The Fascinating History of Beer

Beer has a fundamental role in the history of civilization. I wrote about it for Calorie Count a few years ago after hearing the story from a friend, a technical kind of guy who remembers every detail and then relates it back. You’ve been there; still, it was captivating. I’ve already made The Case for Fermented Foods, the essence of decomposition and metamorphosis and so, all of life. Nowadays, my daughter’s boyfriend brews beer and mead in bubbling cauldrons in their Brooklyn apartment. Stay tuned for more about that. The definitive guide to beer history is A History of Beer and Brewing by Ian Hornsey. I’ve condensed it here to a one minute read.

The History of Beer, Condensed

  • Around the world, prehistoric man discovers fermentation by chance occurrence as decaying fruit mixes with yeast, molds and bacteria in the air to produce alcohol.
  • 12,000 BC: Nomadic hunters and gatherers settle down to farm grain (presumably to make beer because bread-baking is unknown)
  • 7,000 BC: Brewing (i.e. intentionally making beer from grain or bread) is practiced in Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, Israel, China, and South America.
  • 500 BC – 500 CE: Wine takes over as the preferred drink in the Western world.  Beer is for peasants.

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You thoughts: Are you a beer fan?

7 thoughts on “The Fascinating History of Beer

  1. Another 5 stars! We don’t drink beer (but we keep some in the pantry to use in the garden–put it in a shallow dish & it lures plant-destroying snails … then they drown in it), but I was glad we had some on hand when I saw this recipe. Made it exactly as stated — took more time for the oven to preheat than it did to mix the ingredients together. The crust was very interesting, sort of a fried texture from the butter – I may reduce it to 1/4 cup butter next time, as there was some left in the pan when I took the loaf out (trust me–it wasn’t wasted … I drizzled it over the cooling loaf!) The bread was moist & dense, with a hint of sweetness and the distinct (although not unpleasant) smell of the beer. We had this with pan fried tilapia & a green salad for supper. Even picky DH liked it – we almost polished off half the loaf between the two of us!! I might try adding some shredded sharp cheddar cheese & herbs to the batter next time. Excellent bread – thanks for posting! -M 🙂

  2. Informative Article!

    The art of beer making hasn’t changed a lot, the basic formula to a cold, crisp and refreshing brew still consist of two things – quality ingredients and a perfectly monitored brewing process.

  3. Pingback: What I’m Drinking tonight: Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ale aka quickie on a tiled bathroom floor « A Spoonful of Suga

  4. Mary,
    I heard that in Egypt , oh so many years ago, that unleavened bread feel into the beer and rose thereupon. Was that the first time bread rose or is it just a fable?
    Nice blog. Thanks.

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