Saturday, June 30, 2007

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Beer!

Beer isn't just a concoction of hops and barley fermented into a perfect blend of beery goodness meant to inebriate... it's so much more.

This blog will delve into all things beer, from the mainstream to the minutia. Including the rarely acknowledged historical sway that beer has had on the course of human endeavors. Another one of my passions is history. And even to the most experienced beer geek (which I am most certainly not), the historical roots of brewing beer run deep through not just Europe or this country, but the entire world.

Take for instance - this little tidbit: three years ago an archeology team discovered a brewery over 1,000 years old on a mountaintop in Peru. It dates back to the Wari Empire's occupation of Cerro Baúl (AD 600-1000). Photo by Patrick Ryan Williams, courtesy of The Field Museum.

But let's go back even further...back to
Ninkasi, the Sumerian Goddess of Brewing and Beer.

13,000 years ago (give or take a millennium) our nomadic forefathers stopped wandering aimlessly about the vast landscape and decided to set up permanent homes. One of the first things they planted and harvested was grain. To keep the grain from going bad they would bake it into bread and store it. Another 5,000 years trundles by... ancient text show these nomads-turned-farmers, most likely be accident, discovered that if they baked the sweetest grain and left it out to moisten would cause it to ferment, resulting in an inebriating pulp. Thus, they not only "created" the fermentation process, but also... the first beer!

Bounce ahead 7,700 years or so to the North American continent yet to be named the United States of America. The group of patriots who would later become known as the Founding Fathers - George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, etc. - not only drank beer, but nearly all of them brewed their own beer.

I would be remiss in not at least mentioning the impact that Germany had on the history of beer. I'll get to that in more detail later since I'm married to a 100% German woman who, as fates would have it, has many relatives in Germany - one of which owns and operates more than one brewery. Aaaaaaah... heaven.

One last historical note for now... I find it ironic that yours truly was born on what many (in this country at least) consider to be a major date in beer history - April 7. On that same day way back in 1933, the great President Franklin Delano Roosevelt legalized beer in the U.S., eight months before the full repeal of Prohibition (on December 5, 1933). April 7 - a date to celebrate, and one that should be made into a national holiday.

Check back often as I'll be constantly updating or adding new things over in the sidebars (like beer festivals, new brewery links, other beer oddities, etc.).

Until next time... keep the beer frosty.

Cheers to Beer!


Terry Terrones said...

Wow Eli, I knew you loved beer but I didn't know you knew so much about it. Love the new blog, I'll be coming here often to get my beerducation.

Eli the Mad Man said...

Thanks Terry! Ya, it's one of my many passions. Of which I have many. Too many maybe! ;)