Beer in some form has been around almost as long as civilization. It is mentioned in Sumerian text dating back more than 5,000 years. Beginning in the 1950s, scientists ebated the notion that beer, not bread, was actually the start of the development for agriculture.
Almost every culture invented a ferminted drink similar to beer. History tells us that brewing was a home based operation and part of the daily meal preparation. From South Africa to China, the production of beer grew in scale along with the rise of society, then later became primarily a function of the state.
The physical evidence of ancient brewing isn’t easy to obtain. With most cultures, home beer brewing required only the basic of ingredients, a heat source, a cooking vessels and some jars. None of these materials are unique to the brewing process. Jars that were found near a kiln could have been used for storing barley or wheat for bread, while cooking pots could have been used for heating liquids.
So far, archaeologists haven’t been able to find a complete brewery. One of the oldest breweries found was in southern Egypt and dates back to 5,000 years ago. A team of archaeologists found well heated vats that a cereal based residue inside. Another ancient brewery was found along the Nile in what is thought to be the Sun Temple, where a king’s wife was buried. They also found a complex set of rooms that had been used for processing cereals. The artifacts that were found indicate that the rooms may have been used as a bakery or a brewery.
In different parts of the world a construction team found a brewery dating back to the Romans. This site had preserved tables that were dated back to around 100 A.D. with beer being specifically mentioned on several of the tablets.
The chemical evidence of beer found would prove the site’s purpose once and for all, although that isn’t easy. Alcohol is much too delicate to last for centuries, as any cereal based residue found could have come from baking just as easily as from brewing.
Throughout the centuries, there will always be evidence of beer being brewed somewhere. Without finding actual physical evidence, it can be really hard to determine.
The idea of brewing beer is now high tech, along with micro breweries and specialty beers becoming very popular on the food scene. The State of North Carolina has a very good selection of homegrown brews that can satisfy the thirstiest consumer.