With summer gearing up, billions of people around the world are undoubtedly turning to a frosty, refreshing mug of beer. Not only is beer popular today, but it also has historical significance. Since its invention in ancient times, beer has been a favourite drink around the world.
It's possible that the first beer - as we know it - was invented by accident, as it only takes a certain kind of grain and some moisture to encourage fermentation. However, the earliest recorded beer in history belongs to the Sumerian people. A Sumerian seal believed to be from the 18th century BCE was found which contained a Hymn to Ninkasi, the goddess of brewing. It also displayed a pictograph showing the breaking of bread which was then crumbled into water to form a mash. This mash was made into a drink which caused people to feel, "exhilarated, wonderful and blissful."
The ancient Babylonians, whose culture arose from the Sumerians, improved upon this invention and brewed 20 different kinds of beer. In this period of history, beer was quite different from the way we know it today. It was unfiltered and had a cloudy appearance. People used straws to drink this ancient beer to avoid tasting the bitter brewing residue. Beer was rationed according to a person's social standing - those high in society such as high priests, were allotted five litres of beer per day.
Eventually, beer became a staple of people's lives. Often safer than water, this invention was the drink of choice. Workers were often paid in beer instead of money. By the 12th century, brewers were adding all kind of ingredients into their beers, such as oak bark, aniseed, pine roots and juniper berries.
Hops Beer history was made in 1516 when the German Beer Purity Law was passed by the Duke of Bavaria. This law ensured beer was only brewed using pure water, barley and hops. This is the invention of the same kind of beer we drink today. This law stuck around until 1988 when it was replaced with European Union rules. Brewing research in the 19th century improved the fermentation process led to a cleaner drink.
Some other milestones in the history of beer include the invention of the beer can in 1935, and the invention of the metal keg, which replaced wooden barrels in 1964.
Though there are many kinds of fermented drinks similar to beer, such as corn beer, the kind that we drink today is a summer favourite - arguably an "any time favourite" - all across the globe.
History of Beer Sources:
Alaska Science Forum
Birmingham Beverage Company