Archeological evidence shows that beer was first brewed in Samaria and Iran several thousand years ago. During the Middle Ages, it was used to pay taxes and as a tithe to the church. In many locations, beer was consumed because it was safer than drinking water. There are now several large international companies and hundreds of micro-breweries producing this popular drink. While Yuengling Brewery of Pottsville, Pa., is the oldest in the United States having opened in 1829, others in Europe began producing beer centuries earlier. The following is a list of the oldest breweries still in operation.