Beer Origins

Posted by BeerMaven | Beer | Posted on August 14th

How do you picture the fathers of civilization? Do you picture a band of merry farmers who had just settled down from centuries of wandering the earth and living off of the fruits and animals that the land provided or do you picture a band of drunkards whose main source of nutrition was beer? Whatever you want to believe, the latter option may be more probable.

During the 1950’s a University of Chicago researcher and a University of Wisconsin botanist sparked a debate and although a symposium was created to debate the issue, a clear conclusion was never reached. The researcher had argued that the cultivation of bread was the principle invention that led to the cultivation of grain, which was responsible for the age of farming in which nomadic tribes began to finally settle down into their own territories. However, the botanist refuted the argument, claiming that the creation of bread before beer was highly unlikely and that bread was in fact, the result of the creation of beer.

Bread and beer require extremely similar ingredients as well as certain reactions that yeast is able to provide. However, the likelihood that bread would be created on accident was highly unlikely due to the need to bake it while beer can actually be produced in a complete natural environment by accident as long as the proper conditions are present. It is for this reason that the University of Wisconsin’s botanist believed that the creation of beer, and subsequent worship of beer gods and goddesses over the many millennia to follow were the result of the perfect combination of events.

When the nomads went out to gather grain, it was stored in containers that collected moisture that in turn, caused the grains to sprout and become malt they dried. All that was required for the creation of beer was for natural yeast to find its way into the container and for nature to do the rest. It is then assumed that a famine would have caused the nomads to drink the left over liquid in the containers out of desperation; only to find a beverage that was both healthy and intoxicating.

It is extremely likely that the creation of bread was a method of storing all of the ingredients required to make beer in a manner that kept them from going bad as quickly. Therefore, next time you hear beer referred to as liquid bread, you may want to ask yourself if bread is not just solid beer. And if this is so, I have to say that I prefer my bread liquefied in a glass.

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