The Early History of Beer
The history of beer has much to do with chance or luck. Its discovery, a happy accident, has been pleasing crowds for millennia. We can thank some early Sumerians, in Mesopotamia, for being sloppy and leaving their bread out in the rain. Add a little post rain warm weather and some wild yeast and low and behold we had fermentation and the earliest beer.
Mesopotamia would later become the Babylonian empire, but despite the change in culture, beer continued to be the “divine drink”. The Babylonians took the art of making beer to new levels, creating as many as 20 different recipes for making different styles of beer – our first brewmasters!
It has been said that the earliest beers and the later discovery of wine were both so loved that they convinced humans to give up their rugged nomadic ways in flavour of a more cultured agricultural existence.
And don’t let the Roman Empire’s title for wine as the drink of gods fool you, beer was also consumed and highly favoured in this era too. In fact, in outlying regions to the north where growing grapes proved to be a challenge, beer was the drink of the populous. Perhaps the popularity of beer in these barbarian outposts was an early indication of beer’s marketability as a rugged man’s drink.
The appeal of beer in the ancient world wasn’t limited to Mesopotamia, for the Egyptians were very fond of transforming unbaked bread dough into a spirited beverage that continues to be made the same way today. Across the globe, beer-like fermented beverages were developing in all corners of the planet. There was Chang, a Tibetan form of beer, and Chicha, an ancient brew made from corn originated in South America. There was even an Aztec beer made from cocoa. Perhaps it was an early predecessor of Stout?
Thousands of years later, beer continues to be a global drink, made and enjoyed in almost every country of the world.