Today in Beer History: The London Beer Flood


Your Friday fun fact: 200 years ago today, a killer tidal wave of beer flooded London. Yes, you read that right.

On October 17, 1814, a vat at the Horse Shoe Brewery went blammo and sent a 15-foot-high wave of porter churning through the streets. According to Atlas Obscura:

The flood destroyed two houses and claimed seven lives, five of whom were attending a wake for a child that had died the previous day. While there are rumors, there were no written records of the citizens taking advantage of the free drinks, and subsequently, no recorded deaths of alcohol poisoning on the account of the flood. It’s assumed when a 15-foot high wave of anything is rolling down the street, there’s not really enough time to weigh the pros and cons of taking advantage or getting to higher ground.

The Independent notes that somewhere between eight to nine thousand barrels of porter were lost, and that  “a jury cleared the brewers of any wrongdoing, considering the incident as an unavoidable act of God.” So if that doesn’t make you question your faith, nothing will. At any rate, have a porter or six at some point today. It’s the least you can do.