The History of Beer

Nothing like a nice, dol, full-bodied beer to get ‘ol blood pumping. In today’s time, beer has been perfected throughout the world, giving us a variety of delicious brews to enjoy over meals, after meals, after work….whenever.

Modern been from Egypt.

Believe it or not, beer is an incredibly old beverage. In fact, chemical tests performed by scientists reveal that traces of early beer were found in ancient pottery jars. The jars are dated to around about 3,500 BC in the region of the world that now considered Iran.

Archaeological findings further revealed that certain ancient Chinese villagers were brewing different variations of fermented alcoholic drinks, dating as far back as 7000 BC using a production process very similar to that found in ancient Egypt and in ancient Mesopotamia.

Although, the absolute earliest archaeological evidence of fermentation is 13,000-year-old beer residues that have a thick consistency. It is speculated that it was used by the semi-nomadic Natufians in ritual feasts, at the Raqefet Cave in the Carmel Mountains near Haifa, Israel.

Egyptian women enjoying beer.

We also see early evidence of beer in Mesopotamia or ancient Iraq. There is a mention of beer in a 3900-year-old Sumerian poem honoring the patron goddess (that’s right, a lady) of brewing, Ninkasi. In the poem, is the oldest surviving beer recipe. It describes the familiar production of beer derived from the barley in bread.

In fact, about 5000 years ago, city workers of Uruk were paid in beer by their employers.

Too bad we can’t pay our mortgages in beer, amirite?

Here is beer’s mention in the poem, it translates:

“Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat

It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.”

You may also recognize beer in the Epic of Gilgamesh, a medieval tale, in the part where ‘wild man’ Enkidu is given a beer.

“… he ate until he was full, drank seven pitchers of beer, his heart grew light, his face glowed and he sang out with joy.”
Beer eventually became important to all the grain-growing civilizations in ancient Eurasia and North Africa, especially finding a solid route in Egypt. In fact, in the 1868 James Death formulate one theory in “The Beer of the Bible” that the manna from heaven, that God gave the Israelites, was a bread-like, porridge-type beer they called “Wusa”.

This kind of beer, however, was thick, often more of a gruel than a drink. Drinking straws were typically used by the Sumerians the residues from the fermentation process.

Beer was also consumed in Ancient Rome, although it grew less popular as wine gained momentum in popularity. The Romans called their brew cerevisia, a derivative of the Celtic word for beer.

Believe it or not, many different ancient civilizations had different uses for beers such, as the Ancient Nubians who used beer as an antibiotic.

Back to ancient Mesopotamia, archaeologists discovered clay tablets that indicated that most brewers were probably women.

Early writing tablet on the allocation of beer.

In fact, brewing was a highly respected occupation during the time period. It’s speculated that brewing incorporated twice-baked barley bread they called Bappir. It was only used for brewing beer after it was discovered that reusing the same fermenting containers for mash would produce more favorable results.

Over the years, the beer making process has been very experimental, giving birth to stouts, pilsners, Belgian wheat, and pale ales. Time has been very good to the beer making process, making it available just about anywhere.

Thirsty for a cold beer, now? Come on down to the Wheelhouse for our cold beer on tap, and indulge in one of the human most divine discoveries!




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