One good thing about retirement – you don’t have to wait for the weekend to enjoy a nice beer! Beer is arguably the oldest beverage produced by man. Beer, or more accurately, ale, dates back to at least the fifth millennium BC. Production of Ale is recorded in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia writings. Production requires grain and sugars that can undergo spontaneous fermentation due to wild yeasts in the air, it is possible that beer-like beverages were independently developed throughout the world soon after a tribe or culture had domesticated cereal. Old pottery jars dug up reveal that beer was produced as far back as about 7,000 years ago in what is today Iran. In Mesopotamia, the oldest evidence of beer is believed to be a 6,000-year-old Sumerian tablet depicting people drinking a beverage through reed straws from a communal bowl. A 3900-year-old Sumerian poem honoring Ninkasi, the patron goddess of brewing, contains the oldest surviving beer recipe, describing the production of beer from barley via bread.
The invention of bread and beer has been argued to be responsible for humanity’s ability to develop technology and build civilization. The earliest chemically confirmed barley beer to date was discovered at Godin Tepe in the central Zagros Mountains of Iran, where fragments of a jug, at least 5,000 years old was found to be coated with beerstone, a by-product of the brewing process.
I began loving beer at home in Harrington Park, New Jersey as a young man, years before my parents retired to Florida, but it wasn’t until I began traveling to Belgium four
times a year back in the mid 1980’s and started sampling all the marvelous Trappist a beers that I began my beer fascination. Every trip home I would would bring one or two specially designed beer glasses home.
Today is National Drink a Beer day (who cares what day this is… have a beer anyway!). Please enjoy this History channel video on the making of beer.