Sunday, 26 June 2016

Writing - Why have we always brewed?

It seems to be taboo to touch alcohol these days but we've been producing it for millennia! I often wonder why we as humans produce it if its so bad for us.

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The fact is that humans of all nations, colours and creeds have produced alcoholic drinks of one form or another. I wonder if your allowed to say that having a recreational drink is 'human nature'?


Beer may have been brewed in China up to 5000 years ago. Researchers have discovered traces of barley and equipment used in fermentation dating from between 3400 and 2900 BC. The find suggests that the Chinese adopted the process around the same time as the Egyptians and Iranians

Iran, Egypt and Mesopotamia

Beer is one of the oldest beverages humans have produced, dating back to at least the fifth millennium BC and recorded in the written history of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. As almost any cereal containing certain sugars can undergo spontaneous fermentation due to wild yeasts in the air, it is possible that beer-like beverages were independently developed throughout the world soon after a tribe or culture had domesticated cereal. Chemical tests of ancient pottery jars reveal that beer was produced as far back as about 7,000 years ago in what is today Iran. This discovery reveals one of the earliest known uses of fermentation and is the earliest evidence of brewing to date. In Mesopotamia, the oldest evidence of beer is believed to be a 6,000-year-old Sumerian tablet depicting people drinking a beverage through reed straws from a communal bowl. A 3900-year-old Sumerian poem honouring Ninkasi, the patron goddess of brewing, contains the oldest surviving beer recipe, describing the production of beer from barley via bread.

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However, there is a story worth considering.

Here is how the story likely began -- a prehistoric human picked up some dropped fruit from the ground and popped it unsuspectingly into his or her mouth. The first effect was nothing more than an agreeably bittersweet flavor spreading across the palate. But as alcohol entered the bloodstream, the brain started sending out a new message -- whatever that was, I want more of it!

So it was probably a pleasant taste and experience that has generated a habit common across the world. No religious connotations, no health aspects just something that ancient man discovered accidentally - serendipity.

The fact that the word spread across tribes and peoples from all round the world was because of the intensity of the pleasure obtained from the alcohol.

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The main reason for the ubiquitous nature of alcohol is the fact that you can produce it from virtually every grain, fruit and vegetable. So there are few barriers to its production. In fact in parts of Africa I have heard of an alcoholic drink produced from fermented coconut milk. There is no barrier.

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Home brewing

As a poor student and a newly qualified and underpaid teacher I brewed my own wine with varying degrees of success. The greatest disaster was 15 litres of beetroot wine which was supposed to be like a rich claret but came out tasting of soil!!!!

One of the nicest home-made wines I have sampled is banana.

God Bless