The History of Beer and Wine into the Modern Era

In the beginning was the beer! Researchers are even assuming today that beer has made people sedentary. The sedentary nature of the Stone Age began about 10,000 years ago. Until then, he had been a hunter-gatherer and had searched the caves in the night. But then something happened. There was a transformation that was so profound that it was a Neolithic revolution.

Man no longer moved from cave to cave. He sought a piece of land, built a hut, and began to cultivate corn. For a long time, the man had grown grain because he wanted to make bread from it. Baking is such a complex process that it got developed with certainty only later.

Before the man could bake, he took the grain and brewed beer! This happened by chance. Grains got kept in some water under the heat of the sun. As the temperature of the water rose, the grain germinated. Scientists can argue about what was first, bread or beer. During the Bronze Age, when the first settlements arose, man had finally learned both to bake and brew.



The beer of the Sumerians


The first settlements of the Bronze Age originated in a region of the fertile crescent. It begins in the west of Egypt and stretches along the Arabian Peninsula almost to the Black Sea. Between Euphrates and Tigris in Mesopotamia, Sumerians built cities 10,000 years ago.

They loved beer, and today one knows that the Sumerians knew different beer varieties. They wrote a piece of praise for the beer that they dedicated to their goddess Ninkasi. It is you who make the malt spring up in a jug, the waves rise, the waves fall.

The earliest written evidence for Beer comes from the Mesopotamian city of Uruk. The Sumerians had recorded important economic figures on small clay tablets. Scientists were able to calculate the quantity of barley and malt for a certain amount of beer. They baked a kind of bread from the fermented grain. Then they blended it with herbs and put it in water to create beer. To this, they boiled the mass in large pots.

Sumerians dried the fermented grain in the sun and produce their beer from barley and wheat.



The ancient Egyptians loved their beer


Egyptians brewed beer around 3500 BC. The archaeologists discovered remnants of ancient ceramic tubs in the caves. The Egyptians with the neighboring Sumerians discovered their love for the beer.

Some people were already quenching the thirst. At certain festivals, where things got sacrificed to gods, it was even a duty to drink until they fell. This was part of the ritual.

Wealthy citizens ensured that two slaves accompanied them on their way home. For this purpose, they germinated barley grains. They got crushed and ground on a grindstone. The brewers blended them with normal wheat flour.

There was a dough from which they baked bread. The bread got crumbled again, mixed with fermented dates and mixed with water. Thanks to the dates, the mush began to ferment. Then the ancient Egyptians left everything long enough, seethed everything, and had the beer. Egyptians adhered to the technique of cold brewing.

Beer got kept in jugs alongside the dead in the graves. By the way, the hieroglyphs for a meal were the two signs of beer and bread. Beer and bread were the synonyms for food.



Beer or wine? A big question in Rome and Athens


With the Greeks and Romans, the wine entered the history. They also discovered beer as an important food. Both in Rome and in Athens Beer was self-brewed. Romans specialized in importing exotic beers, which they stored in the cool cellars. Since Romans were gourmets, they got the beer from all the world.

Rich Romans had not only Egyptian but also Celtic and Germanic beer from the far north in the cellars. Julius Caesar drank Celtic beer for the first time during his Gaul campaign. Because it tasted so good to him, Celtic beer was even a fashion drink among chic Romans.

The ancient Greeks usually brewed themselves! The beer was the drink of the poor, while the wealthy aristocrats preferred to drink wine. For the Greeks beer was something the Egyptians and the poor people drank. The poet Aeschylus only called the Egyptians the people who drink barley wine. Those who do not know the beer, do not know what is good, is the title in cuneiform texts from Mesopotamia.

In antiquity, alcohol was an inscrutable phenomenon in which some felt closer to the gods. For this reason, alcohol and worship were common throughout antiquity. Whoever sacrificed to the gods also had to drink! This was the case for the ancient Egyptians, as well as for the Romans, Celts, and Germans. All cultures also had a God who was responsible for alcohol.



Beer from the barrel - the Celts have invented it!


Even in the far north and in Central Europe, brewing beer became very important in the Bronze Age. In the Celtic settlements, scientists researched six pits of carbonated barley grains. The archeologists were able to reconstruct the beer recipe of the Celts from the finds.

They had germinated barley with water in the mines. They then ignited a fire on the pit edge, so that the barley could dry. The Celts had not yet known hops, but they added bilberries, wormwood, and carrot seeds to their drink. During the brewing process, honey was also added to the liquid. The Celtic beer must have been very spicy and sweet. It is probable that in their work with the grain the Celts have even developed the malt, as we know it today.

After the Celtic territories got conquered by the Romans, beer lost its importance. It became the drink of everyday life and the poor people. The drink of the upper class was wine. The middle class drank wheat beer with honey, but most drank a simple beer called Curma. They used a mug together, drink in small sips, no more than a mouthful.

Curma got brewed from barley, while the beer of the middle class was from wheat called Cervesia. Whether Curma or Cervesia, it is clear that the Celts kept their beer in barrels. The Romans found this idea so good that they took it over and the wine barrel was born shortly thereafter.

The fermentation process was mysterious. The old Teutons spit in the beer, who made beer from grain. They did not know that the honey they mixed in contained traces of yeast. The Teutons drank from morning to night. They could endure hunger and cold, but not thirst.

The Scandinavian countries had to fight for their bread and their beer. The cultivation of grain was not easy in the lands covered with virgin forests. They also developed a very specific method for the production of malt. They avoided the complicated technique in which bread got baked. They brewed their beer with great enthusiasm, which was of burnt grain and honey.

Then the first temples emerged and the priests got the right to the first harvest. This included beer. The barrels that got delivered to the temples were usually filled with rather thin beer. The priests began to brew their own beer to which they were very devoted. It is a fact that every priest drank five liters of beer a day.

In the Middle Ages, temples were the centers of research and knowledge. They also had the brilliant idea to use hops instead of barley. Hops made the beer more bitter, but also more durable. Hop is a plant that came from the East to Central Europe. Its original home is in the northern Himalayas. The route of the Hop to Europe is still full of myths and unanswered questions.

The priests offered their beer for sale and made a flourishing business from it. One temple after another received the license. In the Middle Ages came the first cities, which brewed their own beer apart from the temples. Since there were complaints about bad beer, beer rules were set up in the cities for the first time.

A beer maker who makes bad beer got punished. It was not about the purity of the beer, but about avoiding famine. Around the same time, Europe also got its first court breweries. The princes no longer wanted to depend on cities or temples.

Some cities experienced their golden age. They produced city beer and special export beer. Some of the towns became regular trading centers for beer. Later wars struck a trail in history. The old infrastructure and the so far known social fabric were no longer valid. Civil breweries and farm breweries later experienced an upswing. Many temple breweries never recovered from this war.



The Ladies Beer


The beer got brewed by women in the Middle Ages. Those who could not afford beer from the temples brewed together in the kitchen. The wife of the house was responsible for this. A pot of Beer was a dowry in many parts of Europe. Women also celebrated alcohol-rich brewing parties.

Beer - From Europe to India and China


As in Central Europe, beer brewing was in Great Britain at the time of the Celts. The dark ale got exported to the New World in the 17th century despite all difficulties. Soon the women on the other side of the Atlantic began to take matters into their own hands. Even in American cities and the often far-off farms, the families produced their own beer.

Beer Brewing had long been a matter of luck. In the 18th century, only two of the ten brewing experiments were successful. At the end of the 18th century the French explorer Lavoisier finally found the yeast.

It was not until the 19th century that English beer brewers succeeded in developing a beer. It was so durable that it could get transported to India. It contained abundant hops and got the name India Pale Ale. It was so strong that in India it got thinned again with double the amount of water to drink it.

Beer Brewing in the USA


Since the carriage of beer was difficult, it did not take long for the colonies to get their own breweries. In Manhattan, the first brewery got opened in the early 17th century. Until the prohibition after the World War I, there were about 4500 breweries. Beer in the bottle had already prevailed in the USA in the 19th century.

At the beginning of the 19th century, beer was one of the most important beverages ever. It replaced water for a long time in many areas. It was, quite clear that a life with beer was a little safer. Even the prisoners got the beer every day.



The popular bottom fermented beer


In the course of the 19th century, the established breweries expanded. The first effects of the emerging industrialization were noticeable. Malt could now get dried, for example, in large plants using steam engines. But the yeast was still a painkiller as their behavior was unpredictable. The fermentation process takes longer but the beer is also more durable.

The Bohemians used different hops, and they roasted their malt brighter. The Pilsner beer was born! But even in Pilsen, dealing with the yeast was still a sensation despite this success. The good old yeast also plays an important role in these trends. New yeast breeds give the beers new flavors. Thanks to yeast innovations, beer can taste like a carnation or honey. Especially the new Craft beer breweries have discovered this trend for themselves. They are happy to experiment with all the possibilities offered by the yeast.

New and unusual directions are en vogue. Like coffee, modern beer is also offered today with unusual flavors. Most of the wooden barrels have disappeared and are now used only on special occasions. Modern beer rests in modern steel drums.

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