Happily, the fraught international situation didn't put Belgians off their beer:
"THE TRADE ON THE CONTINENT.
(From Our Own Paris Correspondent.)
A highly interesting study of the nourishment aspects of Belgian beer consumption has been made by the food values review "Vita." It is well known that the sale of beer in Belgium is the relatively highest in the world — about 15,000,000 hectolitres a year, which corresponds to some 180 litres per head of the population. The real intake of the male adult is, of course, much higher, as this figure applies to the average, calculated by including women and children. The study considers it essential, therefore, that the nutritive value of this quantity of beer should be investigated. It would lead too far to go into all its details — eminently flattering to advocates of the Drink More Beer or Beer is Best slogan — but the fundamental conclusion concerning the materials contained in the beer consumption total, deserves quoting. The total of such materials, above all barley, comes to 200,000 tons. The nutritive value of this quantity, at 2,500 calories a kilo., equals thus 500,000 million calories, or four times as much as the nutritive value of all the eggs eaten in Belgium in the course of a year.
As far as possible, Belgian breweries are making the largest purchases of foreign maltings that they can obtain. There has been a comprehensible increase in demand since the beginning of the war, and suppliers in neighbouring countries are not in the same position as in peace time to satisfy it."
"The Brewers' Journal 1940" page 57. (Published January 17th 1940.)
180 litres per head is some going. A feat of which Belgians should rightly be proud. Though it should be pointed out that Belgian was, on average, pretty weak. Maybe even a little weaker than British beer of the period. (I should check that. I know exactly where I can find the information).
Hang on. I can work it out from the beer volume and quantity of malt provided. 200,000 tons is 1,333,333 quarters. And 15 million hl is about 9.375 million barrels. With a yield of, say, 80 brewers pounds per quarter, I make that an average gravity of 11.4 lbs per barrel. Or 1031.5. As opposed to an average gravity of 1041 in Britain.*
Next, it's the turn of Germany. Weird, eh? I wonder who the source was?
"The Brewers' Journal 1940" page 58.
The bastards. Fancy expecting the troops to drink ersatz lemonade. That's what happens when you have a lunatic teetotaller as head man. No wonder things later went terribly wrong. You were much better off with a posh pisshead in charge, like Churchill.
"Der Brauerlehrling" is the German title of that Gottfried Jakob book. I know because I've just searched for it. There's just one copy available on Abebooks. Make that zero now. I couldn't resist ordering a copy. It's a sickness, I know. It's costing me a little more than five bob. €23.20, to be precise. That despite the less than enthusiastic review in "The Brewers' Journal".
* According to "België door het Bier" (by Anne Perrier-Robert and Charles Fontaine, 1996, page 176) in 1939, the average gravuity of Belgian beer was 3.4º Belgian degrees, or 1036º.