I used to read an awful lot of science fiction (or a lot of awful sci-fi - if you'd rather). A recurrent idea (a sub-genre, even) is that of the alternate history, and its close relative the parallel reality / universe. "What if?" the author asks. What if the Axis Powers had been victorious in WWII? ("The Man in the High Castle" - Philip K. Dick and if you don't read Mr Dick, you should). Outside SF, there's a famous collection of essays If it had happened otherwise. There's Robert Sobels "For want of a Nail" The tradition goes way back. Livy had a go, I'm told.
Many-worlds theory (or "interpretation") implies that this stuff needn't be fiction. Far-out or what?
My question, "what if the monks of Furness Abbey were brewing now?" What if it was us? Would we have a "abbey" beer round here? How would it be influenced by our modern lay brown British beer tradition? It's said that some of those yeasts we think of as being "Belgian" started out in Scotch ales. How weird is that? We'd be using English hops rather than continental ones, for sure. But which? Goldings, Fuggles? Or more modern varieties? Continental "Caramalts", or good old crystal malt?
Only one way to find out. Let's brew a sort of South-Cumbrian (or North Lancs) Dubbel.
It'll be fun. Fun. Not a research project. Fun. i.e. don't tell me Belgo Abbey and Trappist beers are firmly within the local brewing tradition etc...etc...
This is Jon's personal "blog" - I work at an independent microbrewery (a small-scale, artisanal producer of “real ale” and other beery treats), based in the Furness area in Cumbria (or N. Lancs if you'd rather). Or a "Craft Brewer", if you like. We're known as "Stringers", or "Stringers Beer". I don't just make beer - I also sound-off in half-informed rants on a variety of subjects. Like here.