Beer, the favorite drink of many, at least this is what manufacturers claim, has a long and distinguished heritage.
Believe it or not, beer is actually older than wine, whiskey, and even bread.
As soon as we settled down as humans and learned to grow grains, some 13,000+ years ago, the chance for fermentation showed itself and there it was-beer.
It’s not until the 5th century B.C. that there are some document sources of the production of ale in ancient Sumeria. Beer was once described as the midwife of civilization because of the pivotal role it had in trade, medicine, agriculture, and urbanization.
Beer, One of the Most Important Things in Ancient Mesopotamia
Beer was vital in ancient Mesopotamia so much that the Sumerians had a goddess of brewing and beer which they named Ninkasi.
One poet also dedicated a poem to this goddess, somewhere in the 1800 B.C.
Ninkasi is the daughter of the potent creator Enki and Ninti and The Hymn to Ninkasi gives insight into the importance of beer in Sumeria, but it also reveals us the recipe for the ancient beer from Sumeria- also the oldest recipe for beer known to humanity.
The Oldest Beer Recipe Explained
The hymn was translated by Miguel Civil from two clay tablets. He’s a professor of Sumerology at the Chicago University.
It comes with very precise instructions so much that the founder of the San Francisco Anchor Brewing Company, Fritz Maytag decided to try it out.
He presented the result at the meeting of the American Association of Micro Brewers back in 1991. They tasted the Ninkasi beer first-hand and drunk it from big jugs with straws, just like people did 4 millennia ago.
The concentration of alcohol in the beer was 3.5 percent, quite similar to the beers today and its dry taste was low in bitterness and was very similar to hard apple cider.
But, Maytag couldn’t bottle and sell his recreation as the beer from Mesopotamia was intended for fast consumption because it didn’t keep very good.