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 The History of Beer


Beer (Ale) is the world's most widely consumed alcoholic beverage; and is the third-most popular drink overall, after water and tea (yes, even more than coffee).

It is also one of the oldest libations humans have ever produced, with hard-effidence showing its existence dating back to at least 5000 BC and having been recorded in the written history of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. More primitive forms most likely even predated these known occurrences most likely dating back to the early Neolithic age around 9500 BC when cereal (barley) was first farmed.

Many archaeologists, historians and anthropologists have asserted that beer was instrumental in the formation of civilizations often in areas with poor water quality. Ale, along with bread, was an important source of nutrition in the medieval world, particularly "small beer," also known as "table beer" or "mild beer," which had some nutritional value, contained just enough alcohol to act as a preservative, and provided hydration without intoxicating effects or dehydration caused by excessive alcohol.

Chemical analyses of ancient pottery jars show that beer was produced about 7,000 years ago in what is now Iran, and was one of the first-known bio-engineering tasks where the biological process of fermentation is used in a process. In Mesopotamia, the oldest evidence of beer is believed to be a 6,000-year-old Sumerian tablet depicting people drinking a beverage through reed straws from a communal bowl.

There is a 3900-year-old Sumerian poem honoring Ninkasi, the patron goddess of brewing, contains the oldest surviving beer recipe, describing the production of beer from barley via bread.

The earliest chemically confirmed barley beer to date was discovered at Godin Tepe in the central Zagros Mountains of Iran, ca. 3500-3100 B.C. (Chalcolithic/Late Uruk Period).

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