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Tales from the pastbottle.jpg (11629 bytes)

In 1989, Fritz Maytag, owner of the Anchor Brewery in the United States, decided to recreate the flavour of the early Sumerian beer from 50 centuries before. He commissioned a bakery to produce 5,000 small loaves from the raw barley flour with a little roatsed barley and malt. These were soaked in water at his San Fransisco brewery, to make a mash. Honey and syrup of dates were added for flavouring.
"We started cooking it and it was a very eerie feeling, as though we were rubbing the magic lamp," Maytag said later. The resulting cloudy, orange-red brew, named "Ninkasi", after the Sumerian goddes of brewing, was served at brewers' conference. Guest drank the beer from huge jugs through tubes, just as the Sumerians had done.
"It wasn't wonderful beer," admitted Mr. Maytag afterwards. "But it was interesting."

In 1986, Scottish home-brew shop owner, Bruce Williams, revived the ancient art of brewing fraoch or heather ale. First using the small West Highland Brewery in Argyll in Scotland, and then the larger Maclay's Brewery in Alloa, Williams tested different varieties of the wild heathers that color the highland glens purple in late summer. He now produces batches of froach each flowering season. The heather flowers and the leaves of the wild myrtle, gathered at the same time, give an acidic, peaty brew with a poweful floral bouquet.

Scottish and Newcastle Breweries in Britain produced Tutankhamon Ale at their pilot plant in Edinburgh in 1996. They used the findings of Dr. Delwen Samuel, of Cambridge University's archaeology department. Her research on 3,000 year old dried remains of beer from Tell el Amarna and Deir el Medina, helped them to brew a beer made from malted emmer wheat, and flavoured with coriander and juniper. The husky emmer, which  had not been cultivated in Egypt for over 2,000 years, had to be grown specially in England. Only 1,000 bottles of the beer were produced. They were sold at the London department store, Harrods for 50 pounds a bottle, the proceeds going towards further research into Egyptian beer making.

 

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