SALVETE, my friends and fellow imbibers! We continue to be astonished here at Roma Aeterna by the resourcefulness of those barbarians across the Mare Atlanticum. As much as it pains me to reveal my ignorance, it seems this aqua vitae I'm addicted to is only the last in a long series of steps that begin with the fermentation of grains. These fellows make a "beer" first (which we would call cervisia) from a grain porridge, much like the gruel the servants eat. A Roman, of course, would not eat such swill, but the unfortunate brutes are lucky to get fed at all (my horses eat better than most of them). I suppose they lack grapes or something, and have to make their intoxicating drinks from what is at hand. Nevertheless, these fellows make this beer, and distill it to make their "whiskey." But that is not all--some stop at the beer. Indeed! They have no intention of obtaining the spirit, they are happy with the fermented mush. Sounds terribly unappetizing, but they cleverly age and clarify the liquor from these cereals (O Goddess Ceres, forgive them!) and make a palatable drink. Here at Roma Aeterna, the servants saved themselves a flogging by bringing me one of the finest of these drinks, a brew called CERVISIA ANCORA VAPOR (Anchor Steam Beer). Earthy and citrusy, with bready undertones, this sparkling grain-wine is a revelation! I must have more like it. (The servants have been instructed thusly.) Apparently these barbarians live a place first settled by Provincials from Hispania, called in their tongue San Francisco of California. Word is they live by an ocean even larger than the Mare Atlanticum! Hah! Ignorant, superstitious louts! Well, we won't get in to that. The "beer" is far too lovely. Propino tibi salutem!
Beware the Ides, my friends, beware the ides.
Ex scrinio Marcus Hibernicus Crapularius, scriptor de aqua vitae
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