The life of parties, conversation starter, your best friend in anxiety; beer is all of this but did you know some interesting historical facts about beer that influence us social animals as a civilization.
Beer is one of the world's oldest prepared beverages, possibly dating back to the early Neolithic or 9500 BC, when cereal was first farmed, and is recorded in the written history of ancient Iraq and ancient Egypt. Archaeologists speculate that beer was instrumental in the formation of civilizations.
Approximately 5000 years ago, workers in the city of Uruk (modern day Iraq) were paid by their employers in beer. During the building of the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt, each worker got a daily ration of four to five litres of beer, which served as both nutrition and refreshment that was crucial to the pyramids' construction. Let’s dive in the most amazing historical facts of beer.
The invention of bread and beer has been argued to be responsible for humanity's ability to develop technology and build civilization.
Some evidence suggests that these early brews (or wines) were also considered aids in deliberation. In long ago Germany and Persia, collective decisions of state were made after a few warm ones, then double-checked when sober.
Thomas Jefferson was very fond of homebrewing. After retiring from public life to Monticello, he quickly developed an interest in producing his own beer, right down to roasting his own malts. Naturally, word spread and his brew became so popular that the sitting governor of Virginia and sitting President James Madison both requested his recipes (to which he replied, "No way, Jose," or something similar in his Jeffersonian wit).
Beer was thought to be so important in many bygone civilizations that the Code of Urukagina, often cited as the first legal code, even prescribed it as a central unit of payment and penance.
Today, many people drink too much because they have more than average social anxiety or panic anxiety to quell — disorders that may result, in fact, from those primeval herd instincts kicking into overdrive.
Oktoberfest is the world's largest Volksfest (beer festival and travelling funfair). Held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, it is a 16- to 18-day folk festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since the year 1810. During the event, large quantities of Oktoberfest Beer are consumed: during the 16-day festival in 2013, for example, 7.7 million litres were served.
Examining potential beer-brewing tools in archaeological remains from the Natufian culture in the Eastern Mediterranean, the team concludes that “brewing of beer was an important aspect of feasting and society in the Late Epipaleolithic” era.
At a time when drinking water was a risky proposition, brew was considered a safe alternative to death by dysentery. George Washington insisted his continental army be permitted a quart of beer as part of their daily rations during the Revolutionary War (and luckily for them, Congress agreed and upheld the request).
The Czech Beer Festival (Český pivní festival) in Prague is the biggest beer festival in Czech Republic held for 17 days every year in May. Festival visitors can taste more than 70 brands of Czech beer.
President Obama's homebrew program marks the first time a sitting president has made his own beer in the White House. Public interest in the brew has been intense ever since he got a homebrew kit for the kitchen during his first year in office... so much so that two lawyers actually requested the recipes be made public under the Freedom of Information Act. And they won!
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