Beer would not be what it is today if it were not for its rich history that started many centuries ago. The changes that have been made along the way and the moments we have shared celebrating centuries of beer makes it a real world wide phenomenon. Words that are not to be taken lightly, especially once you realize what all it took to give us the beer we enjoy today.
First of all, can you imagine what it would have taken for beer to be invented? The brewing steps of today are quite sophisticated even though they can be simplified somewhat. We boil water with barley in it and then the malt sugars that are released from the boil are boiled with hops. This creates the wort where we then add our yeast. Then, we let it ferment in two different stages called the primary and the secondary.
With such a process, donít you think it would take some time and experimentation to develop a great tasting beer? How in the world did the first beer come into existence if it takes at least that much effort to make?
Plenty of people agree that they have no idea how the ancient Mesopotamians actually came by the first batch of beer. It most likely was by accident and I would consider that divine intervention. But, let me just take a guess at how beer might have been brought to us.
First of all, Iím going to begin with the fact that they didnít have refrigeration. But, it was easy to heat and cook food. So, part of the recipe is already in place when you might have someone making bread one day and part of the dough might have been placed to the side for later use. But, this time that dough left aside met with a slight change of atmosphere that could have included rainwater and sunlight among the many other possibilities that could have miraculously come together for this momentous occasion.
I would say the dough was used for cooking anyway since the Mesopotamians werenít aware of any FDA regulations or food preparation standards. So, it must have made for a very interesting evening meal when everyone who ate became intoxicated. Iím imagining a song and dance routine with a possible brawl and a late next day wakeup with the worldís first documented hangover.
From that moment, beer has been shared around the world. From the first brewery in Munich, Germany called Spaten-Franziskaner to the first American brewery in Manhattan by Adrian Block and Hans Christiansen, there have been plenty of breweries. The oldest American brewery still active today is in Pennsylvania brewing Yuengling. Itís been there since 1829 and itís not going anywhere any time soon.
To study the history of beer is really a study in how it is made. Each change in the brewing process teaches us more about how we can make even greater beer in the future. From Amber and Stout to Watermelon and Lime, there really are no limitations to the beers you can enjoy. Just donít send me a bottle when you come up with black licorice.