Posted on January 16, 2015
Since its origins around 4300 B.C., beer has seen many variations but the basic premises stay the same. It’s something you can always count on … a nice, cold beer at the end of a long day.
Recipes are found on Babylonian clay tablets with at least twenty types of beer. Beer is also used as a daily wage for workers.
Thanks to the Gilgamesh Epic, we know that beer is just as important as bread during these times. “…The whore opened her mouth and spoke to Enkidu: ‘Eat the bread now, O Enkidu, as it belongs to life. Drink also beer, as it is the custom of the land.'”
King Hammurabi decrees a daily beer ration for all ranks. The high priests get five liters per day while the workers gets two liters.
King Hammurabi decrees only barley be exchanged for beer. When a female saloonkeeper accepts silver for beer, King Hammurabi has her drowned.
Beer is part of one hundred medical remedies, according to Egyptians texts.
When an Egyptian man offers a woman a sip of his beer, it means they are married.
Flavoring for beer during this time includes balsam, hay, dandelion, mint, wormwood seeds, horehound juice, crab claws, and oyster shells.
During war campaigns, the Roman legions introduce beer to the rest of Europe.
After crossing the Rubicon, Caesar toasts his soldiers with beer, commencing the Roman Civil War.
The Chinese brew what they call “kiu.”
For the next five hundred years, Europe begins practicing brewing in monasteries and convents.
Beer is used for trading, payment and taxing.
Germans use barley and wheat in their beer.
A new ingredient, hops, is added to the brewing process.
In Germany, Austria, and England, beer becomes a commercial enterprise. The Germans like their beer cold so it is stored in Alpine caves. The English like it warm and store it in cellars.
Brauerei Beck becomes Germany’s first brewing guild.
Christopher Columbus comes across natives making beer from corn and black birch sap.
The Duke of Bayers-Landshu decrees that: “… beer brewers and others not use anything other than malt, hops and water. These same brewers also shall not add anything when serving or otherwise handling beer, upon penalty to body and chattels.”
In Germany, the Beer Purity law is established. It says that barley, hops and pure water are the only ingredients to be allowed in the beer brewing process.
Beck’s Brewery is founded.
For breakfast, England’s Queen Elizabeth I drinks strong ale.
Sir Walter Raleigh of Virginia is the first to brew beer in the New World. However, his fellow colonists snub his beer and request ale from England.
This is the last recording of the burning of a “brew witch.” Brew witches are women who are blamed for any brewery that goes wrong. Many innocent women died this way.
Dr. Alexander Nowell discovers that ale will last longer in corked glass bottles.
The first commercial U.S. brewery opens in New Amsterdam (what is now New York City.)
Because beer supplies are running low, the Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock.
Harvard College opens its own brewhouse.
George Washington’s personal notes reveal his personal recipe “To Make Small Beer.”
John Molson founds the Molson brewing company in what later becomes Canada.
In Pilsen, Bohemia, the first golden ale is made.
Ferdinand Carre receives a U.S. patent for the first commercial refrigeration machine.
Eberhard Anheuser, a St. Louis businessman, loans money to a local brewery and later buys the interests of minority creditors.
Heineken is founded when Gerard Adriaan Heineken purchases a brewery in Amsterdam.
The American Budweiser brewing company is founded by Adolphus Busch, son-in-law of Eberhard Anheuser, in St. Louis, Missouri.
Louis Pasteur develops the pasteurizaton process to stabilize beer.
In the USA, there are a little over 2,300 breweries.
During an African safari, Teddy Roosevelt buys 500 gallons of beer.
Ratification of the 18th amendment to the US Constitution begins the illegalization of the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol.
National Prohibition officially takes effect.
August A. Busch, head of Anheuser-Busch, makes a statement to the public regarding Prohibition: “Those who are obeying the law are being ground to pieces by its very operation, while those who are violating the law are reaping unheard-of rewards. Every rule of justice has been reversed.”
The anti-Prohibition AAPA (Association Against the Prohibition Amendment) reports that enough hops have been sold during the year to make 20 million barrels of prohibited beer. They contest that the loss in taxes on these sales is a reason to end Prohibition.
The 21st Amendment repeals the 18th Amendment, making alcohol legal again.
Elise Miller John runs Miller Brewing. She is the first woman to ever operate a major brewery.
Metal kegs are introduced in Germany.
Heineken buys the Stepan Razin brewery in St. Petersburg, Russia, raising Heineken’s Russian market share by 10%.
The first gluten-free beer is introduced by Finnish brewery Laitilan. The beer is called Kukko Pils and is the first beer to receive the international gluten-free product trademark.