Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Beer archaeology: "The beginnings of civilization were spurred on by fermented beverages."

Photo credit: The Smithsonian.

Many of us have been exposed to ancient narratives like this, but it's vitally important to stress the intertwined history of beverage alcohol and humankind.

I always began my beer tastings with a few riffs on the fact that fermentation is a natural process. Fundamentalists like to pretend otherwise.

I always try to ignore fundamentalists.

Beer Archaeologist: How Alcohol Shaped Our Civilization, by Paul Ratner (Big Think)

Patrick McGovern, a biomolecular archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania, has one of the coolest jobs in the world. Some have called him “the Indiana Jones of Alcohol” or “the beer archaeologist”. What he does is recreate the world's oldest drinks by finding and utilizing organic material at archaeological sites. A world authority on ancient alcoholic beverages, he’s found humanity’s oldest drinks and re-made some of them, like a beer from the legendary King Midas's court and a 9000-year-old Chinese rice and honey drink from the Neolithic period.

In a recent interview with National Geographic, McGovern shared his insights on the importance of alcohol in creating our civilization ...


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