Beer is a most ancient drink that has had a
chequered and varied history. It has been used by preachers as a religious symbol, by
doctors as a medicinal treatment after a hard day's toil. Throughout the ages, in
different countries beer has been both promoted as a health drink and reviled as the
draught of the devil.
When and where beer was first brewed, we do not
know. It's pretty clear that since man can paint their history, man brewed beer. Many
publications state that the discovery of brewing beer was about the same time man
discovered wine making.
Early man collected fruits and kept them in open jars. These overripe fruits (for
example drapes) accidentally got bruised, so the juice came in contact with
fermentationcells. After a few weeks the first wine was made. The drinker of this wine
probably didn't like the taste, but the feeling of the alcohol made him make more of this
The first beer couldn't be made in this way. Because of the malting, people had to
be able to work grain, for example making bread, where by accident a maltingprocess took
place. We can assume that wine was known much earlier then beer.
Because of drawings we know that about 4000 B.C.
beer was brewed.
In Egypt about 3500 B.C. beer was a common drink. Often important people were
buried with all sorts of gifts, food and wine and beer.
In the far east and in Europe different cultures discovered the brewing of beer.
The ancient Greeks and Romans reported the brewing and drinking of beer
when they explored the German lands. This German beer was very primitive. Because the
German men did the hunting for food, the women brewed the beer. In the time of Karl the
Great (Karel de Grote) the first brewers started brewing the beer, at first in monasteries
but around 1300 as profesional brewers.
Tastes from the past
Interested in some ancient beers? Look no
further because Arjen's BeerPage has the information right here.
Book: A Short, but
Foamy, History of Beer : The Drink That Invented Itself
Many people erroneously believe that beer didn't exist much
before German immigrants brought it to North America starting in the mid-1800s. In fact,
man has been brewing beer for several thousand years, initially in Ancient Mesopotamia,
then spreading westward to Pharonic Egypt and beyond. As the title suggests, A Short but
Foamy History of Beer carries the reader from those ancient times to the present, in an
informative manner. I took pain to avoid brewerspeak as much as possible. For the novice,
I included a chapter on the essentials of brewing: ingredients (hops, malts, water, yeast,
and other herbs and spices that may also be employed) and their uses. A thorough glossary
of international brewing terms helps the reader understand the language of the brewing
industry and helps one interpret foreign beer labels. A chapter on the brewing world, by
continent, region, and country illustrates the enormity and quirks of the brewing
industry: tiny Malta, in the Mediterranean, has a major brewery whilst Greece doesn't; the
Czechs drink 50% more beer than Americans; Japan brews more beer than Great Britain; Great
Britain brews more beer than all of Africa. Many would guess there are more styles of wine
than beer. They would be wrong. Currently, there are nearly 100 identifiable beer styles,
with more being resurrected or developed each passing year. A Short but Foamy History of
Beer contains a style guide that helps readers sort them all out. My love of beer is what
initially drove my curiosity, which led me to becoming a historian of beer and, later, a
beer style expert and international beer judge. Everywhere I go, whether to judge beer in
competition, attend a beer festival, or visit to research an article, people say I'm
fortunate to be doing what I do. I agree. When asked how I got started, I reply (beyond
tasting and critiqueing) every brand of beer I came across) I read everything I find on
the subject. I've discovered that a love of something should, naturally, make one more
curious and drive a desire to learn all there is to know about the object of one's love.
When asked which is my favourite beer, I reply, "The one in my hand".
If you are interested in more
information about the history of beer, take a look here.
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