200 years later, London remembers a strange milestone: The great beer flood


Death by Pabst?

Two centuries ago this week, London bore witness to one of history's most bizarre events: an explosion at a brewery that unleashed a tidal wave—of beer, no less.

According to The History Channel, one of three vats Meux's Brewery unexpectedly burst open on the afternoon of October 17, 1814. The container, which held some 1 million pints of beer, exploded in a hail of splinters around 5:30 pm, triggering a chain reaction that loosed "thousands of barrels of beer" in a nearby cask.

All in all, nearly 600 tons of liquid spilled into the streets of the U.K.'s capital city, collapsing brick walls in its wake and sending citizens scrambling to save themselves from a torrent of alcohol.

The incident, and its colorful anecdotes, has spawned a flood of cheeky headlines. However, at the time the disaster was certainly no laughing matter: The flood claimed the lives of 8 people, including several toddlers, according to The History Channel.

Read more about London's great beer flood here.