Have you ever stopped while having a craft beer and wondered about the history of the world's favorite beer? We often hear this question from guests on our Brews Cruise tours. We have prepared a lesson on the origin of beer from the first records to the present day. So the next time you open a cold beer, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the history of beer.
Let's start with a pop quiz:Where in the world and when was beer invented?
If you said Germany in the Middle Ages, you're not alone. Many people associate the well-known German drinking culture with the birthplace of beer.
It is true that modern beer styles developed primarily in Europe (especially Germany). But through research we now know that beer was first drunk in ancient Mesopotamia.
Germans love their beer, but it wasn't brewed there first.For the benefit!
Here are some of the key civilizations involved in creating the beer we know and love today.
There are some theories that brewing at the Godin Tepe settlement (now in what is now Iran) began as early as 10,000 B.C. occurredAgriculturedeveloped for the first time in the region.
The people who lived in the lands between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers considered beer a very important part of their diet. They call him "the divine drink' due to its intoxicating effects.
Alulu beer receipt – records the purchase of the "best" beer from a brewer, c. 2050 BC from the Sumerian city of Umma in ancient Iraq
The first solid evidence of beer production dates back to the Sumerian period around 4000 BC. During an archaeological dig in Mesopotamia, a plaque was discovered showing villagers drinking a drink from a container with straws.
Archaeologists also found an ode toThis man, the patron goddess of brewing. This poem also contained the oldest known recipe for making beer from barley bread.
The next civilization known to drink beer also came from Mesopotamia, the people of the great city of Babylon.
The Babylonians introduced it around 3000 B.C. BC produced more than 20 different types of beer.
Beer was also considered divine in Babylonia, a true gift from the gods. It was also a sign of wealth.
Temples provided workers with daily rations of barley beer, the staple drink of Mesopotamia.
oHammurabi's Code, the ancient law of Babylon, enacted a daily ration of beer for the citizens.
Each citizen had his daily dose of beer according to his wealth. The drink was so respected that people were sometimes paid for their work with beer instead of money.
Back then there was no way to filter beer so their beer was quite thick (like mush) and hard to drink.
To avoid this problem, the ancient Babylonians were the first to use straws to drink a drink.
Although the Sumerians and Babylonians considered beer sacred, few civilizations revered it as much as the ancient Egyptians around 1500 B.C.
oEgyptianshe was the goddess of beerhe holds. His name is derived fromWe hold, one of many words in the Egyptian language for beer.
The Egyptians were excellent brewers and little by little they worked on the taste of the beer, making it less bitter and better tasting.
The most popular beer in Egypt wasWorth it(oHecht). This was a honey flavored drink and their common word for beer wasZytum.
Beer was often used as wages for work throughout Egypt. the workers ofGuizaThe plateau received beer rations three times a day, and Nile laborers were often paid in beer for their work.
Archaeologists even found beer buried in the tombs of the pharaohs so they could taste this delicious drink in the afterlife.
Ancient Greece and Rome
How did beer come to Europe and become popular on this continent? The Greeks and the Romans!
Brewing techniques came to Greece from Egypt (as we can see in theGreekword For Beer,Zythosfrom egyptianZytum), but it was not an instant success.
Wine was so popular back then that it was considered a gift from the gods. Therefore, beer was considered a barbaric drink and suitable only for the lower classes.
However, the Romans brewed beer (the so-calledCoffin) quite early, as evidenced by finds in the tomb of a brewer and merchant (a Cerveserius) in ancient Trier (present-day Trier).
Beer was one of the most consumed beverages in the entire empire, and the legions of Rome brought beer to northern Europe. Roman soldiers could enjoy a refreshing glass of beer on their long journeys.
And then came the Middle Ages. During this period, beer was mainly brewed in monasteries throughout Europe.
With its high nutritional value, beer was a perfect drink for monks during Lent.
Brewing helped monasteries survive during the Middle Ages, as they earned enough money to live off the sale of their beer.
Introduction of hops
People started using it around 1000 AD.hops in the brewing process. This refined its flavor, made it much less bitter, and gave us the beer as we know it today.
The use of hops in beer production began to spread throughout Europe.
First commercial breweries
Finally, by the 13th century AD, beer was being produced commercially in Germany, England, and Austria.
You know we would eventually go back to Germany!
The Germans brewed beer (which they calledHola, for "ale") as early as 800 BC.
Large numbers of beer mugs still containing traces of beer were discovered in a grave in Kasendorf near Kulmbach in northern Bavaria.
German brewers soon set the standard for most brewers in Europe. His beer was top quality mainly because it was ice cold and tasted better.
The Renaissance period
During the Renaissance, beer production also experienced its "renaissance," which means "renaissance" in German.
In 1516 the Germans arrived.purity command(Beer purity law.).
Under this German law, beer could only contain water, barley, and hops. In the mid-19th century, Louis Pasteur discovered the importance of yeast and added it to the list of "approved" ingredients.
opurity commandIt was the world's first consumer protection law, as it regulated ingredients that could legally be used in brewing. He also made sure that the beer made in Germany had a certain degree of purity, which gave him the impression that it was safe.
Like their predecessors, the Germans introduced a daily ration of beer and considered it a necessary staple.
The modern age
Breweries sprang up in the North American colonies one after another. The first brewery on the new continent was in New Amsterdam (later New York City). BothGeorge Washington and Thomas Jefferson brew beer. George Washington himself wrote a recipe for brewing beer.
In the 19th century, beer was widely recognized as the number one alcoholic beverage in the world. This period of modern history marks the beginning of great changes in beer production, such as the use of yeast for fermentation.
em 1810,oktoberfesttook place for the first time in Munich. Its origins go back to wedding celebrations, which were actually mostly about wine.
The citizens of Munich were invited to the festivities in the fields outside the city gates to celebrate the royal and happy event.
Prince Regent Ludwig of Bavaria, who later became King Ludwig I, and Princess Theresa of Saxe-Hildburghausen were married on October 17, 1810. The entire city was invited outside the city gates to celebrate and watch a great horse race.
More than two hundred years later, today is the biggest beer festival in the world. Munich traditionally welcomes millions of beer lovers who come together every year to enjoy the best of German beer.
As already mentioned, the famous Louis Pasteur discovered thisYeast causes fermentation.. His writings on the influence of yeast in the control of fermentation marked the most important discovery that enabled the faithful reproduction of consistent batches of beer.
Along with the recently invented automatic bottling and cooling processes, breweries and beer have grown tremendously all over the world. By the end of the 19th century there were 3,200 breweries in the United States alone.
And then the dark ages struck again. But this time they were dark only for those enjoying a nice cold drink.
Prohibition in the United States began in Portland, Maine, with the so-called "Maine Law" written by Neal Dow in 1851. The new law prohibited the manufacture and sale of all types of alcohol nationwide.
Soon other states followed suit and the United States was on the path to complete abstinence from alcohol.
In 1920, prohibition went into effect across the country, and suddenly anyone enjoying a good drink was considered a criminal. Of course, there were people who benefited from this, mostly gangsters and bootleggers who ran underground breweries.
New Yorkers say goodbye to the 18th Amendment, which legalized Prohibition and was repealed by the 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933.
Prohibition finally ended in 1933, but its effect was obvious. Of the 3,200 breweries mentioned above, only 160 remained in business after Prohibition.
Today we can consider ourselves incredibly lucky. We live in a time where you can drink beer whenever you want and there is an amazing variety of different beers to choose from.
There are about 9,000 breweries in the United States, producing an endless variety of different styles and flavors of beer.
And on our tours, you can learn more about the people, processes, and products that make America's brewing industry so strong!
Let's toast it!
For more than 15 years, Brews Cruise tours have taken thirsty guests on expertly-led, all-inclusive tours and activities to discover incredible breweries, wineries and distilleries across the United States.
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