Excerpt from The Beer Archaeologist by Abigail Tucker, Smithsonian magazine, July-August 2011
“Dr. Pat,” as he’s known at Dogfish Head, is the world’s foremost expert on ancient fermented beverages, and he cracks long-forgotten recipes with chemistry, scouring ancient kegs and bottles for residue samples to scrutinize in the lab. He has identified the world’s oldest known barley beer (from Iran’s Zagros Mountains, dating to 3400 B.C.), the oldest grape wine (also from the Zagros, circa 5400 B.C.) and the earliest known booze of any kind, a Neolithic grog from China’s Yellow River Valley brewed some 9,000 years ago.
Photographs by Landon Nordeman
Link to the full article and the source of the image and text: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/The-Beer-Archaeologist.html#ixzz2SuqH0OQt
Excerpt for The History of Beer by Mary Bellis, About.com Guide
4,000 years ago in Babylon, it was an accepted practice that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead or beer he could drink. In ancient Babylon, the calendar was lunar-based - based on the cycle of the moon. The month following any wedding was called the "honey month" which evolved into "honeymoon". Mead is a honey beer and what better way to celebrate a honeymoon.
Photo credit: Stock.xchng Photographer Jasper Greek Golangco
Link to the full article and of image: http://inventors.about.com/od/bstartinventions/a/beer.htm
Babylon, the cradle of civilization, was also apparently the cradle of the brewing industry. It was well developed by 4200 B.C. Large earthen vessels were used for brewing; bread, especially baked for the purpose, was mashed together with crushed barley malt and fermented, No aromatic flavoring was used but some beer received an admixture of dates or honey to increase the alcoholic content
Original source for the image and text: The Milwaukee Journal, Sept. 26, 1937.
Image source: Brewing--Babylon, The circulating collection of the Print and Picture Collection, Free Library of Philadelphia
Some of the earliest writing known to man makes mention of beer. This clay tablet is a record of expenditures on beer. Akkadian, circa 2340-2198 BCE.
Photo credit: Katharine Chandler
Image source: The John Frederick Lewis Collection of Cuneiform Tablets, The Rare Book Department, Parkway Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia. FLP 115
"Beer Is Brewed for Him on the Day of His Festival" - By the doorway of a Middle Kingdom brewery stands the portly brew-master, his sceptre of authority in his hand, the workers bend to their tasks. This funerary model from which this group was derived is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.(XIth dynasty, reign of King Mentu-hotpe III, 2060-2015 B.C.).
Original source for the image and text: The National Geographic, Oct. 1941.
Image from Brewing--Egypt--Ancient, The circulating collection of the Print and Picture Collection, Free Library of Philadelphia
Excerpt from The beer of yesteryear by Mark Drede, wordofmouth blog, guardian.co.uk, October 27, 2010
The Chateau Jiahu by Dogfish Head is based on evidence from a 9,000-year-old tomb in China, one of the earliest recorded finds of "beer". The Dogfish recreation contains sake rice, wildflower honey, Muscat grapes, hawthorn fruit and chrysanthemum flowers. Midas Touch contains honey, Muscat grapes and saffron and is based on "an ancient Turkish recipe using the original ingredients from the 2,700 year old drinking vessels discovered in the tomb of King Midas." Theobroma is based on "chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras which revealed the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilizations to toast special occasions." It contains Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs, honey, chillies and annatto.
Our ancestors would quickly have discovered that you can't consume a sweet drink in any real quantity, and as their taste for the intoxicating effects of alcohol grew, the hunt for bittering ingredients to make beer a thirst-quenching experience began. Before hops, brewers would add a wide variety of locally available herbs and plants to their beers, the most common ingredients were bog myrtle and yarrow but others included:
"sage, wormwood, rosemary, broom (very popular), dandelions, nettles … alehoof ... wood avens or Herb Bennet," explains brewing historian Martyn Cornell. "Beyond these, heather, ground ivy, juniper, wild carrot seed, poppy, various spices and pepper were all used."
Gruit is a style which pre-dates the use of hops, the name referring to the mixture of herbs used. Stuart Howe at Sharp's Brewery brewed a gruit earlier this year containing yarrow, turmeric, bay and lemon balm. Moonlight Brewing in California brewed Artemis, a gruit containing mugwort and wild bergamot.
Photo credit: Bettmann/Corbis
Link to the image source and the full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2010/oct/27/old-ale-beer-history
The Germanic, Scandinavian, and Celtic tribes prepared from the earliest of times a beer-like beverage, sometimes called ale. Mead, made of honey diluted in water and naturally fermented, was a stronger and more popular drink. Overall, beer played an important role in religious ceremonies and festivities.
Original source of the image and text: The Milwaukee Journal, Sept. 26, 1937
Image source: Beer—History, The circulating collection of the Print and Picture Collection, Free Library of Philadelphia
Astonishing progress in the making of beer was displayed by the Ossestian and Chewsure tribes, isolated in the valleys of the Caucasus mountains, when they were first visited by Europeans in the eighteenth century. Tribesmen heated crushed barley in large copper cauldrons and relied on natural enzyme action; wild hops were used for flavoring.
Original source of the image and text: The Milwaukee Journal, Sept. 26, 1937.
Image source: Beer -- History,Circulating collection of the Print and Picture Collection, Free Library of Philadelphia