Beerginner: Where did beer come from? Plus, Ales!

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Beerginner: Where did beer come from? Plus, Ales!

Hey there, you came back!  I'm excited I have piqued your interest and you want to learn more about beer. Today's lesson may get a little bit history heavy and a teeny bit science-y but stay with me on this, I will make it fun and easy.

Like all good stories, beer history is a bit cloudy and very old. One guy will say it was him and someone else will come around and say no it was me and well you know how this always works out.

In a nutshell, thousands of years ago (around 4300 BC) some man/woman/person added water to barley and forgot about it. Then some guy (cause ladies would we really do this?) took a sip and realized something amazing had just happened. A Sumerian poem from 3900 BC honouring Ninkasi, the patron goddess of brewing, contains one of the first known recipes for beer and also reminds us that women played an early and important role in beer making. Many other ancient civilizations used and developed beer for currency, medicine, religious ceremonies and of course general consumption; because it just tasted delicious.

Once the idea around beer was planted, it's evolution into what we drink now took off. It was the Middle Ages and the beginning of monastic brewing where beer making really started to become a craft. Believing that you should be self-supported, monks began developing their own recipes and only profited by the sales of their brew to help run their self-contained communities. At this time, Germany, Belgium and England began experimenting and creating different styles based around readily available ingredients and fine-tuning their methods to create the first Bocks, Lagers, Pilsners and Ales. See below for a look at Ales!

We can thank European settlers and explorers for bring beer to North America. Not willing to leave their beloved beverage at home, many brought ingredients, practiced techniques and recipes with them to the New World. Beer was safer to drink than any untested water source and helped prevent many diseases that could decimate whole fleets of settlers. It was proven to be the safest beverage to drink at that time.

Time and progress brought us the Industrial Age and with it technologies to further improve the quality of beer that was consumed as well as the speed and quantity at which it was produced. With such a long and storied history I can only imagine the future this industry will have.

Now that you have the Coles Notes version of where beer came from (you are welcome) are you wondering what beer really is? That is coming up next….





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