The history of beer
Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in the entire world and has been produced for millennia. We can find records regarding beer production as far back as six thousand years ago, but historians estimate that the beverage was being produced long before then and was a vital and constant factor in the development of various civilizations all around the world. A multitude of records from many years ago have been discovered that reveal the existence of the beverage in ancient societies. Meanwhile, new scientific methods are being utilized to analyze thousand year old pots, proving that beer has been around for a very long time and has shaped our civilizations throughout history.
The first historical record of German beer dates back to the year 736 to the town of Geisenfeld in Bavaria. The first document concerning beer was established in the year 766 in the monastery of St Gallen Bile in Geisingen.
The Invention of Beer
It is unknown exactly who invented beer and when it was first produced, but we can make a vague estimation regarding its creation. The production of beer requires some form of cereal containing sugar, and so we can estimate that the beverage was first produced when mankind began settling in areas and farming the land. Historians also believe that beer may have initially been produced accidentally; for instance, a piece of bread may have gotten wet and been left for a short while, during which time the fermentation process took place and something resembling beer was created.
As time went by and new grains and cereals were cultivated, additional elements were included in the production of beer to alter its taste and consistency. The very first beers were poorly filtered, resulting in a cloudy and thick beverage with an immensely bitter taste. In spite of all of this, people drank beer in large quantities due to the unique feelings of euphoria it was able to bring on. The beverage then became a part of bartering systems in various societies and sometimes a worker’s wages would even be partly paid in beer.
Beer’s Development Over the Ages
The beverage was developed further as time went by some of the most prominent civilizations of ancient times including the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. The Catholic Church was also a major player in the development of brewing practices throughout Europe, with abbeys and monasteries often relying on the brewing of beer as a way to support themselves. At the time, beer was considered a gift from God and there were no negative connotations associated with its production. One of the reasons behind the popularity of beer was the terrible state of drinking water at the time. As beer contained alcohol and also underwent several processes that aided in eliminating bacteria, it was much safer to drink than water.
Beer in Germany: The Reinheitsgobet
Various Germanic tribes also spread the drink throughout Europe, adding their own spices, herbs and fruits to create varieties of beer that would be very different from what we drink today. These types of beer did not contain hops, which is now recognized as the primary ingredient of the modern form of the beverage. It was in Germany that beer was initially produced on a much larger scale than ever before, with brewers following regulated standards and recipes.
To further cement these regulations, the Beer Purity Law of 1516, in German known as Reinheitsgobet, was introduced by the Duke of Bavaria at the time, William IV. This law stated that the only ingredients that could be used for the production of beer were water, hops and barley. This law essentially ensured that German beer was regulated properly so that people could buy and drink it with confidence.
As time went by and society became even more advanced, so did the production of beer. Louis Pasteur’s discovery of the use of yeast in the fermentation process paved the way for new methods of production. Meanwhile, as transport systems were developed, factories were built and advanced method of refrigeration came into existence, beer was able to be produced on a much larger scale. Nowadays, beer can be found in countless varieties all around the world. Beer has truly come a long way since its humble beginnings, thousands of years ago.