The art of brewing beer can be traced back to ancient times in history. The practice itself dates back to over 6,000 years ago, back when grain became the first domesticated crop that farmers harvested. It all started with a group of people called the Sumerians, who even had a “goddess of brewing” named Ninkasi. They considered beer a “divine drink” and early pictograms found evidence of an early process in which bread was baked and crumpled into water to create a mash. This mash was made into a drink and made the Sumerians feel “exhilarated, wonderful and blissful!”
In those ancient times, the beer was cloudy and unfiltered. They used special drinking straws to circumvent any accidental drinking of the brew residue. The taste of the residue was very bitter when ingested. The Egyptians carried on the tradition of brewing, with the importance being evident in the fact that Egyptian scribes created an additional hieroglyph for “brewer.”
After ancient Egypt, the Greeks and the Romans had forays into beer and beer-brewing, even though the Romans considered beer to be a barbarian drink. Eventually, the brewing of beer came under the authority of the Roman Church. Beer was brewed for the brother and visiting pilgrims and as the methods developed and became sophisticated, workers were even paid in beer for their services.
By the fifteenth century, hops were regularly used in the production of beer. One of the most widely recognized standards for brewing beer, the German standard, was established around 1516. It revolved around the “pledge of purity” in which beer could only be made with water, malted barley, malted wheat and hops. Even though yeast is not mentioned, it is take for granted as one of the more essential ingredients in beer.
The next great development came in the mid-nineteenth century, when the fermentation process was improved and brewers discovered that brewing in the cold would improve the whole process. This improvement can be traced back to 1919 with the Volstead act. Jumping ahead to post-Prohibition, when light beer came into style because of the substitution of adjuncts for malts.
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