Everything you need to know about beer, the origin of this alcoholic drink

Tout savoir sur la bière, l'origine de cette boisson alcoolisée - Bière Ribella

We all know beer! You taste it almost frequently, but do you have any idea of ​​its origin? Legend has it that it was the result of chance. Its origin dates back to more than 5,000 years BC according to the first writings discovered in Mesopotamia. In this article we present to you the history of beer by presenting the major periods which marked its creation.

Beer in very ancient times and in Egypt

In ancient times

In the 20th century, discoveries made in Mesopotamia revealed that there was a fermented drink made with barley, spelled and wheat which would be the ancestor of beer . Indeed, thousands of years ago, the inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia ate a dry and safe cereal-based bread that they had to immerse in water to help it soften. It is possible that one day, the bread would be forgotten in the water and over the days, the leaven of the bread had fermented thus transforming the mixture into beer.

Beer, in ancient Greece, was used for medicinal purposes. It was often used as a currency of exchange, as a gain after a service rendered, but as a drink during festivals or as an offering for a divinity. Being expert traders, they introduced beer to Spain, Germania and Gaul.

For the Gauls, beer was a real asset. They considered it as resistance to the Romans who were invading them. They nicknamed it “the cervoise” to honor their divinity Ceres, goddess of the harvest. They invented barrels to promote the fermentation and storage of this cervoise which served as their salvation. The first cervoise brewers were the monks.

In Egypt

In ancient Egypt and Babylon, beer was a national drink known as barley wine. It was made from cereals and water exposed to the sun, the source of its alcoholic fermentation. This drink served as a therapeutic drink and was appreciated by the majority of the population at that time.

Beer and the Middle Ages

In the 7th century, the first monastery dedicated to the manufacture of beer was established by King Dagobert. The grouping of brewers and the regulation of the production of monks' beer were instituted by Charlemagne (son of King Dagobert). Brewing was entrusted to monks and inspectors were appointed to control the quality of the beer. Also, to allow travelers to quench their thirst with beer, each monastery had a brewery.

Around the 1070s, a woman (Abbess Hildegard of Bingen) discovered the usefulness of hops which were used in the making of beer. Hops are renowned for their antiseptic properties, giving beer its bitter taste and promoting its preservation . It was during this period that the name brewer was born in Belgium to name the person responsible for stirring the mixture of water and malt (pitch).

It was only in the 13th century that beer manufacturing began and brewing was no longer only at the level of monasteries. The "Guild" corporation created by the brewers proves the rise of beer manufacturing as an economic activity in its own right .

Beer during the Renaissance and Industrial Revolution

During the Renaissance

During the Renaissance, beer making had become codified and regulated in France . The brewers of Paris acquired their status in 1489 and beer became the official name given to the drink. Its production is only recommended for brewers who have acquired the status and the ingredients used in its production were water, hops and grain.

During the industrial revolution

The fall of royalty in 1789 led to the sale of the abbeys. Independent breweries are becoming numerous. Thus, drinking beer became a pleasure that not everyone could indulge in anymore.

Beer, especially fermentation, remains a myth that no one has been able to deduce. Louis Pasteur after his studies in 1857 made the discovery of bacteria existing in yeast. The industrial revolution brought about the mastery of the procedure by which fermentation takes place in order to eliminate bacteria. Machines which provide industrial cold (square machine) were made available to breweries allowing them to work all the time without running any risks.

Beer these days

With the advent of craft beers, brewing and marketing beer is a process that has evolved significantly. Indeed, a wide variety of beer is brewed: white, flavored, amber, etc. Old methods of brewing beer are gradually disappearing in favor of easy and automatic methods which reduce the burden on brewers. But it should be noted that the evolution of technology and the change in the method of manufacturing beer does not change its quality or its taste. These methods only make it possible to lighten the task for brewers and allow their often overflowing creativity to express themselves.

(Article written by students as part of an internship at the brewery.)

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