A strange thing happened this year.  For the first time ever since well, like ever (feel free to add your own irritating Anglo-American teenage voice to that phrase), we are actually saying what beers we will be brewing over the coming year (or what’s left of it if you are late getting here).  As already alluded to in this ‘ere blog (or yet to be mentioned if you’re the aforementioned late person and so reading it all backwards…) we have taken the theme of our main range of 2011 specials from a 15th century French ‘Book Of Hours’.  The ‘Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry’ to be exact, which translates as the ‘The Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry’.

His Dukeness was a rich fellow, and as was the way in the 1400′s the best way to show God how worthy you were was to lavish all your money on him.  Of course God himself has little need of money.  So up pops the Church, who as middle men will happily collect God’s money and spend it on worthy things like nice red robes.  The Duke had done all this, and still having some cash spare (this was in the days before VAT & PAYE of course, so he would have had some money left), he decided he would have a book made that would be full of paintings and details on how best to serve God – or at least the Church – and what time, or hour, to do it.  Hence ‘Book of Hours.  Clever folk, these ancient Frenchies.

History has of course placed all the work within the book under the Dukes name, despite the fact he seemingly did bugger all beyond ordering more talented folk to get on with it (a very early senior manager then).  The paintings were down to two blokes history recalls as the ‘Limbourg Brothers.  Needless to say they were brothers of the Limbourg family, and it is assumed that they sub-contracted the work out, quite possibly to Network Rail as the book took nearly a hundred years to complete.  If you are hungry for more information, start with Wikipedia’s entry on the book, and move on from there – it is actually an interesting insight into life in the Middle Ages, even of you don’t do blokes who can slap some emulsion around and get a picture to appear…