Beer is one of the oldest drinks the world has ever known. International Beer Day gives fans worldwide just one more excuse to have a round on the first Friday in August. Beer has a reputation as the drink of choice for the ordinary working man or woman. When it’s served up cold and frothy or strong and we celebrate International Beer Day on the first Friday in August every year – August 7, 2020 –, when summer’s end begins to loom large. The start of another weekend beckons us to put aside our work, set aside differences, and come together to celebrate our shared love of beer.
Beer somehow manages to do what politicians have tried to do for centuries – unite people in a common cause for good. Our insatiable thirst for beer gives us reason to pause; to stop what we’re doing, sit down and converse with one another over a pint or two. The conversation may be pleasant or not, calm or animated, but somehow beer makes it possible to agree to disagree and still walk away friends. Plenty of us have no doubt solved many of the world’s problems over a few pints of beer.
Celebrating mankind’s common thirst for what is likely the world’s oldest and most beloved beverage is what International Beer Day is all about. Humans have been fascinated with beer since the first grains were accidentally discovered to have fermented, producing a bubbly aromatic product that someone dared to taste then drink, did not die but instead felt a lovely little buzz, smiled and said, “Wow.” Mankind has been obsessed ever since with perfecting beer recipes and brewing processes in pursuit of the next “Wow.”
Beer has been consumed by almost every culture throughout human history. The oldest evidence of man’s obsession with brewing beer dates back to ancient Babylonia and Mesopotamia. Archaeologists have unearthed recipes for beer that were written on clay tablets in 4300 B.C., and ceramic vessels from 3400 B.C. that are still sticky with beer residue. Everyone drank beer in ancient Egypt: pharaohs, peasants, priests, even children, as part of their everyday diet.
What may be the first song about beer, “Hymn to Ninkasi”—an ode to the Sumerian goddess of beer—dates back to 1800 B.C. and includes a recipe for a beer brewed by female priestesses.
By the Middle Ages, Christian monks were brewing beers, and introduced the use of hops. Until then, beers were brewed with local additives like dates and olive oils to add flavor. Today’s beers continue to be brewed with hops, herbs, or fruits that add flavor. Macro, micro, or craft, the art of brewing beer today remains a craft that employs age-old techniques carefully perfected over centuries and millennium.
Courtesy of National Today