Wine dates way back, but did you know beer pre-dates wine? Both were staple beverages since long before B.C., but back then, neither resembled how we expect them to taste according to today’s standards. As a member of your favorite Beer of the Month Club, you know the definition of beer: a fermented liquid made of hops, grain, water and yeast. Beer especially is a changed drink, as it was brewed before the discovery of hops. What type of beer you could find was determined by where your global roots were planted.

The Egyptians really favored their beer over wine, making Egyptian beer from wheat and possibly barley. A clay tablet found in Babylonia that dates from 6000 B.C. shows how beer is made, and that several types were made of both barley and honey.

Both the Chinese and the Aztec Indians made their own versions of beer long before the time of Christ. Of course, the Chinese favored using rice as the grain, while the American Aztec Indians concocted their brews using cactus plants. The Incas, who planted and harvested corn, turned to corn as their main ingredient.

The brewing and consumption of beer spread throughout the Roman Empire, and others learned from both their mistakes and their successes. The German’s were keen on their beer, and their recipes always contained barley, or wheat and honey.

In Britain, beer had been on the menu for centuries, and they were fond of using herbs for flavoring. They didn’t buy into the Roman’s use of hops. This was the catalyst that began the distinction between ale (made with herbs), and beer (made with hops). And because ale was easily brewed using local ingredients, it became the drink of the poorer classes. By the ninth century, ale houses were common in most British towns and villages.

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Amy Heydt
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