The Story Of Beer Through The Ages
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Have you ever paused to think about the history of the world's most popular fermented beverage while drinking a pint of craft beer? Here are the beginnings of beer, from its earliest records to the present day, so that the next time you crack open a cold one, you'll have a better grasp of its history.

Many people identify beer's birthplace with the well-known German drinking culture. True, modern beer types were primarily established in Europe (especially in Germany). Beer, however, was first drunk in ancient Mesopotamia, according to a study. Despite the fact that the Germans adore their beer, it did not originate there. Beer brewing may have occurred at the Godin Tepe town (now in modern-day Iran) as early as 10,000 BCE when agriculture first evolved in the region. Beer was an important element of the diet of the people who lived between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. It was termed "the divine drink" because of its intoxicating effect.

The Babylonians

The people of Babylon, the great city of Mesopotamia, were the next civilization known for beer consumption. Around 3,000 BCE, the Babylonians produced over 20 different types of beer. Beer was also revered as a divine gift from the Gods in Babylon. It was also regarded as a symbol of riches.

The ancient Babylonian set of legislation known as the Code of Hammurabi required inhabitants to have a daily beer allotment. Depending on his or her income, every citizen had his or her daily dose of beer. People were occasionally compensated in beer instead of money since the drink was so revered. Because there was no means to filter beer back then, their beer was thick (like porridge) and difficult to drink. To avoid this issue, ancient Babylonians were the first to drink through straws.

The Egyptians

Although the Sumerians and Babylonians both revered beer, no culture enjoyed it as much as the ancient Egyptians did circa 1500 BCE. Tenenit was the Egyptian goddess of beer. Her name is derived from ‘tenemu’, which is one of the numerous Egyptian words for beer. Egyptians were outstanding brewers who were continuously working on improving the taste of beer so that it was less bitter and tasted better.

‘Heqet’ was Egypt's most popular beer (or Hecht). This was a honey-flavoured beverage, and the word for beer in their language was ‘zytum’. Beer was frequently employed as a kind of work recompense across Egypt. Those on the Giza plateau were given beer rations three times a day, and workers on the Nile were frequently paid in beer.

Ancient Greece and Rome

How did beer make its way to Europe and become popular across the continent? Thanks to the Greeks and the Romans. Beer brewing techniques made their way from Egypt to Greece (since the Greek term for beer, ‘zythos’, derives from the Egyptian term ‘zytum’), although they were not a big hit straight away. Wine was so popular at the time that it was considered a divine gift, while beer was consumed by the lower classes.

The Middle Ages

Then there were the Middle Ages. During this time, beer was primarily made in monasteries throughout Europe. Beer, with its high nutritional content, was an ideal beverage for monks during fasting periods. Since monks enjoyed the alcoholic drink, they consumed up to five litres of beer every day at some monasteries. The monks were able to survive the Dark Ages because of their beer production, which provided them with enough money to live on.

The Renaissance Period

Beer production saw a "renaissance," which means "rebirth”, during the Renaissance period. The German Reinheitsgebot (Beer Purity Law) was issued in 1516. Beer could only contain water, barley, and hops under the German legislation. People like Louis Pasteur realised the usefulness of yeast in the mid-1800s, and it was added to the "authorised" ingredient list.

The Reinheitsgebot was the world's first consumer protection law, governing the substances that might legally be used in the production of beer. It also ensured a certain amount of purity in German-made beer, giving it the perception of being safe to consume. The Germans, like their forefathers, instituted a daily beer ration and regarded beer as a necessary element of their diet.

The Modern Era

Breweries sprouted up one after the other in North America's colonies during the modern era. New Amsterdam had the first brewery in the New Continent (which will later become New York City). Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were beer brewers. George Washington even created a recipe for brewing beer.

Beer was widely known as the world's most popular alcoholic beverage in the nineteenth century. This time in modern history marks the beginning of the most significant developments in beer production, such as the use of yeast for fermentation.

The Prohibition

Prohibition began in Portland, Maine, in 1851, with the so-called Maine Law drafted by Neal Dow. The new law prohibited the manufacture and sale of all sorts of alcohol within the state. Other states quickly followed suit, and America was well on its path to complete alcohol abstinence.

When Prohibition went into place across the country in 1920, everyone who loved a great drink was suddenly branded a criminal. Of course, some people benefited from this, primarily mobsters and bootleggers who maintained clandestine breweries. Prohibition was repealed in 1933, but its impact was palpable.


Beer today

Today, we may count ourselves really fortunate. We live in an era where you can not only drink beer whenever you want but also where there is an enormous range of various beers to pick from. There are almost 9,000 breweries just in the United States, and they produce an infinite variety of beer styles and flavours.

We'll raise a glass to that!