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The History Of Beer

Author: Beer Adams

The History of Beer

More people drink beer than know many of the particulars about the history of beer. But, the history of beer is quite fascinating. Its origins go back as far as recorded history, where it is mentioned in writing on a slate dated to be from the sixth millennium before Christ. Beer has always been a part of every culture and historians seem to agree that beer was probably developed independently in several different cultures, beginning with the origins of civilization in Mesopotamia and Egypt.

The first chemical evidence of beer has been dated as coming from the time 3500-3100 B.C., and it was found in Iran. In Europe, beer also has a history that goes back to 3000 years before Christ. At first, beer was produced for domestic use, but by the 600s A.D., beer was being exported by monasteries in Europe. During the Middle Ages in Europe, beer was consumed with just about every meal. Amazingly enough, in England during this period, the amount of beer consumed averaged over sixty gallons per individual each year.

In the thirteenth century, Germany was able to make hopped beer and for the first time began to export it in barrels in great quantities. Hops made beer last longer but when the content was ordered by law in England and other countries in the 1300s, it was meant with fierce opposition by those who thought the bitterness distorted the taste of beer. Hops are still used today to give the beer its distinctive flavoring. It is the female cones of the hop plant that are used in beer-making.

In medieval times, beer was mostly brewed in-home operations, but by the fifteenth century, small commercial breweries started to appear. The English continued to have beer without hops which were called ale. The name, beer, only applied to recipes with hops. One hundred years later, that all changed when in the sixteenth-century ales and beers were both made with hops. Then the word, ale, was used to refer to extra strong beers.

A Bavarian law was adopted in 1516 that was very important in beer history. This was called the first purity law and it ordered the only ingredients in beer could be water, barley, and hops. Yeast was added when discovered in the 1850s. The Industrial Revolution changed everything about beer-making. The hydrometer (1770) and the thermometer (1760) were both invented and revolutionized the process of beer-making. Pale malt became the primary malt used because it increased yields.

Today’s beer, especially in America, is the result of a major consolidation of beer companies after World War II. A few large companies took over all the smaller ones and one company would brew all types of beer, from mild and pale ales to lagers, wheat, and darker beers.

In the 1980s, microbreweries started to return with many regions starting to once again produce local beers. The brewing industry seems impervious to ups and downs in the economy. The demand for beer has remained strong literally since the beginning of time and shows no signs of waning in the twenty-first century.

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