An often asked question: what was there first - beer or wine? Beer was in Mesopotamia produced at least 6,000 to perhaps even 8,000 years ago. Presumably it is still before that Wine the first alcoholic beverage produced by humans. Beer and wine were the earliest components of the drinking culture, In Egypt It was fermented with water at 4,000 BCE and made a kind of beer. The god of fertility Osiris even the Egyptians should have taught viticulture and beer production. In the Sumerian Gilgamesh which dates back to 2700 BC The story of a primeval man named Enkidu is described as "cultivated man". He is offered beer that he did not know until then. He drank seven cups of it and it was light in his heart. In this condition, he washed himself and became a human being.
In the famous codex of the Babylonian king Hammurabi (1728-1686 BC) are laws on wine and beer formulated. Among other things, brewing regulations and price caps for beer are included. In Babylonia it should already have been around 70 beers. The beers were made with myrtle, saffron and anise seasoned and preserved (which, by the way, hops are today) with ox gall and henbane. In ancient cultures, beer was usually the everyday drink of the common people. The wine (above all better) was reserved due to the more elaborate production of the ruling class and the priests.
The Roman historian Tacitus (55-120) writes about the drinking habits of the Germanic tribes along the banks of the Rhine. He reports that viticulture is unknown to them. However, they bought him from the Celts (Gauls) and Romans. However, some tribes like those of the Suebi had banned the purchase of wine. In any case, the predominant and preferred beverage of the Germanic tribes was beer. The Romans made fun of it and Emperor Julian (331-363) wrote a famous mocking poem (excerpt): What are you - a wine? Where are you from? I do not know you, I swear by the wine. The wine tastes like the gods drank, but you taste like a goose stink. A large-scale production of beer began in Europe in the 9th century at the time of the Emperor Charlemagne (742-814). As with wine, it was the monasteries of the Roman Catholic church who cultivated beer brewing. But it was not until the later Middle Ages that beer became a competing product for wine, mainly because it was burdened with high taxes and was much more expensive. In the 18th and 19th century, finally, the brewery developed into a major industry.
Water, hops and malt - nothing else . A well-known brewery advertises this slogan. These three basic ingredients are also often quoted in the Brewery's Purity Laws, the oldest dating back to the 15th century. This is to say that no additives are added. Amazingly, so will the yeast not mentioned as a component. The simple reason is that previously one did not know about the effect of yeast as an indispensable part of the brewing process. Because the fermentation done spontaneous without human intervention by yeast fungi from the air. The malt is mostly from barley, but also wheat, rice and corn by means of fermentative Process produced. By adding water and hops, a mixture is prepared for fermentation. The use of hops was first mentioned in the 8th century. This gives the typical bitter, aromatic taste and also has a preservative effect.
Malt contains a high amount of fermentable sugar, which then also by means of yeast species used in wine Saccharomyces cerevisiae is fermented. As a rule, beer has a much lower content compared to wine alcohol content between 3.5 to 6% vol. However, there are also strong beers up to 12% and more. The numerous types of beer are distinguished by the type of cereal, the type of fermentation (top-fermented, bottom-fermented), hops, original wort, color and, if necessary, additives (eg Belgian raspberry beer). In traditional wine countries like Germany and Austria the consumption of beer is still higher than wine. Beer has long lost the reputation of the "simple drink", there are already beer tastings. Incidentally, one resembles rice wine from the production much more beer than wine. Beer is the classic drink at the custom of Zutrinkens in student relations.
In the valid from 1920 to 1933 prohibition in the United States According to the provisions of the National Prohibition Act, beer was also banned because all beverages with more than 0.5% alcohol by volume were considered "heady drinks". The big beer manufacturers survived this time with the production of so-called Near Beer but many thousands of smaller breweries disappeared from the market forever.