Beer is the second most popular drink in the world right after water and tea. And the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage. Still when was the last time you drank a glass of beer and thought about the rich history behind it?
In this article, we will bring you 10 fun facts about the history of beer. In case you want to learn more check our Ten more homebrewing hacks: Tips and Tricks for Beginner Brewers.
1. It started with beer bread
The first documented beers dated back 5000 years ago. Although they would have tasted quite different from the beers we know today the process of brewing used by Sumerians in Mesopotamia resulted in what we now call beer bread.
Half-baked bread was soaked in water with honey and herbs. Since it had the same basic ingredients as bread it was considered to be an equally nutritious food resource.
2. Beer brewing was for women
It wasn’t until the process of malting was discovered presumably by the Mesopotamians in 2000 to 3000 b.C. that beers started to contain a significant amount of alcohol. Back then beer brewing was a noble profession in the hands of elite women or priests. Some types of beers were even reserved for religious ceremonies.
3. The Egyptians thought a great deal of beer
In ancient Egypt, beer was part of everyday diet. Egyptians knew different types of beers using various types of grains. Also, beer was often employed in medicines and served a religious purpose.
4. Germans made things easier
The Germans also favored beer and brought the beer brewing process further into the north. they were the ones who found a way to put the bread baking process aside and brew beer from germinated and dried grain which then they fermented.
5. Monks knew how to brew
In medieval Europe, the beer brewing process was reserved for monks. The most educated part of the of society. However, beer was a typical drink consumed by all social classes for its nutritious value. And because it was often far safer than drinking contaminated water.
6. Beer had to compete with tea
During the 18th century, the age of reason, Europe was anti-alcohol. With the rise of coffee and tea came a slight downfall for beer.
In America, this destruction was much greater due to the prohibition from 1920 to 1933 when consuming alcohol was illegal. Followed by the Great Depression American breweries had quite some difficulty recovering from these difficult years.
7. Industrialization did good for beer
The Industrial Revolution had a great impact on the production of beer. With the invention of the steam engine in 1765 came the industrialization of beer. The introduction of the thermometer in 1760, and a hydrometer in 1770 made the beer brewing process more efficient. Making beer a mass product.
8. No beer bottles
Until the first beer bottle was sold in 1850. Before then people would take their buckets and go to taverns to fill them up. In some brew bars, they still have that old tradition.
9. Marketing made beer even more popular
In the 20th century, advertising played a significant part in the growing popularity of different types of beers. You can find many advertising signs that define this era from 1930s brewery signs to typical advertising mirrors from the 1980s.
10. Weihenstephan started brewing in 1040
The world’s oldest brewery has been making beer for almost 1000 years. Cheers.