The Best History Is Beer History!
Beer is pretty much as old as human civilization. Really. We've been brewing it for at least seven thousand years, with traces found right alongside just about every major early civilization we know about,
Many believe that beer was one of the things that convinced our tribal, hunter-gatherer, and oh-so-thirsty ancient ancestors to stop wandering the deserts and settle down someplace. Beer,has been a vital part of nearly every human society, and has been used in many different ways over the years.
So, in honor of the world's greatest (and oldest) beverage, here's some highlights in the grand history of BEER.
Beer: Bringer of Civilization
The first beers were likely discovered by accident, by early peoples who'd settled down to farm. Grow the right grains, have them stored in vessels that aren't exactly watertight, with some wild-growing yeast that happens to be floating around. Add the heat of the Mediterranean, and BAM, you've got early beer.
So it didn't take them long to figure out how to refine the process, and it was quickly adopted into all the great swinging civilizations of the Ancient World: Sumeria, Babylonia, Egypt, China, Inca, and more.
Beer was frequently used in religious ceremonies, unsurprisingly enough, far before Christian monks discovered it. The Mesopotamians even had a Goddess devoted to beer! Well, to be specific, alcohol and procreation. She even got her own hymn, which doubled as a convenient brewer's guide for the ambitious Mesopotamian hipster.
So pour one out for old Ninkasi.
Beer: Maker of Markets
(and market regulation...)
Once cash-crazed Europe started getting in on the brewing game in the Middle Ages, beer quickly became a top commodity - especially in areas too far north for wineries.
It was the Europeans who first started adding hops, somewhere around 800-900CE. They weren't just for flavor - they were the preservative! Suddenly beer-making went out of the home and into barrels for export. By 1200, it had become serious Big Business.
Kings were handing out Royal Charters to local breweries giving exclusive rights, and brewing guilds started popping up soon after. In the early 1500s, German brewmeisters were already lobbying their local governments for official regulations on ingredients!
Beer: Sustainer of Life
Of course, most know that the Monks of the Middle Ages were really big on beer. It was one of their top "exports" throughout this time, selling to local towns and pubs, and one of the things that kept their monasteries running.
What a lot of people don't know is that their love of beer was really about cheating on their vows of fasting. The Monks only vowed not to EAT, ya see, so they brewed up extra-dark beers specifically for their high grain content. They just drank their way through their vows, an experience that's still familiar to many beer-drinkers.
So next time you hoist a super-dark stout, thank of all those cheating Monks who helped make it possible.
Beer: The Future of Hair
Today, beer is increasingly recognized for its numerous health benefits and wide range of uses, from cooking to personal grooming. It turns out that beer is really, really ridiculously great for hair, since it's chock full of the exact same vitamins and minerals that go into your hair.
Plus, the yeast in beer is a great natural cleanser and antibacterial agent. It's been used for millennia as a cure for acne and other skin problems, making it perfect for preventing dandruff.
And whether you're hoisting a cold one, or washing Duffy's Brew from your now-extra-amazing hair, you're adding your own flourish to the development of human civilization itself!