History of Beer
The origins of beer are lost
in the nights of time, between stories and legends. Those from ancient
Egypt attribute its origin to a whim of Osiris.
anthropologists assure us that a thousand years ago, primitive man
elaborated a drink based on cereal roots and wild fruits that were
chewed beforehand in order to unlock their alcoholic fermentation.
The resulting liquid was consumed with pleasure for relaxation.
The oldest mention of beer, “a drink obtained from the fermentation
of grains called siraku”, is found on clay tablets written
in the Sumerian language, dated to approximately 4,000 years BC.
A household recipe for making beer is revealed on the tablets: bread
is baked and broken into crumbs; a mixture is prepared with water
to obtain a drink that transforms people into “joyful, extroverted
From the Middle East, beer
extends along the oriental Mediterranean basin. The Egyptians collected
Sumerian recipes and made a beer they named “zythum”,
they discovered malt and added saffron, honey, ginger and cumin
aiming to provide aroma and colour. While the Romans and Greeks
considered it a drink of ordinary people, the peoples of northern
Europe celebrated with beer at family events, religious solemnities
and triumphs over their enemies.
In the Middle Ages, the “cerevisa
monacorum” was born, high quality beer made by monks, whose
secret was jealously guarded by each friar-chemist. The monks managed
to improve the aspect, flavour and aroma of the drink.
Between the 14th and 16th
Centuries, the first large beer breweries arose; those of Hamburg
and Zirtau were among the most distinguished. At the end of the
15th Century, the Duke William IV of Bavaria passed the first law
of German beer purity that ordered that barley malt, water, hops
and yeast be used exclusively for its fabrication.
The authentic golden age
of beer began at the end of the 18th Century with the incorporation
of steam machinery into the brewing industry and the discovery of
the new cold production formula, and peaked in the last third of
the 19th Century, with the Pasteur’s findings of relevance
to the fermentation process.