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By Jennifer Mc Gavin Beer has been brewed for several thousand years, but not as we know it. D., the German folk were brewing a thin beer made from oats and sometimes honey. Several hundred years later, Christianity had gained a strong foothold in northern Europe.

This was partly because they could spend more time on their art than housewives could and partly because monasteries were the educational and research centers in Europe.By the 12th/13th centuries, hundreds of monasteries were brewing beer.They were even allowed to keep brewing during famines.But the rest of Germany did not stop making beer themselves.The earliest "Völkerrecht" (people's rights - laws) included how much beer was to be given to the nobility (as tax or payment), but not how much beer people could brew - they were allowed to produce as much as they wanted.

Because they were not always allowed to brew in their houses due to fire danger, the women would use the common bakery, in which they had specific days to brew and bake bread. Before the German Beer Purity Law, there were decrees called "Grutrechte," or Gruit Rights, which conferred the privilege of making gruit beer or selling gruit to make beer.Craft breweries were started in this way, using the same common area, which attracted the attention of the nobility which started taxing the breweries. It gave the decree holder a monopoly in a geographical area.These decrees were handed out by the cities, the church or nobility in the territory.(Source)Grut (or gruit) is a mixture of herbs which was used to stabilize the beer and make it drinkable.The first written citing of grut rights was in the 10th century A. Rights were given to upper class families, churches or entire cities.Sometimes the cities would try to impose their monopoly beyond the city walls, which was called the "Meilenrecht," or mile rights.