No, Sir, claret is the liquor for boys; port, for men: but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.
Today I'm over at Word Wenches, talking about Regency tipples. The hard-drinking Regency or Georgian gentleman is such a stock figure in Romance, it's worth stopping a minute to wonder what sort of liquor he was likely to be imbibing.
There was ale and beer, of course, and their cousin, porter. Ale and beer weren't precisely a gentleman's drink, but it's likely your hero lifted a mug of ale before the hunt and he may well have drunk beer with his breakfast, especially if he lived in the deep country.
Beer and ale were drinks native to England, universal, and cheap. The drink of the people, as it were. Even small children drank a low-alcohol sort of beer called 'small beer' made from the second or third re-fermentation of the mash during brewing and containing just enough alcohol to preserve the drink.
By the Regency, the distinction between ale and beer lay not so much in the ingredients that made them up, as in the proportions.
Ale differs from beer in having fewer hops, which, giving less bitterness, leaves more of the soft smooth sweetness of the malt. It is usual, too, to brew it with pale malt, so that it is not so brown as beer.
Scenes of British Wealth, Isaac Taylor, 1825.
Porter―later this was also called 'stout'―was a style of strong, dark, well-aged beer dating back to the Eighteenth Century, much favored by the working class of London. Thus 'porter', because porters drank it. Not a stylish beverage. If you're wondering what it was like; Guinness is stout.
Why so much beer drinking?
See the rest of the article at Word Wenches. Here There's also a chance to win Black Hawk (or Forbidden Rose if you'd prefer that.)