Beer is the third most popular drink in the world.
This is an amazing fact in itself, but given that the only two drinks that are more popular than it are tea and water itself, it transcends from merely amazing into mindblowing.
However, before the days where you could order a delicious, healthy beer online, some incredibly bright individual needed to bring the world’s third most popular drink to the world and to find out where beer originally came from we need to go back.
Extremely far back.
The Dawn Of Beer
Part of the reason that beer is such a universal drink is that it is, quite possibly, the oldest alcoholic drink ever made, with evidence of an early brewery in Israel being traced as far back as 13,000 years ago.
What makes this even more amazing is that this predates the development of early farms and the domestication of plants for food, a period that led to the rapid growth of civilisation as we know it.
In other words, beer not only predates nearly every other drink except for water, but it also predates modern farming, cities and civilisation.
This early brewery belonged to the Natufians, an early semi-nomadic civilisation that was also one of the first to bake bread and develop agriculture. They also had the first pet dogs.
Early beer was thick, said to have the consistency of gruel or porridge, and was part of ritual feasts by the Natufians. There is a chance that the beer was initially found by accident, as almost any type of cereal can spontaneously start fermenting.
It should be said, of course, that beer did serve an important purpose in the early years of civilisation. Water sources were not always healthy, and without any other way of filtering water, there was a risk of parasites or infection when you drank up.
As a result, beer was, 13,000 years ago at least, less likely to kill you.
An Ode To The Beer Goddess
Once we hit the agricultural revolution of 10,000 BC, beer and bread were at the centre of the founding of civilisation itself and was part of the written history of ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt and Sumer.
One of the biggest examples of this led to the creation of one of the great Wonders of the Ancient World.
In Giza, Egypt, a gigantic necropolis was constructed, consisting of the Great Sphinx and the three Great Pyramids; Giza, Khafre and Menkaure.
Whilst there were being built, every worker who helped to move the sheer slabs of stone would receive five litres of beer as a daily ration.
Much like how beer was used as a safer alternative to water by the Natufians, beer to the pyramid worker was nutrition, refreshment and reward all rolled up into one drink.
It was so necessary that some archaeologists claim that had the Pharoh run out of beer, there would not only have been any pyramids but there likely would have been a revolt.
In Mesopotamia, one of the earliest written records was a 4,000-year-old poem honouring the goddess of beer and brewing, Ninkasi.