monasteries, in hospitality towards travelling pilgrims, became some of the first major brewing organizations. Because grape cultivation proved difficult in Northern and Eastern Europe, beer became the drink of choice, and ales, lagers and mead would be made. Since water purity in many places was, at times, questionable at best, beer was often chosen as a water substitute, having been made with water that was boiled pure during the brewing process.
By the time of the Late middle Ages, beer accompanied every meal, and in England, per capita consumption of beer was about 60 - 66 gallons annually. Hops were first added to beer in 822 according to a recipe written by an unknown Carolingian abbot. Whoever he was, he revolutionized the brewing process from then on.