Where was the first beer brewed
History of beer
4000 BC, somewhere between the Euphrates and the Tigris: a Sumerian bread baker leaves the dough in the sun for too long, according to legend. The yeast cultures then start a fermentation process. The result is a sticky, sticky mass with an intoxicating effect, the forerunner of today's beer.
The Sumerians, who at that time populated Mesopotamia, developed the beer culture. These highly developed people already knew four different methods of making beer from fermented bread dough. Sumerian women, for example, preferred emmer beer. This is the first cultivated type of wheat in human history, very similar to spelled.
But also in Egypt, in the land of the pharaohs and pyramids, people loved the forerunner of today's beer. Wall paintings and characters testify to this. Beer is also mentioned in the Gilgamesh epic, one of the oldest works in world literature, which was written in Babylonia around 2000 BC. It says: "Now eat the bread, O Endiku, because that is part of life, also drink the beer, as is the country's custom."
Drinking beer also became a custom among the Germans. This is proven by numerous finds of beer amphorae from around 800 BC. Incidentally, brewing beer fell within the remit of women among the Germanic tribes.
In the early Middle Ages, the art of brewing beer was further developed, especially in the monasteries. A chronicle from the year 820 AD mentions the Swiss monastery of St. Gallen as the first brewery under the management of monks. The monks brewed on a large scale, competing with the smaller bourgeois breweries.
The friars planted hop gardens and constantly refined the taste of the beer. But they also worked hard to make a nutritious and strong beer. This was important to them in order to be able to circumvent the severe restrictions of the meager fasting period. After all, the rule was: "What is liquid does not break a fast."
According to legend, the beer-brewing monks sent a sample of their special beer over the Alps to Rome as a precaution. The Pope should make sure that they were really allowed to drink this drink during Lent.
The brew did not survive the long journey unscathed and came as a sour broth in front of the Pontifex Maximus. He saw the dubious consumption of this broth as a repentance rather than a joy and gave his blessing.
The monks were of course very happy about the papal release. The monastery beer business flourished and many monasteries became wealthy and famous for their brewing skills.
The secular brewing industry in the Middle Ages
With the opening of the international trade routes, the era of the great merchants, the rich craftsmen and the guilds began. Of course, beer brewers also benefited from the economic boom, especially in the Hanseatic cities.
Bremen developed into the most important brewing trading center: From there, large quantities of export beer went to Holland, Flanders, England and Scandinavia. At that time Hamburg was known as "the brewery of the Hanseatic League".
In the 16th century, barley juice was fermented here in 600 breweries. In some towns and villages, the brewing industry was the most important employer. The northern German town of Einbeck also made a name for itself as a brewing metropolis. At that time, the beer from northern Germany had a much better reputation than that from the Bavarian breweries.
Of course, there were also misconduct in the expanding brewing industry. Quite a few brewers were exposed as beer fanatics who wanted to enrich themselves at the expense of the drinkers.
Especially in Augsburg, the beer thinners must have driven it badly. Emperor Friedrich I - better known as Barbarossa - felt compelled to instruct the bailiff of the city in 1156 to impose a fine of five guilders if bad beer was served.
In other cities too, people tried to get a grip on the problem. A nationwide ordinance followed on April 23, 1516. On that day, Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria and his brother Ludwig X. decreed that only barley malt, hops and water were to be used for the production of beer - the purity law was created.
Industrial revolution, also for beer
Technical progress also changed the beer economy. When the first steam-powered train from Nuremberg to Fürth started puffing in motion in 1835, it was loaded with something valuable: beer.
The construction of the rail network revolutionized transport and offered new possibilities for delivering the foaming brewery product. When the French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur, born in 1822, dealt with yeast and its role in the brewing process in his scientific work, his research results also brought new insights into beer production.
Until then, the mushroom cultures did their job rather uncontrollably during the brewing process. The beers were always inedible. Louis Pasteur discovered that there are two different types of yeast, top-fermented and bottom-fermented.
Bottom-fermenting yeast sinks to the bottom towards the end of the fermentation process, top-fermenting yeast rises due to its larger cell surface. The carbonic acid pushes them up. Both types of yeast ferment the sugars differently and produce different by-products.
Chunks of ice from the pond helped the beer over the summer
Modern times brought new inventions - and with them the solution to old problems. The beer likes it cold. In the past, people saw huge pieces of ice from frozen ponds in winter. These chunks of ice then saved the beer in specially prepared ice cellars over the summer.
The brewers were spared this great effort thanks to the invention of Carl von Linde, who had completed the prototype of his refrigeration machine in 1873. Of course, it was a brewery that supported and promoted Linde's work in advance as a sponsor.
The newly developed cooling system not only ensured that the beer was always at a good temperature, it also made it possible to brew bottom-fermented beer in summer. In contrast to top-fermenting yeast, which prefers temperatures between 15 and 20 degrees, bottom-fermenting yeast needs a brewing temperature of four to nine degrees Celsius.
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