Sunday, December 29, 2013

Now you can taste beers from thousands of years ago

Humans have always known to do two things: war and drinking alcohol.

From war there are many historical records throughout history, with quarrels and vendettas that are still going today, but the historic records of alcohol are less well known.

Our palate has been used to certain flavors from our drinks, which are very different from the ones our ancestors enjoyed.

And if we are talking about alcohol, we have to talk about beer.

Drinks 7,000 BC

So far, the oldest archeological finding of beer occurred in China or at least the closest thing to beer as we know it.

This fermented drink dates shortly after humans started the transition from hunters to farmers, around 7,000 BC.

The few remains were discovered in some pots in a reservoir which contained barely enough material to label it as something similar to beer.

Scandinavia is an area that has been linked to the consumption of beer with a tradition that goes beyond the 1,200 BC, however back then; beer was quite different, made from fermented yarrow and blueberries among other vegetables.

This recipe is now being used in drinks today, looking for a different flavor, more like the one we had thousands of years ago.

Current beers have a tradition of only 500 years when the Germans began a crusade for the "purity" of beer.

It started with the Reinheitsgebot or purity law established by William IV of Bavaria in 1516. The purpose was to make beer with barley alone and not with other cereals that were necessary to make bread so the price of bread would not increase.

This law only allowed making beer ​​with barley, hops and yeast. It is a popular belief that these are the ingredients used in the beers we drink today, but is not necessarily true.

The amount of hops and barley malt has been reduced to a minimum. They have been replaced with corn which is cheaper and has a similar contribution of sugars.

Nowadays, instead of adding hops, beer is pasteurized and micro-filtered so it can be preserved longer, leading to a yellow alcoholic beverage with gas that we call beer, but that has little to do with the beer that was made in Germany in 1516, which in time had little to do with the beers made by the Etruscans, Sumerians, Egyptians, etc.

Some of the beers that emulate the ancient ales as Sam Calagione refers to them, the head master brewer of Dogfish are the Midas Touch with juice of Muscat grapes, honey and saffron; and Birra Etruscan del borgo with honey and aged in amphoras of terracotta..

Watch this to learn about the Midas Touch

Watch this to learn about the Birra Etruscan

If you know some other similar beers, please share your comments.

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