How long have we been brewing beer?

Beer is the oldest fermented beverage in the world. Its prehistory begins 13,000 years ago in the Near East, in what will become the Fertile Crescent ...

What do we brew beer with?

With hops? No, the raw material of beer is starch. Where do we get it? Humans have brewed their beer with all the starch-rich plants they had on hand: barley and wheat of course, but also rice, millet, sorghum, maize, manioc, sago, carob, taro, yam, and many other plants ...

Was beer invented to intoxicate our ancestors?

Most likely, though unverifiable. Only genetics and observation of higher primates can tell us. Humans inherited, along with their primate cousins, an ability to metabolize ethanol. Not all animal species do. Moreover, their environment was brimming with fruits, grains and honey. All were part of their seasonal and omnivorous diets. Beer is derived from a common core of hybrid fermented beverages. They were at the same time beer, mead and wine since they were brewed with a mix of crushed (chewed?) grains, roots, fruits, honey and herbs. Beer was truly born when human groups specialised their food sources, their subsistence techniques and their cooking, becoming farmers or horticulturists, or herders while others chose to stay hunters and foragers ...

Is beer healthier than water?

Yes, historically for human societies living clustered in the earliest cities. When excavating ancient urban sites, archaeologists discover sewage pipes and drainage systems. Where there were human concentrations and cohabitation with animals, the quality of drinking water was poor. Beer was comparatively healthy.The cooking of the wort (an optional step depending on the technical drawing or the type of beer) and the fermentation ensured a certain hygiene and a barrier against dangerous microorganisms ...

How is beer brewed?

You think there's only one way to brew beer? There are 6 different technical methods to make it. The best known in westerner countries is malting based on the germination of cereal grains to make malt. The most widespread in the world is the Asian method. For thousands of years it has used the ability of certain fungi to hydrolyse starch and convert it into sugars that yeasts or these same fungi convert into alcohol. This is how Japanese sake, Chinese jiu, Korean makgeolli and many other kinds of tradtional beers are brewed in Asia. The oldest method, still used in certain world areas, uses saliva and its amylase (ptyalin) to convert starch into fermentable sugars. Another method, this time from Africa, finds the starch hydrolysis powers in certain roots. The 5th method takes the acid pathway. A sour infusion will equally hydrolyse the starch. The 6th method works by over-ripening starch-rich fruits such as plantains ...

In ancient times, beer could not be stored.

Beer had to be drunk within 2 to 3 days after brewing. This is true of western, African or Amerindian beers brewed by fermentation of a wort, a liquid medium so, with or without cooking. As soon as the temperature is around 20-30°C, the beer will slowly but surely acidify. This is not true of Asian beers as long as the barely moist mass of fermented grains is not mixed with water and remains enclosed in a jar. ...

Beer is brewed only with barley malt, hops and water. Not so sure !

Humans brewed their beer with all the starchy plants they had on hand: barley and wheat of course, but also rice, millet, sorghum, corn, cassava, sago, carob, taro, yam, and many others ...

The beer is brewed with hops.

Hops, it's the brewer's vine. A poetic but false imagery. Hops are not the basic ingredient of modern or ancient beers. This aromatic plant was only introduced in brewing around the 9th century in Europe. Before the hops, brewers used other aromatic plants, some with antiseptic properties. Hops bring bitterness and antiseptic substances. Starch is the fundamental ingredient. ...

Did women brew beer before men made it?

Women brewed beer before men made brewing a male occupation. Wrong. In ancient times, in Mesopotamia or Egypt, which are often cited as examples, both men and women worked in breweries. The cuneiform tablets testify to this, as do the Egyptian funerary models. There were many tasks in a brewery: germinating the grains, grinding them, crushing the malt, kneading the dough, heating the pots, filtering, supervising fermentation, filling the jars, etc. Women and men worked there as a team for the great institutions of the time (palace, temple, royal burial sites). There were also a brewing on a domestic scale and one focused on the beer trade (inn, tavern). Women owned some of these tavern-inns, but there is no evidence that they brewed beer themselves. In these societies where slavery was a standard, manual labour was performed by male or female slaves. Brewing beer was not a specifically female activity. It has been advocated that beer was a female affair, drawn too quickly upon the myths and gender of the Mesopotamian or Egyptian deities (Ninkasi, Ishtar, Sekhmet), confusing social reality with symbolic representation. As for the European Middle Ages, the situation is also contrasted ...