It’s no secret that we love quality beers, especially craft beers brewed by traditional methods with all the depth and flavour that brings. But we also get excited about the fact that we are in good company – as beer has been a much-loved beverage for literally thousands of years.
Formulas for its production are the oldest recipes in the world. Chemical tests carried out on ancient pottery jars have shown that beer was being produced and stored 7,000 years ago in fact!
There’s also a rather fun 6,000-year-old stone engraving from ancient Mesopotamia, that’s believed to show a group of people drinking beer from a communal bowl, using reed straws. (Not sure we fancy that.)
If you think that the invention of beer was kind of cool in its own right, then you will be even more interested in what happened next. Because the invention of both beer and bread are believed to be the bases of all innovation thereafter. How’s that for significance!
The process of taking grains and transforming them in to something more complex (but delicious) was one of the first experiments in the whole of history. It inspired future experimentation with natural ingredients and processes.
The ancient Egyptians used beer as part of their religious ceremonies. The Greek philosopher Plato wrote “He was a wise man who invented beer.”
Its popularity grew over the centuries, due to the fact it was safer than drinking water, it had nutritional benefits and it was a great way of using and “storing” grains and fruits.
One of the first commercial adopters of the concept of fermentation and brewing beer on large scale, were monasteries, including many across Belgium.
Soon, beer entered into everyday life and was drunk across all sectors of society in Europe. It was even issued as part of rations for troops and sailors, as a quick and easy way to hydrate and provide energy for combat!
When the industrial revolution happened, so did mass production. Beer became a global industry, with some truly huge brands dominating its production and distribution. It’s set to be worth a colossal $314.8 billion to the world economy by 2020.
However, The Belgian Life works hard to form partnerships with breweries and monasteries who still use artisan methods and traditional equipment and skills.
Why? Because the beer tastes better for sure. But also, there is a romance and a connection to history that we like. And in Belgium, quality beer is a lifestyle choice, linked to simpler and more relaxing times and situations. So why over complicate it?
So, here’s to the ancient inventors, the traditional brewers and the modern-day imbibers!