The History of Beer: From Ancient Times to Modern Day

Beer has been around for thousands of years, with evidence of its production dating back to the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia in the Middle East. In the 13th century AD, beer began to be commercially produced in Germany, England and Austria. The Chinese were also brewing beer around 7000 BC, known as kui. In the West, however, the process now recognized as brewing began in Mesopotamia, in the settlement of Godin Tepe, now in present-day Iran, between 3500 and 3100 BC.

Evidence of beer brewing has been confirmed between these dates, but it is likely that brewing in Sumer (southern Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq) was in practice much earlier. The first chemically confirmed barley beer was brewed in Godin Tepe, in the Zagros Mountains of central Iran, between 3500 and 3100 BC. The Syrian priestesses of the ancient city of Elba also produced a range of beers dating back to 2500 BC, including those made for religious ceremonies. Scientists have examined ancient ceramics by chemical tests that reveal that beer dates back 7,000 years.

This doesn't necessarily mean that beer was invented then, but it's the oldest evidence we have to go on. Today, a dozen Trappist monasteries still produce beer, including the oldest established at the end of the 16th century. Wheat beer is brewed with a large proportion of wheat, although it often also contains a significant proportion of malted barley. Beer contains phenolic acids 4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid, vanillic acid, caffeic acid, syringic acid, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid and sinapic acid. The earliest archaeological evidence of fermentation consists of 13,000-year-old residues of a beer with the consistency of a mush used by semi-nomadic Natufians for ritual banquets in the Raqefet cave in the Carmel Mountains near Haifa in Israel. Along with the newly invented automatic bottling and cooling processes, breweries and beer grew tremendously all over the world.

The monks started selling their beer in some kind of medieval pubs over time under the name of their patron saint. Trade, technology and advertising converged to produce modern mass-market American beer - a technically impressive product with far less flavor than its ancestors. These tribes unlike the Romans were mostly illiterate but they were quite competent in brewing beer. Beer was healthy pleasantly mood-altering and full of nutrients and calories and to get it people created a stable agriculture. During the Middle Ages there was gruit - a mixture of strongly flavored herbs that could be added to beer as a mandatory ingredient before Reinheitsgebot imposed restrictions on the ingredients that could be used including hops water barley and yeast. A 3 900-year-old Sumerian poem honoring Ninkasi the patron goddess of brewing contains the oldest surviving beer recipe describing the production of beer from bread made from barley. The flavoring in beer used to be a mixture of herbs called gruit but in some areas hops were also used. Ice was dragged into tunnels cut by hand from frozen lakes in winter to keep the beer cold all year round. Essentially Bavarian beer styles were soon brewed from Brazil to Tanzania sweeping the beers from most of the world map. In early forms of English and in Scandinavian languages the usual word for beer was the word whose form in modern English is ale.