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13,000-Year-Old Man-Made Beer in World’s Oldest Brewery Proves Ancient Alcohol Consumption

Margaret Tionquiao

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Beer, one of the oldest and widely consumed drink, is the unofficial go-to drink in any culture. But, did you know that this popular drink is not as modern as it may seem? In fact, judging from recent reports, it seems that beer has ancient history, way older than we originally believed.

According to reports, in a prehistoric cave near Haifa in Israel, there lies a brewery believed to be the world’s oldest. Also included in this discovery is a residue of 13,000-year-old beer, while from studies of burial sites for semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers.

Bedrock mortars at Raqefet cave in the Carmel Mountains, northern Israel.

oldest-beer-2

Source: BBC News

Brewing beer started 5,000 years ago, says popular beliefs. Recent findings suggested that beer was not necessarily a side product of making bread. As opposed to this, an issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science suggests that beer was intended for ritual feasts to honor the dead.

“This accounts for the oldest record of man-made alcohol in the world,” Li Liu, a Stanford University professor, said.

During the research, Liu and her team were looking for clues into what plant foods the Natufian people.

oldest-beer

Source: BBC News

Liu and her team said they were looking for clues into what plant foods the people of the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods were eating. She said that this search led to the discovery of the traces of the “oldest” wheat-and-barley-based alcohol.

The ancient brew was more porridge or gruel-like.

oldest-beer

The traces were discovered in bedrock mortars carved into the cave floor. The mortars were about 60cm (24in) deep, and seems like something intended for storing, pounding, and cooking different species of plants.

The ancient booze used ingredients like oats, legumes, and bast fibers, such as flax.

oldest-beer

To top off this new discovery, the research team also recreated the ancient brew by germinating the grain to produce malt. Then, the heating and fermenting of the mash with wild yeast follows. The resulting beer appeared fermented but is probably weaker than modern beer.

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