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A Short History of Beer

11th Jun 2015

Beer history is ancient and intricately woven within the fabric of civilisation. Charting beer’s history is an undertaking of herculean proportions. Fortunately there are a number of beer historians who have dedicated their lives to this pursuit.

According to some of these historians beer may have played an essential role in the adoption of agriculture, paving the way for the emergence of civilisation.

The fundamental question -- what caused us to stop our nomadic, hunter gather ways of the past 7 million years or so and suddenly put down roots and become farmers?

There are multiple theories but this is our favourite to date...

"Once beer was discovered and its consumption had become socially and ritually important, there was greater desire to ensure the availability of grain by deliberate farming, rather than relying on wild grains. Farming was, according to this view, adopted partly in order to maintain the supply of beer.”

"Such a beer would have had relatively low alcohol content by modern standards, but would have been rich in suspended yeast, which dramatically improved its vitamin

and protein content. The high level of Vitamin B in particular, would have compensated for the decline in the consumption of meat, as hunting gave way to farming.”

"Since it was made using boiled water, beer was safer to drink than water, which quickly became contaminated with human waste in even the smallest settlements... beer helped to make up for the decline in food quality as people took up farming, providing a safe form of liquid nourishment and gave groups of beer-drinking farmers a comparative nutritional advantage over non beer drinkers.”

There were other contributing factors and this view is supposedly controversial. It is though our favourite, so we are sticking with it!