Could you make an ancient beer using nothing but ancient tools?

Probably, if you know how to make beer anyway.  But would it be authentic ancient beer? Archaeologists and brewmasters have been trying to make just that kind, sparing no effort to replicate a 5,000-year-old Sumerian beer using nothing more complex than clay jugs and a wooden spoon.

It's the ultimate artisan brew. 

And beer is important, not just to science (where it is vital) but to world culture - you can win any barroom debate on anthropology arguing that beer made agriculture important. And agriculture made everything else possible. It has even been argued that, due to the really nasty state of water due to poor understanding of microbiology, beer made sure humans survived where water would have killed us all off. Beer even has a special place in the Tree of Life:

The Sumerians knew this and they knew how important it was to the future - that is why some of our earliest archaeological finds in what could be considered civilization are related to making beer.  They didn't just invent the first alcoholic drink, they invented the first drinking song, called the 'Hymn to Ninkas' - obviously she was the goddess of brewing - and contained in it is the closest thing they left us to their recipe for beer. It's not precise, of course. So various efforts have been made to create something...palatable...that still seems old-timey.

Heck, even Game Of Thrones has inspired a throwback beer - they didn't call it "Don't Get Too Attached" like they should have called that whole series.  Rather than being dark and intense, like the books and television show, it is basically Budweiser, and has names like Iron Throne Blonde Ale. That's pandering, we need a truly old beer.  Not Jurassic Beer either, that was not brewed by dinosaurs, just the bacteria is 45 million years old.

Lots of companies have tried to recreate the beer our ancestors may have drank but one company is a little different: Great Lakes Brewing Company doesn't want to sell their beer, they just want to make some and see how it is. The Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago provided ceramic reproductions of vessels discovered in Iraq in the 1930s. They malted their own barley on the roof of their brew house, though a Cleveland baker made the “beer bread” active yeast. The fire that cooked the beer outside was fueled using manure.

It was pretty terrible. Hey, no one said it would be good.  Ancient brewers apparently lacked the cleaning methods to get rid of natural bacteria and that really skunks the stuff up. More evidence that those food Luddites who think the ancient world was somehow healthier are somewhat out of their minds.

Read more beer science:

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Or see hundreds more articles, because beer is that important.