Pharyngula

The Great Beer Flood

Everyone has heard of the Boston Molasses Flood, right? That was horrific and weird, but it was outdone by the London Beer Flood: houses were demolished by the torrent, seven were dead by drowning, and one dead by alcohol poisoning. I am truly impressed by the opportunism and low standards of that one individual … if you witnessed a river of beer flowing down the street, would you scoop up enough of it to kill yourself with excess? I guess I’m finicky enough that I wouldn’t stoop to cup a single handful to drink.

Unless it were a really good beer, that is.

(Does this story have some connection to the recent release of the Simpson’s Movie? It ought to.)

Comments

  1. #1 Bob
    July 30, 2007

    Alcohol poisoning? He probably died wondering where the stripper factory was.

  2. #2 Orac
    July 30, 2007

    I’m not sure if there is such a thing as a beer good enough to make me want to drink it after it had flowed through the slums of early 19th century London.

  3. #3 MAJeff
    July 30, 2007

    Homer, frantically paging through the Bible, “This book doesn’t have any answers.”

    Fun movie. Not great, but very fun.

  4. #4 Jeff
    July 30, 2007

    Hoestly I find beer, and most alcoholic beverages, disgusting.

  5. #5 Jon Eccles
    July 30, 2007

    Ha! Our English beer is so good, people will bend down and drink it as it cascades past their thighs.

  6. #6 Bob
    July 30, 2007

    Jon, that reminds me of Bored of the Rings:

    “This is indeed a queer river”, said Bromosel, as the water lapped at his thighs.

  7. #7 Jeff
    July 30, 2007

    “…who was annoyed at being constantly referred to in the dialog as ‘the man with the pointy shoes'”

  8. #8 Lana
    July 30, 2007

    It reminds me of an old joke.

    My uncle worked at a brewery and died when he fell into a vat of beer.

    “That’s too bad. He couldn’t climb out?’

    Actually, he climbed out twice to pee.

  9. #9 dc
    July 30, 2007

    Good beer in London? Not in my experience. The nearest decent ale is in Yorkshire.

  10. #10 Roger
    July 30, 2007

    Still too close… Ireland is a better spot for beer.

    Of course, since Coors bought Cafferey’s a few years ago and turned it into a Coors plant, Ireland is short one very, very good beer.

  11. #11 Chris Thompson
    July 30, 2007

    There’s something oddly fitting about Henry Kissinger winning the Nobel Peace prize on the anniversary of the Beer Flood.

  12. #12 Adam Peter Stein
    July 30, 2007

    If it were really, really good beer (I have no palate, how would I know?), wouldn’t it be intermittent beer showers followed by increased maltiness?

  13. #13 stogoe
    July 30, 2007

    I really enjoyed the Simpsons movie. They brought back a lot of the great writers from seasons 3-8, including Jon Swartzwelder, Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jon Vitti…

    And no ‘Jerkass Homer’ to be found, thank Jebus.

  14. #14 Dan
    July 30, 2007

    Well, I have no sense whatsoever, PZ; so, I’d fetch a straw and have at it. And, if I live next door to the brewery, I’d need my swimming trunks and a garden hose to save Queen and country!

    Think they’d build me a statue?

  15. #15 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 30, 2007

    turned it into a Coors plant

    – Does it taste bad?
    – Of Coor’s.

    – What is the frakking difference between american beer and love boats?
    – They are both frakking close to water.

    – Why did the chicken cross the road?
    – Well, it wasn’t to get american beer.

    [PS. American micro breweries produce something that are among the best beers in the world. The macro breweries makes something that is … not even beer.]

  16. #16 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    July 30, 2007

    turned it into a Coors plant

    – Does it taste bad?
    – Of Coor’s.

    – What is the frakking difference between american beer and love boats?
    – They are both frakking close to water.

    – Why did the chicken cross the road?
    – Well, it wasn’t to get american beer.

    [PS. American micro breweries produce something that are among the best beers in the world. The macro breweries makes something that is … not even beer.]

  17. #17 Grumpy
    July 30, 2007

    …one dead by alcohol poisoning…

    He bravely fought off all attempts to rescue him.

    Afterward, he was cremated. It took 3 weeks to put out the fire.

  18. #18 bernarda
    July 30, 2007

    Jeff, “Hoestly I find beer, and most alcoholic beverages, disgusting.”

    Just what are you taking then?

  19. #19 Jazmin
    July 30, 2007

    I won’t even bother with a fresh beer in a clean glass. However, if something like that happened in Lynchburg, Tennessee, say right around the corner from the Jack Daniel’s distillery, I would happily dive in and not come up for air for at least 2 days.

  20. #20 MAJeff
    July 30, 2007

    I’m not sure if there is such a thing as a beer good enough to make me want to drink it after it had flowed through the slums of early 19th century London.

    “Needs more dog.”

  21. #21 Alan Kellogg
    July 30, 2007

    By our standards, likely a very good beer. But nothing compared to the contemporary beers produced in smaller lots back then.

  22. #22 Ginger Yellow
    July 31, 2007

    “Good beer in London? Not in my experience. The nearest decent ale is in Yorkshire.”

    Nonsense. Fuller’s and Young’s make several fine beers, including ESB, London Pride, Young’s Special and Waggledance, and you can get plenty of superb non-local ales like Deuchar’s in many pubs.

  23. #23 MG
    July 31, 2007

    PS. American micro breweries produce something that are among the best beers in the world. The macro breweries makes something that is … not even beer.]

    To be fair, Europe has plenty of lame macro brews as well. And it turns out that even the Beligans are pilsner freaks:

    http://www.europeanbeerguide.net/belgbrew.htm

    I’m not anti-lager, but Stella Artois isn’t exactly the pride of Belgian brewing.

  24. #24 Rugosa
    July 31, 2007

    Not sure how you can say the beer flood was worse than the molasses flood. Loss of human life alone makes the molasses flood worse – 21 vs 7. Also, many horses died in the molasses flood because they were trapped in the gooey mess. Horses most likely could swim or walk out of the less viscous beer. The web site you link to also says the molasses company covered up structural damage to the tank by painting it, greatly increasing the human guilt factor. Actually, immensely increasing the human guilt factor – the bastards just didn’t care about fixing a dangerous problem.

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