04 May 2010

What, When & Ware III

Hertford and Ware were, from the seventeenth century, England's malting capitals. They thrived on the intense demand for malt for brewing purposes. Hertfordshire's main crop was barley, which was brought to the maltings to be soaked in water (to convert the starch into sugar) and then dried and heated (to prevent germination).

In 1839, Ware boasted as many as 65 maltings. A speciality of the town was brown malt, cured at high temperature using wood-burning kilns, and used in the making of porter. The prepared malt was delivered to the breweries of London along the River Lea, but the railway age gave access to the barley of the Midlands, and Burton became the new centre of the malting industry. The last malting in Ware closed in 1994. 

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