The Fascinating History Of Beer

Beer is made of barley, fermented yeast, water and various other ingredients. Word beer is derived from the Latin word 'bibere' meaning 'to drink'. It can be safely assumed that beer like beverages were independently invented among various cultures throughout the world.

Ancient Time Beer

The oldest evidence of beer can be found in Southern Mesopotamia; between Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The Historians assert that the Sumarians discovered beer by chance. It might have happened that a wet piece of bread was left for several days. After which it fermented and formed a pale yellowish pulp.

Gilgamesh Epic written in 3rd Millennium B. C. states that, it was not only bread but beer too held an equal importance in society, where a primitive man 'Enkidu' were served beer to drink.

"… Enkidu drank seven cups of beer and as his heart soared, he wished himself and became a human being."

The Egyptians carried the tradition of brewing beer. It was the essential food item in their daily meal. They used unbaked bread to make beer and used dates to improve its taste.

It is the Egyptians who taught the Greeks how to brew. Greek then taught the Romans and from Romans, brewing culture spread among the Celtic and Teutonic tribes in Britain and middle Europe. In Roman civilization, beer was only popular to the extreme outskirts of the empire, as wine became more prevalent in Rome. The ancient Germans sacrificed beer to the Gods and used it for their own enjoyment in daily lives. In the first century after the birth of Christ until the Middle Ages, brewing beer from baked bread was a work for women.

Beer in the Middle Ages

Monks turned their attention to brewing beer in the Middle Ages, shortly before the end of the first Millennium, as they wanted a better tasting and nutritious drink to serve with their daily meal and during their fasting periods. Many old art works reveal the fact that monks enjoyed beer and the historians say, each monk were allowed to drink five litters of beer every day.

Beer became one of the most popular drinks in Europe during Medieval times and was consumed daily by all social classes; especially in Northern and Eastern Europe as grape cultivation was very difficult or almost impossible. In England and Low Countries, the per capita consumption was 275-300 liters a year. The use of hops (Humulus lupulus); a female flower cone of hop plant; for flavoring and stabilizing agents in beer started around 822. Apart from hops people started using juniper berries, blackthorn, aniseed, wormwood, oak bark, rosemary and bay leaves.

In 1516, the Duke of Bavaria, Germany, Wilhelm IV, came up with Beer Purity Law, which is the oldest valid food law in the world. The law stated:

"Herewith shall beer brewers and others not use anything other than malt, hops and water. These same brewers also shall not add anything when serving or otherwise handling beer, upon penalty to body and chattels."

The Modern History of Beer

With the invention of Steam Engine, industrialization of beer became possible, the brewing culture moved from homemaker's activity to industry oriented large scale production. Steam Beer Breweries was the first to use steam in order to brew beer. Considerable scientific research on brewing took place in the 19th century. With the advent of technology, wooden barrels have replaced by the metal barrels.

Today brewing industry has become a global business; many multinational companies have invested Billions of dollars. Advances in technology such as refrigeration, shipping and transportation help beer industry to progress. There are lots of options for the buyers ranging from different colors to taste and alcohol percentages.

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