Three more Dragon Age: Origins-related editorials are on offer over at GreyWardens.com, including a piece that "deciphers" the Dalish elves, another that covers the similarites between Maric, Cailan, and Alistair, and one more that focuses on food and drink in Ferelden. From the latest article:
Alcohol on the other hand is a different matter, for both wine and Ale are both readily available in towns, though Ale is by far less expensive. Especially in poorer areas in towns, the supply of wine and ale could be more than a way to spend the evening or stave off a hangover from the night before, because in many Medieval towns and cities the population would drink alcoholic beverages instead of water, because it was safer than the water supply to drink. This could also be true of Ferelden, notably in areas where the mage healers would not reach to purify the water supply. This habit could also have been formed in the decades after each blight when very little would be safe from the lingering taint from the darkspawn and been habitually maintained thereafter.
Unlike foodstuffs, of which you hear and see very little in Ferelden, there does seem to be a cultural tradition of wine and ale making pride, not only in the peasantry, but also in the upper classes. Mages especially seem to like their tipple, with Wynne having a great knowledge and understanding of both wine and ale, enough to vastly impress Oghren. We also see the results of Wilhelm's Ale making in Honnleath, not to mention the imported Tevinter brew in the Templar quarters, perhaps confiscated from a mage and said to be strong enough to fluster a tranquil.