The true history of beer
Beer is a beverage enjoyed by many with several different varieties from lagers to ales available. It is one of the oldest drinks known to man, with its roots going back to the dawn of history.
As this drink became more and more popular, its production spread across Europe with new techniques improving its brewing.
Colonization brought beer to America but it was not long before production centered around specific American tastes and the introduction of yeast led to lagers loved the world over.
With over 4,000 breweries in the US and more than 10,000 worldwide, beer is a timeless drink and with many varieties of craft beers becoming available, it is still a beverage that is loved across the globe.
The first Egyptian recipe
The ancient Egyptians first transcribed recipes for beer around 5,000 B.C. These recipes, written on papyrus scrolls, are the oldest in the world.
Their ingredients included herbs, dates, honey, and pomegranates.
Beer was brewed for mass consumption at religious ceremonies. The Egyptian god Osiris was credited with giving the gift of brewing to the Egyptians.
Festivals honoring the gods were always accompanied by drunkenness as a way of releasing the inhibitions of worshippers.
Beer was also part of everyday life and often prescribed for its medicinal benefits. It was thought to ward off evil spirits and combat diseases caused by malicious entities.
The process of brewing spread across Europe. It had once been produced locally or for specific use at festivals, but now it became the focus of mass production and export.
By the sixth century, monks of the Middle Ages brewed beer as a way of creating an income for their self-sufficient monasteries. They took to production with gusto bringing in sanitary practices and introducing hops to preserve their brews, making it last longer.
Monasteries were also known for their hospitality, and what better way to welcome guests than to offer cups of beer to thirsty travelers and pilgrims.
Beer makes it to America
Native American Indians brewed their own alcohol but it wasn’t until the 1500s that colonization brought over the brewing techniques popular in Europe.
The first settlers arriving on The Mayflower docked at Plymouth because they ran out of beer. Finding none, they set about brewing their own with local corn or malted barley imported from England.
In 1632 the first brewery in the United States was built by the Dutch West India Company in Lower Manhattan. Another 132 breweries were in production by 1810.
During the nineteenth century, over one million German immigrants arrived in the US and brought with them new ways of brewing and the yeast needed to create lager.
Steam beer was the first original American beer created in the San Francisco area during the 19th century. It was made without refrigeration and used lager yeast making it a cheap and popular beer.
Prohibition in 1919 brought beer production to a crashing halt until 1933. Just two years later new technology meant beer could be produced in cans. Not widely accepted to begin with, it wasn’t until 1954 when the Coors Brewing Company created the first aluminum beer can that it became popular.
Today there are over 4,000 breweries in the US with many people also home-brewing. Beer festivals are held across the world and this humble brew that has its origins in Egypt now has many varieties including lager, stout, bock, and malt.
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