Beer in the Ancient Age
The writing gave rise to history, and it is in this initial period called Ancient Age where we find the first records of beer making. It was the first civilizations that left written testimony of this drink. We have to move toSumer and Egypt to find the first representations of beer.
It is on Sumerian tablets that the words kas and sikaru that mean beer appear, although we can also translate it as an intoxicating drink. Because of the psychotropic effects of alcohol, beer was linked to the spirit world. Among these tablets thedo el Hymn to Ninkasí, who is the Sumerian goddess of beer. These ancient peoples used beer as magic medicine for the sick and for divine purposes. Its importance was such that they even used it as a currency.
Also in Sumeria we find cylindrical stamps showing various people of royalty and nobility as they drink beer from a large container through long straws. In the case of people belonging to the highest ranks of society, these straws were lavishly ornamented with metals and precious stones.
Already theHammburabi Code legislated on this drink in Babylon to preserve order. For example, it established the amount of cereal that a tavern owner should receive in exchange for a certain volume of beer. The code also provided for penalties for those who produced low-quality beer.
We move to Ancient Egypt to discover themalting techniques. After germinating and drying the cereal, they mixed the aqueous mass with honey and fruits, such as dates, in order to obtain a high alcoholic volume. The truth is that there were multiple recipes and qualities of beer, about 20 different ones. Therefore, the consumption of a certain style of beer indicated social and personal status. Some categories of beer served as an offering to the gods in the temples and accompanied the dead at funerals. This is reflected in the entrances of some constructions.
Our drink was called heneket in Ancient Egypt, and was linked to the god Osiris, who had the power of regeneration and provided the achievement of crops and the rise of the Nile. According to the hieroglyphs, thea brewing was a chore for women. We also know this thanks to the models found in the graves and which detail the manufacturing process.
As it is a food made with cereals, the popular classes participated in its consumption and it was the basis of the diet as it is today with bread. In fact, unlike today's beer,Egyptian beer was thick. It had more in common with porridge than with the rods of the bar, although sometimes they also filtered it.
When we think of beer during the Ancient Age, we have to think of civilizations whose main sustenance was cereal. Brewing allowed them to conserve surplus grain, since they were sedentary societies that practiced agriculture. In addition to feeding,drinking beer prevents illnesses from drinking bad water. Brewing beer was a way to stabilize, disinfect, and preserve cereal production.