The History of Beer
(In a beernut shell)
Beer dates back quite a long time ago. Yes, even before we first saw the old Hamms bear dancing to the jingle, "From the land of skyblue waters", civilizations from all over the world were enjoying various flavors and versions of the same beverage we all know well and enjoy today.
An Ancient tablet dating back to the Babylonians from 6,000 BC, describes the use of beer for sacrificial purposes. The Egyptians also discovered that by eating fruits and grains that had come in contact with airborne wild yeast, created an intoxicating effect. The Romans later found ways of controlling fermentation.
The basic techniques of brewing came to Europe from the Middle East. The Roman historians Pliny (in the 1st century BC) and Tacitus (in the 1st century AC) reported that Saxons, Celts, and Nordic and Germanic tribes drank ale. In fact, many of the English terms used in brewing (malt, mash, wort, ale) are Anglo-Saxon in origin. During the Middle Ages, the monastic orders preserved brewing as a craft.
Hops were in use in Germany in the 11th century, and in the 15th century they were introduced into Britain from Holland. In 1420 beer was made in Germany by a bottom fermentation process; before that, yeast rose to the top of the fermenting product and was allowed to overflow or was manually skimmed. Brewing was a winter occupation, and ice was used to keep beer cool during the summer months. Such beer came to be called lager (from German lagern, "to store"). The term lager is still used to denote beer produced from bottom-fermenting yeast, and the term ale is now used for top-fermented British types of beer.