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Short History of Beer

Beer is belongs the oldest beverages produced by man. Most of its history it was a dark, cloudy, unfiltered drink, which was very far from the beer that we know today. There exists evidence that beer was brewed already 5000 years ago in ancient Sumerians Empire (in present-day Iraq). Even the completely oldest recipe in the world is just Sumerian brewing instruction.

The legend says that the Sumerians discovered the fermentation process by coincidence.  No one knows today exactly how this occurred, but it could be that a piece of bread or grain became wet and a short time later, it began to ferment and inebriating pulp resulted. Pictograms shows bread being baked then crumbled into water to make a mash, which is then made into a drink. The Sumerians had discovered a “divine drink” which certainly was a gift from the gods.

Later Sumerians passed their art of brewing to Babylonian Empire. At that time, people began to experiment with flavours – adding to beer woodpeckers and various other fruits to improve the taste properly. To improve the quality of beer ancient Babylonians were drowning bad brewers in their own beer with dubious quality. Today we know that the Babylonians knew how to brew 20 different types of beer.

Hammurabi, an important Babylonian King, decreed the oldest known collection of laws. One of these laws established a daily beer ration. This ration was dependent on the social standing of the individual; a normal worker received 2 litres, civil servants 3 litres, administrators and high priests 5 litres per day. In these ancient times beer was often not sold, but used as barter.

Beer from Babylon was exported to Egypt. Egyptians were drinking beer through a straw, so they do not get into their mouth unpleasant, bitter brewing residue. Even very dubious quality beer has not turned off people of drinking beer. In the evening Egyptians were meeting in cellars and beer became the national drink combining the highest and simple classes of the population.

Beer was used in medicine. Ancient medical document drawn up around 1600 B.C., describes more than seven hundred recipes, one hundred of which contains the word “beer”!

Along with expanding the Greek and the Roman Empire across Europe and beyond its borders spread the popularity of beer. The word “beer” comes from the Latin “bibere”, which means “to drink”. For the Romans beer was considered a barbarian drink. The oldest proof that beer was brewed on German soil comes from around 800 B.C. The ancient Germans regarded beer not only a sacrifice to the gods but, as in Egypt, also brewed beer for their own enjoyment. According to the Edda, the great Nordic epic, wine was reserved for the gods; beer belonged to mortals and mead to inhabitants of the realm of the dead.

Until the Middle Ages, the brewery became a thriving industry. Originally, it was the European monks who guarded the art brew beer. The main area of ​​beer became the central Europe, especially Bohemia and started to be regarded as a world centre of brewing.

Christian abbeys, as centres of agriculture, knowledge and science, refined the methods of brewing. However, there was still very little known about the role of yeast in completing fermentation. Beer brewing played an important role in daily lives. Beer was considered a valuable foodstuff and workers were often paid with jugs of beer.

By the 15th century, there was a record of hops used in Flemish beer imported into England, and by the 16th century hops had gained widespread use as a preservative in beer, replacing the previously used bark or leaves. Perhaps the most widely known event in brewing history was the establishment of German standards for brewers. The first of these regulations was the inspiration for the Reinheitsgebot of 1516 – the most famous beer purity law. This pledge of purity states that only four ingredients can be used in the production of beer: water, malted barley, malted wheat and hops. Yeast, though not included in this list, was acceptable as it was taken for granted to be a key ingredient in the brewing process.

Czech kingdom in the Middle Ages was a cosmopolitan crossroads of Europe and brewing has all the necessary resources. Along with that, as the growing popularity and the popularity of beer (today’s beer consumption per capita in the region one of the largest in the world), the brewing industry has become an important part of the economy of the entire region and brewers began to devote themselves intensively brewing process and further enhancing.

The next great development occurred in the mid-19th century, through work done by Louis Pasteur, the first to propose an explanation of how yeast worked. Shortly thereafter, samples of Bavarian yeast provided the successful identification of a single-cell and strain of the bottom-fermenting lager yeast. German brewers had started to make beer by lagering (storing) in 1402. Brewing was not possible in the warm months because wild yeasts prevalent in the warmer weather of summertime would sour the beer. Brewers discovered that brewing in the cold months and storing the beer in caves in the nearby Alps impacted stability to the beer and enhanced it with a cleaner taste, although they did not know why.

Today, we know that the reason the beer was clearer and cleaner was due to the fermentation process the beer underwent in the cold, during which the chemicals and bacteria responsible for clouding beer were unable to thrive and were therefore filtered out of the beer.

Over the past 150 years there have been revolutionary changes pleasant for breweries. After the appearance of cold machinery there followed the breakthrough by Lorentz Entsinger – filtration of beer (1879). Since then, it became possible to filter the beer to shine – through diatomaceous earth and other materials. With the use of appropriate means of stabilizing it became possible to provide a very long shelf life of beer and thus make it independently of the time of consumption.

In the U.S. in 1919 with the introduction of Prohibition Act, this had been a critical wound for brewing. During this period, brewing plants could hold on only due to the so-called “near-beers” (Nahrbier). Because of this prohibition, repealed only in 1933, blossomed the smuggling of alcohol and aggravated criminal situation, so that the result of the action of the law can be considered as negative.

Following the prohibition World War II came, with corresponding food shortages and therefore increased substitution of adjuncts for malt – a lighter beer resulted. With a large part of the male population off fighting the war, the work force in America was made up largely of women; thus marketing to this population solidified the hold of a lighter-styled beer. Following the war, the large national breweries catered to the tastes of this expanded beer market.

Today, there is a revolution in the whole world as brewing returns to its roots, and a great variety of high-quality beers are being brewed on the micro and mini breweries in the pub and restaurants.

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Micro breweries/Микропивоварни

Mini breweries/Минипивоварни