The History of Beer

Beer History

Beer is an alcoholic beverage that has been loved for thousands of years, and today holds the crown of being the third most popular drink in the world that’s second only to water and tea. Because of the status of beer, it’s only right that we should look back at the history of this most popular of drinks.

Beer has been around for thousands of years, with some records even suggesting that it dates back to 9,000 BC. At that time beer would have been brewed on a domestic scale and in many cases would have been used during religious festivals or rituals. All of the ancient cultures would have made beer from the Incas to the Ancient Egyptians, and their unique ways of passing down the beer recipe, for example in hymns, meant that the production of beer continued throughout history.

The earliest chemical evidence of beer production dates back to some 3,500 BC, and it’s suggested these early beers would have been markedly different to the beer that we drink today. Evidence of the beer drunk in Europe suggests that as well as starch, the beer recipe would have been made up of honey, plants, spices and even narcotic drugs. There was also a notable absence of hops in the beer of the time, with hops only being added to beer production in Europe around the year 800 AD.

Beer was once thought to be a food staple thanks to the main composition of beer being carbohydrate. At that time, beer was actually safer to drink than water because of the various diseases contained in early water systems, so it wasn’t uncommon for people, even children, to drink more beer than anything else.

Up until the time of the Industrial Revolution beer would have been produced for domestic use, with the only time it was sold being in European monasteries. However, the Revolution saw beer brewing and production on a much larger scale, and home beer brewing began to decline by the end of the 19th Century.

Since then, beer production has gone from strength to strength with new technologies allowing us to have more control over the beer brewing process than ever before. The beer brewing industry is now global, with beer being made and imported all over the world and with more types and varieties of beer than ever.

As you can see, beer has a long and varied history from being used for ancient rituals, through to the time of beer being the main beverage and right up until today, when beer is just as popular as ever.

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1 Smegs May 20, 2010 at 10:23 am

you should put in about the different cultures that produced beer, and more detail about how beer was a way of life for a lot of middle class people in medieval times…thats 2 cents anyway

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