Its tempting to think back before industrial factories churned out multinational fizzy lager-like beer, that everything was good English bitter. It wasn't - as Chris Routledge writes in this article for More Intelligent Life.
At the start of the 1800's, brewing was done at the back of pubs or homes in an outbuilding. Before refridgeration, water chemistry, yeast microbiology & laws on what could (and more importantly could not) go into foodstuffs, beer was a very hit & miss affair even if the brewer was honest & decent.
A little reminder that progress doesn't always spoil traditional ways, but can make them safer & better.
Hat doffed to Carpe Zytha on Twitter for the link.