Dear Readers: We are going to have a great show this week. In honor of the upcoming Father’s Day, we are going to talk about beer with fellow SLOB and Coors Beer “masculinity expert” Barry Jacobsen and Vice President/Brew Master of the Manzanita Brewing Company, Garry Pitman. (Click HERE for link to show, this Thursday, June 13, 7 pm PST/9 pm Central/10 pm EST).
Of course, you can’t talk about the “History of Beer” without discussing ancient Egypt.
In ancient times beer was cloudy and unfiltered. The “drinking straws” were used to avoid getting the brewing residue, which was very bitter, in the mouth. Beer from Babylon was exported and distributed as far away as Egypt. Hammurabi, an important Babylonian King, decreed the oldest known collection of laws. One of these laws established a daily beer ration. This ration was dependent on the social standing of the individual, a normal worker received 2 liters, civil servants 3 liters, administrators and high priests 5 liters per day. In these ancient times beer was often not sold, but used as barter.
The Egyptians carried on the tradition of beer brewing. They also used unbaked bread dough for making beer and added dates to the brew to improve the taste. The importance of beer brewing in ancient Egypt can be seen from the fact that the scribes created an extra hieroglyph for “brewer”.
A little bit more:
For extra fun, we can talk about the chemistry behind ancient beer. It seems that some savvy scientists have been reverse-engineering the ancient recipes:
Thousands of years before Germany laid down its beer law, humans in every great civilization were experimenting with booze and letting their inebriated imaginations soar. These long-forgotten brewmasters were the original artisanal microbrewers, combining whatever ingredients they found around them into concoctions that don’t easily fit into today’s classifications for potent potables.
“There wasn’t beer, there wasn’t wine, there wasn’t mead. Every beverage was a hybrid,” says Sam Calagione, founder of the Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware.
For the last dozen-plus years, Calagione and biomolecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum have been using chemical and plant residues found in ancient archaeological sites to rediscover the recipes of ancient booze. Some of those recipes have become special-edition beers by Dogfish Head, which attendees sampled while Calagione and McGovern talked science at “Cheers to Science,” a Thursday night event at the 2013 World Science Festival.
In the meantime, here is an ancient Egyptian ale recipe that may amuse:
Now, for a little American history, I leave you with the following quote from Founding Father Benjamin Franklin: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”