Oldest Evidence Of Beer Was Found On A Sumerian Tablet

Question: Who invented beer?

Answer: The first known beer was called kui, brewed by the ancient Chinese around 7,000 BC. Kui was made from rice, honey and fruit, but the first barley beer was most likely born in the Middle East. However, the oldest evidence of beer is believed to be a 6,000-year-old Sumerian tablet depicting people drinking a beverage through reed straws from a communal bowl. In Mesopotamia (ancient Iraq), there is early evidence of beer in form of a 3,900-year-old Sumerian poem honoring Ninkasi, the patron goddess of brewing, which contains the oldest surviving beer recipe, describing the production of beer from barley via bread. Archeologists have unearthed ceramic vessels from 3400 B.C. still sticky with beer residue, and 1800 B.C.’s “Hymn to Ninkasi”—an ode to the Sumerian goddess of beer—describes a recipe for a beloved ancient brew made by female priestesses.

In ancient Mesopotamia, clay tablets indicate that the majority of brewers were probably women, and that brewing was a fairly well respected occupation during the time. The fermented cereal beverage

The Ebla tablets, discovered in 1974 in Ebla, Syria, show that beer was produced in the city in 2500 BC. Early traces of beer and the brewing process have been found in ancient Babylonia as well. The ancient Babylonians, the descendants of the Sumerian people, were brewing at least 20 different varieties of beer by 2000 B.C At the time, brewers were women as well, but also priestesses. Some types of beers were used especially in religious ceremonies. In 2100 BC, the Babylonian king Hammurabi included regulations governing tavern keepers in his law code for the kingdom.

Beer was part of the daily diet of Egyptian pharaohs over 5,000 years ago. Then, it was made from baked barley bread, and was also used in religious practices.

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Ragnar Larsen

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