Inner Sea Beer Lore by Ted Thompson

Foreword

There was a time when I sought the best beer in the Inner Sea: the beer that would define who I was and what I loved most in life. To prove this, I traveled far and wide throughout our world, accepting gracious invitations and also going to places where I was not invited. In the end I came to this one simple conclusion. It was never the beer that made drinking it so good but rather the places I drank them. You cannot imagine how flavorful a Mutiny Beer is while eating a tropical banana under a palm tree in The Shackles. Nor can you smell the incense and tobacco smokes from Qadiran coffee shops that coalesce with Qadiran Spiced Ale. These experiences my friends have to happen where the beer is made. Sure, there are risks involved when you go out into this world but to experience something like that, for yourself, firsthand! Will never be disappointing.

What you hold here is not my beer tasting recollections or stories of the people I met that opened my eyes to new flavors. I am sure my scrappy little collection of notes; trivial thoughts and whatnot are best kept to myself. Instead, I opt to leave the experience of going out into this world and tasting all is miraculous beer up to you.

Why? Well, because!

I was once a person like you. I went to the shops to seek out a special beer. I considered taste and roasted barley and hops and… I can never go back.

I am a changed person and though I would love to tell you my tastes are the right ones, I can’t account for your tastes. Therefore, I am providing you the stories behind the beers. In this Brew History Guide you will read about the cultures and events that make a simple beer into a magnificent one. You will be teased to pick up your own sea legs and walking sticks, to become a Beer Lore hunter. But make no mistake; there are still other untold stories in the Inner Sea, waiting to be discovered. Waiting for you…perhaps.

Zuxius

1. Qadiri Spiced Ale

Category: Amber Ale

Beer Color: Brown with clarity

Taste: Somewhat bitter with a strong cinnamon aftertaste.

The origins of Qadiran ales began while Qadira was still tribal. Primitive priests made the mysterious mash from barley and a plethora of local spices, including hops that could weather the blistering climate. To this day, it is unknown just how fermentation of these uncommon beers begins. Some Beer scholars believe that a local insect carries the yeast to the irresistible mash, but Qadiran brewers feel that the ales get their open air fermenting by way of Djinn dust, which permeates the air in Qadira. After the Kelish Empire conquered Qadira, they changed the way beer was brewed there by instituting laws that limited the type of spices allowed in worts. The outcome became known as the distinct Qadiran flavor that is drank the world over. Qadirans boast that it takes two foreign ales to equal the strength and flavor of one of theirs. This particular ale is a Katheer crafted brew that is perhaps the smoothest of all varieties that one can find.

2. Wyvernsting Tail Ale

Category: Dark Lager

Beer Color: Black with clarity

Taste: Something akin to trying a random alchemist’s test tube.

Belkzen boasts that they have a beer like no other and for the most part this would be true. This particular beer didn’t come from a master craftsman but rather a mistaken assumption that all dwarves brew beer. Despite knowing virtually nothing about the craft, the resourceful dwarf set upon a crash course to save his life. A dubious list was created of materials and for a period, raids on neighboring countries from Belkzen became oddly focused on stealing brewery supplies. Growing impatient, a tribal leader approached the dwarf with an ultimatum: produce a mug of beer or he would draw a mug of dwarf blood instead. Desperately, the dwarf brewed his first beer knowing well that it was impossible to have a drinkable ale within a week. The final day came and the dwarf took a draw of the fermenting liquid and hurriedly put it in a bottle. The chief arrived with his wooden, blood-soaked mug and the dwarf presented the first Belkzen Beer. The creation of this rushed malty beverage was wildly successful by orcish standards, and even garnered the dwarf a raise in status among the locals. Repeating his success proved easier as orcs continued raiding neighboring towns for metals to be smelted down into proper brewing tools. Anyone encountering this beer knows to be wary of its high alcohol content and its strong smell. As for the dwarf, he lost his head in a card game he stupidly bluffed in. The card swiping orc lopped off the brewer’s head and nailed it to the dwarf’s brewery sign. Thus, a new custom was born in how one acquires a brewery in Belkzen.

3. Elvanna’s Bane

Category: Dark Lager

Beer Color: Black with little clarity

Taste: Frothy and heavy with roasted grains. Miraculous. Tried to save a few for later but they exploded! The witch thinks of everything.

Let it be known, that the current queen of Irrisen has a taste for strong dark ales, and it doesn’t stop at just one either. It is rumored that her riders traveled the country far and wide to procure all manner of the dark drink. To her great dissatisfaction, there were no worthy brews that measured up to her discriminating tastes. So she sent emissaries into the Darkland holds of the Dwarves to steal a brewer for a truly “acquired taste.” No one can number just how many were killed in these clandestine undertakings, but some of the brewers were to Elvanna’s pleasing. How one acquires such a bottle of this Witch’s Brew is best left a mystery, for to drink such a thing that is made for a queen is blasphemy in Irrisen.

4. Mammoth Tusk Brew

Category: Light Lager

Beer Color: Yellow with great clarity.

Taste: Smooth and slightly sweet with just a tad bittering, a real session beer.

Before the rise of Irrisen, there was another time, when there were those that reaped the benefit of wild winter barley growing plentiful in the windswept plains. It was once boasted by the Mammoth Lord tribes that there was enough wild barley growing in the north to put a beer in the hands of every inhabitant of the Inner Sea. Irrisen changed all that. Today, that saying echoes quiet on deaf ears. The amount of beer went to a quarter of its Pre-Irrisen quantities. Still, the Mammoth Lords demanded drink for their halls and celebrations. One such farmer ingeniously took a chance and grew barley in the warm canyons below. Within a matter of years his yields tripled the normal winter yields, but at a hefty price. Mammoths! By special decree from tribal leaders, mammoths are sent into the warmed valleys during planting, growing and harvest times to fend off all manner of vicious reptilian foes. None are worse than the cave raptors that seem to hide in the tall barley during harvest when it is hottest. If a mammoth is lost to some killer, the tusks are taken off and used as a form of partial repayment to the owning Lord (for the loss), with barley coming later as the second form. And it is from these losses that Tusk Brew came to be known. Brewers themselves are very careful not to waste a grain when possible. Some criticize Mammoth brew for being too light, but the brewers of the north swear their traditions remain unchanged.

5. Golden Promise Beer

Category: Light Lager

Beer Color: Yellow with good clarity.

Taste: Smooth and sweet with excellent bittering at the end.

Hermean’s know too well that perfection comes in many shades. It is nearly impossible to appeal to everyone’s senses but Golden Promise beer is an attempt to do just that. The brewery was quite a surprise to the inhabitants of Hermea at first. After all, how can one strive for perfection when clouding one’s brain with alcohol? In response, Mengkare declared, “How can one know they are perfect without seeing what is imperfect?” At the time, it wasn’t known if the Dragon approved alcohol for demonstrating folly or if it was a test of those that would brew it, or more so a test of those that would drink it. And to this day, it remains unknown; just how many people have lost their Hermean Citizenship from indulging too greatly. What is known, is that Golden Promise is exported to the Inner Sea via the richest merchants and considered a Royal favorite. No king would ever hold his head up high without a stock of Golden Promise in his cellars.

6. Technic Coven Brew

Category: Light Lager

Beer Color: Yellow with some clarity.

Taste: Bitter and strong all at once with a nice finish.

Is it true that Numerians have beer brewing down to a science? Or is it that they have taken magic and twisted all that is natural in beer into a new flavor unlike any before it? Truth be told, it could be both. The Technic League conducts frequent gatherings and during these meetings they drink. Not to be outdone by the world at large, they too have their own ‘special beer’, made using their alien metals and newly found technologies. Advanced temperature controls and cooling give Technic brewers the edge on controlling flavor and consistency. Of course, that in itself, isn’t enough. The Technic League takes it further. To their credit they have isolated four strains of yeast and cultured them at well-timed increments to produce a new super yeast. Traditional brewers view this fusing of four culturally pure yeasts as an abomination, that must be stopped at all costs. Regardless, the beer is in circulation and the yeasts at the bottom of these bottles are harvested outside of Numeria, leading to inevitable yeast contamination of other pure forms.

7. Chattel’s Embrace Lager

Category: Light Lager

Beer Color: Yellow with some clarity.

Taste: Bitter through until the end. Very strong in alcohol but missing something.

For those undead with distinguishing tastes, it is a well-known fact that having your chattel drink Embrace before they are harvested, yields a much better flavor. This beer came to Geb long ago by way of a Varisian Necro-brewer seeking immortality. He pitched his idea to a vampire Blood Lord. The brewer spoke of a method long held by the Taldor emperors who enjoyed the fine delicacy of beer fed cattle. The Varisian proposed to create a beer for Geb that the “quick” as well as “chattel” could drink. The alcohol would saturate the chattel to such an extent that feeding on the victim would give the side effect of alcohol as well. The Varisian asked the Blood Lord to test his idea. If it worked, he would be allowed to become a vampire. If the idea failed, well… Having tasted many a drunk, the Blood Lord was skeptical. The vampire knew alcohol could never effect his being but agreed to the proposal if not for the satisfaction of bleeding the brewer dry. Unbeknownst to the vampire, there was something the Varisian didn’t tell the Blood Lord. The yeast that created the alcohol was in fact, undead. As it turned out, the Varisian necromancer became a vampire and was given a team of zombie brewers to run the first brewery in Mechitar. To this day the brewery cranks out Chattel’s Embrace for the benefit of all Geb’s populace.

Inner Sea Beer Lore continues in Part 2