Beer History

When­ever a new hobby or pas­sion presents itself, it’s very dif­fi­cult to help shape the future with­out know­ing about the past. We have put together an exten­sive his­tory of the ori­gins and devel­op­ments that bring you the beer in your hand right now. It’s a lit­tle lengthy, but it isn’t going any­where, so take your time and give it a read when you get a chance. Via Wikipedia.


Beer is one of the world’s old­est bev­er­ages, with the his­tory of beer dat­ing back to the 6th mil­len­nium BC, and being recorded in the writ­ten his­tory of Ancient Iraq.The ear­li­est Sumer­ian writ­ings con­tain ref­er­ences to beer. A prayer to the god­dess Ninkasi known as “The Hymn to Ninkasi” serves as both a prayer as well as a method of remem­ber­ing the recipe for beer in a cul­ture with few lit­er­ate people.

As almost any sub­stance con­tain­ing car­bo­hy­drates, mainly sugar or starch, can nat­u­rally undergo fer­men­ta­tion, it is likely that beer-like bev­er­ages were inde­pen­dently invented among var­i­ous cul­tures through­out the world. The inven­tion of bread and beer has been argued to be respon­si­ble for humanity’s abil­ity to develop tech­nol­ogy and build civ­i­liza­tion. The ear­li­est known chem­i­cal evi­dence of beer dates to circa 3500–3100 BC from the site of Godin Tepe in the Zagros Moun­tains of west­ern Iran.

Beer may have been known in Neolithic Europe as far back as 3000 BC, though was mainly brewed on a domes­tic scale.

Beer pro­duced before the Indus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion con­tin­ued to be made and sold on a domes­tic scale, although by the 7th cen­tury AD beer was also being pro­duced and sold by Euro­pean monas­ter­ies. Dur­ing the Indus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion, the pro­duc­tion of beer moved from arti­sanal man­u­fac­ture to indus­trial man­u­fac­ture, and domes­tic man­u­fac­ture ceased to be sig­nif­i­cant by the end of the 19th cen­tury. The devel­op­ment of hydrom­e­ters and ther­mome­ters changed brew­ing by allow­ing the brewer more con­trol of the process, and greater knowl­edge of the results.

Today, the brew­ing indus­try is a global busi­ness, con­sist­ing of sev­eral dom­i­nant multi­na­tional com­pa­nies and many thou­sands of smaller pro­duc­ers rang­ing from brew­pubs to regional brew­eries. More than 133 bil­lion liters (35 bil­lion gal­lons) are sold per year—producing total global rev­enues of $294.5 bil­lion (£147.7 bil­lion) in 2006.

His­tory

His­tor­i­cal doc­u­men­ta­tion shows that around 5,000 years ago, ancient Chi­nese civ­i­liza­tions were brew­ing a beer-like sub­stance known as “Kui”. In fact, a clay tablet found in what was ancient Mesopotamia, indi­cated that brew­ing was a fairly well respected occu­pa­tion dur­ing the time, and that the major­ity of brew­ers were women.

Early traces of beer and the brew­ing process have been found in ancient Baby­lo­nia as well. At the time, brew­ers were women as well, but also Priest­esses. Some types of beers were used espe­cially in reli­gious cer­e­monies. In 2,100 BC, the Baby­lon­ian king Ham­murabi included reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing tav­ern keep­ers in his law code for the kingdom.

Beer drink­ing acces­sories, such as mugs, have also been found in Israel, and date back to nearly 2,000 BC.

Beer was part of the daily diet of Egypt­ian Pharaohs over 5,000 years ago. Then, it was made from baked bar­ley bread, and was also used as a sacra­ment in reli­gious practices.

The role of beer in Egypt­ian soci­ety was far greater than just a drink. Often, beer was pre­scribed to treat var­i­ous ill­nesses. Beer was con­sid­ered to be the most proper gift to give to Egypt­ian Pharaohs, and it was also offered as a sac­ri­fice to the gods.

Based on his­tor­i­cal evi­dence, it appears that the Egyp­tians taught the Greeks the beer brew­ing process. The Greek writer Sopho­cles (450 BC) dis­cussed the con­cept of mod­er­a­tion when it came to con­sum­ing beer in Greek cul­ture, and believed that the best diet for Greeks con­sisted of bread, meats, var­i­ous types of veg­eta­bles, and beer or zythos as they called it.

The Greeks later taught the Roman civ­i­liza­tion the process of brew­ing, who in turn later taught the early British/Anglo-Saxons tribes.

The process of brew­ing beer grew tremen­dously dur­ing the rise of Chris­tian­ity. This was pri­mar­ily because of the roles that monks had in the pro­duc­tion of beer. Monas­ter­ies were some of the first orga­ni­za­tions to brew beer as a trade. Monks built brew­eries as part of their efforts to pro­vide food, shel­ter and drink to var­i­ous trav­el­ers and pilgrims.

A large amount of Chris­t­ian saints have rela­tion­ships to brew­ing. Saint Augus­tine of Hippo, Saint Luke the Evan­ge­list, and Saint Nicholas all are con­sid­ered to be patrons of brewing.

Emperor Charle­magne, the ruler of the Chris­t­ian king­dom around 770 AD con­sid­ered beer to be an impor­tant part of liv­ing, and is often thought to have trained Chris­t­ian brew­ers himself.

Like in ancient times, women were the pri­mary brew­ers dur­ing the medieval times. Women took over brew­ing after the monas­ter­ies had really estab­lished the process.

Early Beers

As almost any cereal con­tain­ing cer­tain sug­ars can undergo spon­ta­neous fer­men­ta­tion due to wild yeasts in the air, it is pos­si­ble that beer-like bev­er­ages were inde­pen­dently devel­oped through­out the world soon after a tribe or cul­ture had domes­ti­cated cereal. Chem­i­cal tests of ancient pot­tery jars reveal that beer was pro­duced about 5,500 years ago in what is today Iran, and was one of the first-known bio­log­i­cal engi­neer­ing tasks where the bio­log­i­cal process of fer­men­ta­tion is used. Also recent archae­o­log­i­cal find­ings show­ing that Chi­nese vil­lagers were brew­ing fer­mented alco­holic drinks as far back as 7000 BC on small and indi­vid­ual scale, with the pro­duc­tion process / meth­ods sim­i­lar to that of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

In Mesopotamia (Ancient Iraq), the old­est evi­dence of beer is believed to be a 4,000-year-old Sumer­ian tablet depict­ing peo­ple drink­ing a bev­er­age through reed straws from a com­mu­nal bowl. 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.

Ninkasi, you are the one
You are the one who holds with both hands the great sweet wort…

Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the fil­tered beer of the col­lec­tor vat,
It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.

Beer is also men­tioned in the Epic of Gil­gamesh, in which the ‘wild man’ Enkidu is given beer to drink. “…he ate until he was full, drank seven pitch­ers of beer, his heart grew light, his face glowed and he sang out with joy.”

Con­firmed writ­ten evi­dence of ancient beer pro­duc­tion in Arme­nia can be obtained from Xenophon in his work Anaba­sis (V cen­tury B.C.) when he was in one of the ancient Armen­ian vil­lages in which he wrote (Book 4, V).

There were stores within of wheat and bar­ley and veg­eta­bles, and wine made from bar­ley in great big bowls; the grains of bar­ley malt lay float­ing in the bev­er­age up to the lip of the ves­sel, and reeds lay in them, some longer, some shorter, with­out joints; when you were thirsty you must take one of these into your mouth, and suck. The bev­er­age with­out admix­ture of water was very strong, and of a deli­cious flavour to cer­tain palates, but the taste must be acquired.

Beer became vital to all the grain-growing civ­i­liza­tions of Eurasian and North African antiq­uity, includ­ing Egypt—so much so that in 1868 James Death put for­ward a the­ory in The Beer of the Bible that the manna from heaven that God gave the Israelites was a bread-based, porridge-like beer called wusa. Knowl­edge of brew­ing was passed on to the Greeks. The Greeks then taught the Romans to brew. The Romans called their brew cere­visia, from the Celtic word for it. These beers were often thick, more of a gruel than a bev­er­age, and drink­ing straws were used by the Sume­ri­ans to avoid the bit­ter solids left over from fermentation.

Beer was very impor­tant to early Romans, but dur­ing the Roman Repub­lic wine dis­placed beer as the pre­ferred alco­holic bev­er­age. Beer became a bev­er­age con­sid­ered fit only for bar­bar­ians; Tac­i­tus wrote dis­parag­ingly of the beer brewed by the Ger­manic peo­ples of his day.

Thra­cians were also known to con­sume beer made from rye, even since the 5th cen­tury BC, as Hel­lan­i­cus of Les­bos says in operas. Their name for beer was bru­tos, or bry­tos.

Midieval Europe

Beer was one of the most com­mon drinks dur­ing the Mid­dle Ages. It was con­sumed daily by all social classes in the north­ern and east­ern parts of Europe where grape cul­ti­va­tion was dif­fi­cult or impos­si­ble. Though wine of vary­ing qual­i­ties was the most com­mon drink in the south, beer was still pop­u­lar among the lower classes. Since the purity of water could sel­dom be guar­an­teed, alco­holic drinks were a pop­u­lar choice, hav­ing been boiled as part of the brew­ing process. Beer also pro­vided a con­sid­er­able amount of the daily calo­ries in the north­ern regions. In Eng­land and the Low Coun­tries, the per capita con­sump­tion was 275–300 liters (60–66 gal­lons) a year by the Late Mid­dle Ages, and beer was downed with every meal. Though prob­a­bly one of the most pop­u­lar drinks in Europe, beer was dis­dained by sci­ence as being unhealthy, mostly because ancient Greek and more con­tem­po­rary Arab physi­cians had lit­tle or no expe­ri­ence with the drink. In 1256, the Aldo­brandino of Siena described the nature of beer in the fol­low­ing way:

But from whichever it is made, whether from oats, bar­ley or wheat, it harms the head and the stom­ach, it causes bad breath and ruins the teeth, it fills the stom­ach with bad fumes, and as a result any­one who drinks it along with wine becomes drunk quickly; but it does have the prop­erty of facil­i­tat­ing uri­na­tion and makes one’s flesh white and smooth.

The use of hops in beer was writ­ten of in 822 by a Car­olin­gian Abbot. Again in 1067 by Abbess Hilde­gard of Bin­gen: “If one intends to make beer from oats, it is pre­pared with hops.” Fla­vor­ing beer with hops was known at least since the 9th cen­tury, but was only grad­u­ally adopted because of dif­fi­cul­ties in estab­lish­ing the right pro­por­tions of ingre­di­ents. Before that, gruit, a mix of var­i­ous herbs, had been used, but did not have the same con­serv­ing prop­er­ties as hops. Beer fla­vored with­out it was often spoiled soon after prepa­ra­tion and could not be exported. The only other alter­na­tive was to increase the alco­hol con­tent, which was rather expen­sive. Hopped beer was per­fected in the towns of Ger­many by the 13th cen­tury, and the longer last­ing beer, com­bined with stan­dard­ized bar­rel sizes, allowed for large-scale export. The Ger­man towns also pio­neered a new scale of oper­a­tion and a level of pro­fes­sion­al­iza­tion. Pre­vi­ously beer had been brewed at home, but the pro­duc­tion was now suc­cess­fully replaced by medium-sized oper­a­tions of about eight to ten peo­ple. This type of pro­duc­tion spread to Hol­land in the 14th cen­tury and later to Flan­ders, Bra­bant and reached Eng­land by the late 15th century.

Laws to enforce the use of hops in beer were intro­duced in Eng­land in the 14th cen­tury, and later sim­i­lar laws were intro­duced in other coun­tries. In Eng­land, these laws led to peas­ant upris­ings, since it was con­sid­ered to spoil the taste, but these upris­ings were bru­tally put down.

Early Mod­ern Europe

In Europe, beer largely remained a homemaker’s activ­ity, made in the home in medieval times. The old­est still oper­at­ing com­mer­cial brew­ery is the Wei­hen­stephan (Bavaria) abbey brew­ery, which obtained the brew­ing rights from the nearby town of Freis­ing in 1040. By the 14th and 15th cen­turies, beer­mak­ing was grad­u­ally chang­ing from a family-oriented activ­ity to an arti­san one, with pubs and monas­ter­ies brew­ing their own beer for mass consumption.

In 15th cen­tury Eng­land, an unhopped beer would have been known as an ale, while the use of hops would make it a beer. Hopped beer was imported to Eng­land from the Nether­lands as early as 1400 in Win­ches­ter, and hops were being planted on the island by 1428. The pop­u­lar­ity of hops was at first mixed—the Brew­ers Com­pany of Lon­don went so far as to state “no hops, herbs, or other like thing be put into any ale or liquore wherof ale shall be made—but only liquor (water), malt, and yeast.” How­ever, by the 16th cen­tury, “ale” had come to refer to any strong beer, and all ales and beers were hopped, giv­ing rise to the verse noted by the curi­ous anti­quary John Aubrey

Greeks, Here­sie, Turkey-cocks and Beer
Came into Eng­land all in a year.

the year, accord­ing to Aubrey, being the fif­teenth of Henry VIII (1524).

In 1516, William IV, Duke of Bavaria, adopted the Rein­heits­ge­bot (purity law), per­haps the old­est food reg­u­la­tion still in use through the 20th Cen­tury (the Rein­heits­ge­bot passed for­mally from Ger­man law in 1987). The Gebot ordered that the ingre­di­ents of beer be restricted to water, bar­ley, and hops; yeast was added to the list after Louis Pasteur’s dis­cov­ery in 1857. The Bavar­ian law was applied through­out Ger­many as part of the 1871 Ger­man uni­fi­ca­tion as the Ger­man Empire under Otto von Bis­marck, and has since been updated to reflect mod­ern trends in beer brew­ing. To this day, the Gebot is con­sid­ered a mark of purity in beers, although this is controversial.

Most beers until rel­a­tively recent times were top-fermented. Bottom-fermented beers were dis­cov­ered by acci­dent in the 16th cen­tury after beer was stored in cool cav­erns for long peri­ods; they have since largely out­paced top-fermented beers in terms of volume.

Asia

There is pre-historic evi­dence that shows brew­ing began around 5,400 BC in Sumer (south­ern Iraq). Some recent archae­o­log­i­cal finds also show that Chi­nese vil­lagers were brew­ing alco­holic drinks as far back as 7000 BC. How­ever, as with the his­tory of corn whiskey the pro­duc­tion of alco­holic bev­er­ages is often seen as a way to pre­serve excess grain, rather than an occu­pa­tion in and of itself.

Doc­u­mented evi­dence and recently exca­vated tombs indi­cate that the Chi­nese brewed alco­holic bev­er­ages from both malted grain and grain con­verted by mold from pre­his­toric times, but that the malt con­ver­sion process was largely con­sid­ered inef­fi­cienct in com­par­i­son with the use of molds spe­cially cul­ti­vated on rice car­rier (the result­ing molded rice being called ?? in Chi­nese and Koji in Japan­ese) to con­vert cooked rice into fer­mentable sug­ars, both in the amount of result­ing fer­mentable sug­ars and the resid­ual by prod­ucts (the Chi­nese use the dregs left after fer­ment­ing the rice, called ??, as a cook­ing ingre­di­ent in many dishes, fre­quently as an ingre­di­ent to sauces where West­ern dishes would use wine), because the rice under­goes starch con­ver­sion after being hulled and cooked, rather than whole and in husks like bar­ley malt. Fur­ther­more, the hop plant being unknown in East Asia, malt-based alco­holic bev­er­ages did not pre­serve well over time, and the use of malt in the pro­duc­tion of alco­holic bev­er­ages grad­u­ally fell out of favor in China until dis­ap­pear­ing from Chi­nese his­tory by the end of the Tang Dynasty. The use of rice became dom­i­nant, such that wines from fruits of any type were his­tor­i­cally all but unknown except as imports in China.

The pro­duc­tion of alco­holic bev­er­age from cooked rice con­verted by microbes con­tinue to this day, and some clas­sify such bev­er­ages (??mijiu in Chi­nese and Sake in Japan­ese) as beers since they are made from con­verted starch rather than fruit sug­ars. How­ever, this is a debat­able point, and such bev­er­ages are gen­er­ally referred to as “rice wine” or “sake” which is really the generic Chi­nese and Japan­ese word for all alco­holic beverages.

Some Pacific island cul­tures fer­ment starch that has been con­verted to fer­mentable sug­ars by human saliva, sim­i­lar to the chicha of South Amer­ica . This prac­tice is also used by many other tribes around the world, who either chew the grain and then spit it into the fer­men­ta­tion ves­sel or spit into a fer­men­ta­tion ves­sel con­tain­ing cooked grain, which is then sealed up for the fer­men­ta­tion. Enzymes in the spit­tle con­vert the starch into fer­mentable sug­ars, which are fer­mented by wild yeast. Whether or not the result­ing prod­uct can be called beer is some­times dis­puted, since:

  1. As with Asian rice-based liquors, it does not involve malting.
  2. This method is often used with starches derived from sources other than grain, such as yams, taro, or other such root vegetables.

Some Tai­wanese tribes have taken the process a step fur­ther by dis­till­ing the result­ing alco­holic bev­er­age, result­ing in a clear liquor. How­ever, as none of the Tai­wanese tribes are known to have devel­oped sys­tems of writ­ing, there is no way to doc­u­ment how far back this prac­tice goes, or if the tech­nique was brought from Main­land China by Han Chi­nese immi­grants. Judg­ing by the fact that this tech­nique is usu­ally found in tribes using mil­let (a grain native to north­ern China) as the ingre­di­ent, the lat­ter seems much more likely.

Asia’s first brew­ery was incor­po­rated in 1855 (although it was estab­lished ear­lier) by Edward Dyer at Kasauli in the Himalayan Moun­tains in India under the name Dyer Brew­eries. The com­pany still exists and is known as Mohan Meakin, today com­pris­ing a large group of com­pa­nies across many industries.

The Indus­trial Revolution

Fol­low­ing sig­nif­i­cant improve­ments in the effi­ciency of the steam engine in 1765, indus­tri­al­iza­tion of beer became a real­ity. Fur­ther inno­va­tions in the brew­ing process came about with the intro­duc­tion of the ther­mome­ter in 1760 and hydrom­e­ter in 1770, which allowed brew­ers to increase effi­ciency and attenuation.

Prior to the late 18th cen­tury, malt was pri­mar­ily dried over fires made from wood, char­coal, or straw, and after 1600, from coke.

In gen­eral, none of these early malts would have been well shielded from the smoke involved in the kiln­ing process, and con­se­quently, early beers would have had a smoky com­po­nent to their fla­vors; evi­dence indi­cates that malt­sters and brew­ers con­stantly tried to min­i­mize the smok­i­ness of the fin­ished beer.

Writ­ers of the period describe the dis­tinc­tive taste derived from wood-smoked malts, and the almost uni­ver­sal revul­sion it engen­dered. The smoked beers and ales of the West Coun­try were famous for being undrink­able — locals and the des­per­ate excepted. This is from “Direc­tions for Brew­ing Malt Liquors” (1700):

In most parts of the West, their malt is so stenched with the Smoak of the Wood, with which ’tis dryed, that no Stranger can endure it, though the inhab­i­tants, who are famil­iar­ized to it, can swal­low it as the Hol­lan­ders do their thick Black Beer Brewed with Buck Wheat.

An even ear­lier ref­er­ence to such malt was recorded by William Har­ri­son, in his “Descrip­tion of Eng­land”, 1577:

In some places it [malt] is dried at leisure with wood alone, or straw alone, in other with wood and straw together, but, of all, the straw-dried is the most excel­lent. For the wood-dried malt, when it is brewed, beside that the drink is higher of colour, it doth hurt and annoy the head of him that is not used thereto, because of the smoke. Such also as use both indif­fer­ently do bark, cleave, and dry their wood in an oven, thereby to remove all mois­ture that should pro­cure the fume…

Lon­don and Coun­try Brewer” (1736) spec­i­fied the vari­eties of “brown malt” pop­u­lar in the city:

Brown Malts are dryed with Straw, Wood and Fern, etc. The straw-dryed is the best, but the wood sort has a most unnat­ural Taste, that few can bear with, but the neces­si­tous, and those that are accus­tomed to its strong smoaky tang; yet it is much used in some of the West­ern Parts of Eng­land, and many thou­sand Quar­ters of this malt has been for­merly used in Lon­don for brew­ing the Butt-keeoing-beers with, and that because it sold for two shillings per Quar­ter cheaper than Straw-dryed Malt, nor was this Qual­ity of the Wood-dryed Malt much regarded by some of its Brew­ers, for that its ill Taste is lost in nine or twelve Months, by the Age of the Beer, and the strength of the great Quan­tity of Hops that were used in its preservation.

The hydrom­e­ter trans­formed how beer was brewed. Before its intro­duc­tion beers were brewed from a sin­gle malt: brown beers from brown malt, amber beers from amber malt, pale beers from pale malt. Using the hydrom­e­ter, brew­ers could cal­cu­late the yield from dif­fer­ent malts. They observed that pale malt, though more expen­sive, yielded far more fer­mentable mate­r­ial than cheaper malts. For exam­ple, brown malt (used for Porter) gave 54 pounds of extract per quar­ter, whilst pale malt gave 80 pounds. Once this was known, brew­ers switched to using mostly pale malt for all beers sup­ple­mented with a small quan­tity of highly-coloured malt to achieve the cor­rect colour for darker beers.

The inven­tion of the drum roaster in 1817 by Daniel Wheeler allowed for the cre­ation of very dark, roasted malts, con­tribut­ing to the flavour of porters and stouts. Its devel­op­ment was prompted by a British law of 1816 for­bid­ding the use of any ingre­di­ents other than malt and hops. Porter brew­ers, employ­ing a pre­dom­i­nantly pale malt grist, urgently needed a legal colourant. Wheeler’s patent malt was the solution.

The dis­cov­ery of yeast’s role in fer­men­ta­tion in 1857 by Louis Pas­teur gave brew­ers meth­ods to pre­vent the sour­ing of beer by unde­sir­able microorganisms.

Mod­ern Beer

Prior to Pro­hi­bi­tion, there were thou­sands of brew­eries in the United States, mostly brew­ing heav­ier beers than mod­ern US beer drinkers are used to. Begin­ning in 1920, most of these brew­eries went out of busi­ness, although some con­verted to soft drinks and other busi­nesses. Boot­legged beer was often watered down to increase prof­its, begin­ning a trend, still on-going today, of the Amer­i­can palate pre­fer­ring weaker beers. Con­sol­i­da­tion of brew­eries and the appli­ca­tion of indus­trial qual­ity con­trol stan­dards have led to the mass-production and the mass-marketing of huge quan­ti­ties of light lagers. Adver­tis­ing became supreme, and big­ger com­pa­nies fared bet­ter in that mar­ket. The decades after World War II saw a huge con­sol­i­da­tion of the Amer­i­can brew­ing indus­try: brew­ing com­pa­nies would buy their rivals solely for their cus­tomers and dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tems, shut­ting down their brew­ing oper­a­tions. Smaller brew­eries, includ­ing micro­brew­eries or craft brew­ers and imports have become more abun­dant since the mid 80’s. By 1997 there were more brew­eries oper­at­ing in the United States than in all of Ger­many. As of 2007, there are 1390 regional craft brew­eries, micro­brew­eries and brew­pubs in the United States.

Many Euro­pean nations have unbro­ken brew­ing tra­di­tions dat­ing back to the ear­li­est his­tor­i­cal records. Beer is an espe­cially impor­tant drink in coun­tries such as Bel­gium, Ger­many, Ire­land , and the UK, with nations such as France, the Scan­di­na­vian coun­tries, the Czech Repub­lic, and oth­ers hav­ing strong and unique brew­ing tra­di­tions with their own his­tory, char­ac­ter­is­tic brew­ing meth­ods, and styles of beer.

Unlike in many parts of the world, there is a sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket in Europe (the UK in par­tic­u­lar) for beer con­tain­ing live yeast. These unfil­tered, unpas­teurised brews are awk­ward to look after com­pared to the com­monly sold dead beers: live beer qual­ity can suf­fer with poor care, but many peo­ple pre­fer the taste of a good live beer to a dead one. While beer is usu­ally matured for rel­a­tively short times (a few weeks to a few months) com­pared to wine, some of the stronger so-called real ales have been found to develop char­ac­ter and flavour over the course of as much as sev­eral decades.

In some parts of the world, brew­eries that had begun as a fam­ily busi­ness by Ger­mans or other Euro­pean émigrés grew into large com­pa­nies, often pass­ing into hands with more con­cern for prof­its than tra­di­tions of qual­ity, result­ing in a degra­da­tion of the product.

In 1953, New Zealan­der Mor­ton W. Coutts devel­oped the tech­nique of con­tin­u­ous fer­men­ta­tion. Coutts patented his process which involves beer flow­ing through sealed tanks, fer­ment­ing under pres­sure, and never com­ing into con­tact with the atmos­phere, even when bot­tled. His process was intro­duced in the US and UK, but is now used for com­mer­cial beer pro­duc­tion only in New Zealand.

In some sec­tors brew­ers are reluc­tant to embrace new tech­nol­ogy for fear of los­ing the tra­di­tional char­ac­ter­is­tics of their beer. For exam­ple Marston’s Brew­ery in Bur­ton on Trent still uses open wooden Bur­ton Union sets for fer­men­ta­tion in order to main­tain the qual­ity and flavour of its beers, while Belgium’s lam­bic brew­ers go so far as to expose their brews to out­side air in order to pick up the nat­ural wild yeasts which fer­ment the wort. Tra­di­tional brew­ing tech­niques pro­tect the beer from oxi­da­tion by main­tain­ing a car­bon diox­ide blan­ket over the wort as it fer­ments into beer.

Mod­ern brew­eries now brew many dif­fer­ent types of beer, rang­ing from ancient styles such as the spontaneously-fermented lam­bics of Bel­gium; the lagers, dark beers, wheat beers and more of Ger­many; the UK’s stouts, milds, pale ales, bit­ters, golden ale and new mod­ern Amer­i­can cre­ations such as Chili Beer, Cream Ale, and Dou­ble India Pale Ales.

Today, the brew­ing indus­try is a huge global busi­ness, con­sist­ing of sev­eral multi­na­tional com­pa­nies, and many thou­sands of smaller pro­duc­ers rang­ing from brew­pubs to regional brew­eries. Advances in refrig­er­a­tion, inter­na­tional and transcon­ti­nen­tal ship­ping, mar­ket­ing and com­merce have resulted in an inter­na­tional mar­ket­place, where the con­sumer has lit­er­ally hun­dreds of choices between var­i­ous styles of local, regional, national and for­eign beers.

A funer­ary model of a bak­ery and brew­ery, dat­ing to the Eleventh dynasty of Egypt, circa 2009–1998 BC. Made of painted and ges­soed wood, orig­i­nally from Thebes.
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Dane

Dane Mentzer is a young man with a love for beer and a pas­sion for peo­ple. He prides myself on a well-established nose and palate, with a widely devel­oped vocab­u­lary. The only thing he loves more than beer is peo­ple, and that is where life gets excit­ing. In addi­tion to found­ing The Brew Bros, He has also estab­lished “Beer Into Water” a non-for-profit orga­ni­za­tion aimed at host­ing beer events in order to quench the thirst of chil­dren around the world. Stay tuned for more infor­ma­tion as that char­ity comes to fruition. His favorite style is the Impe­r­ial India Pale Ale, although it changes with the sea­sons. His favorite brew at the time is Arc­tic Panzer Wolf by 3 Floyds.

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5 Comments

  1. Ok I am lov­ing this arti­cle. I have never seen any­thing this detailed on the his­tory of beer. My dh is going to love it too. He just cov­ered the beer com­pany that is using stuffed ani­mals (as in real, posthu­mously stuffed squir­rels) etc to pack­age their beer. How in the heck did we, as a soci­ety go from women brew­ing beer in ancient China to stuff­ing bot­tles in squirrels?

  2. It’s in point of fact a nice and use­ful piece of info. I am sat­is­fied that you shared this use­ful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Outlook says:

    this was a prodi­gious share thank you for the help.

  4. Never heard the his­tory of Beer in my entire life of what, when and when. But then it was showed here. I enjoyed read­ing it. I will drink plenty of beer today. cheers!!!

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