Beer Through the Ages

Beer has been around for thousands of years. How was it discovered? Likely it was accidental with natural fermentation happening from yeast in the air.

While it’s difficult to note the exact time or date it was discovered, there is proof that the Mesopotamians consumed beer, leaving behind sticky residues in their pottery remains from 3400 B.C. And their 1800 B.C. “Hymn to Ninkasi” notes “Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat. It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.” Didn’t think anyone worshipped beer as much as you, huh? History hurts. Just remember, beer was a safer option than their contaminated waters. You might have loved it even more then, too.

Next we move on to the ancient Egyptians, who treasured their beer just as much. Everyone from pharaohs to children drank beer as part of their everyday diet. They sweetened and flavored their beer with unique additives such as dates, mandrake and olive oil, and were often paid for a day’s work in libations. This way they could sip away each night, forgetting the fact they received no money for building those pyramids….but I digress.

The Greeks and Romans also loved their brews, but beer gained competition in these areas as wine became more popular. Wine was considered ambrosia and was gifted to men from the gods — you can’t compete with that. Thus the Romans grew to consider beer to be the number one drink of Barbarians. Ugh-ugh. Drink beer and carry a big stick.

Many years later, you’ll never guess who jumped in — the Catholic Church. In between prayer sessions those abbeys refined brewing methods. Many religions used profits from beer sales to keep their organizations afloat financially. It was still widely believed that brews were gifts from the gods. While you still may say that on a wild Friday night, the idea did change in the 19th century as alcoholism became so rampant. Buzz kill.

The Germans took off with more mass brewing in the 13th century with the addition of hops. This spread quickly and greatly improved the quality of the brews. In 15th century England, beer without hops was known as ale, and the absence of hops qualified it as beer.  Thus the distinctions began.

Today’s breweries offer a wealth of beer varieties from lagers, stouts and wheat beers to pale ales, cream ales and more. Globally, the brewing industry is a ginormous business, with breweries in the U.S. alone seemingly around every corner. With advances in refrigeration, shipping, e-commerce and more, consumers now have the taps of the world at their fingertips. The 21st century truly is a beer lover’s paradise.

Come on down to The Pour House to try some of these varieties for yourself! We think you’ll agree our brews are “heavenly.”