History of Beer

Learn when and where beer made history, both archaeological and written.

9500 - 8500 BC, Invention of Agriculture

Granaries for holding bulk grain were discovered in archaeological sites from the "Pre-Pottery Neolithic A" period.

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3000 BC, Invention of Straw by the Sumerians

The oldest known drinking straw was found in a Sumerian Royal Tomb of Ur, in the grave of Pu-abi, Queen of Ur. It is a golden tube, over a meter in length, with 17 lapiz lazuli segments and a silver sipping mouthpiece.

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2500 BC, Clay Tablets from Ebla, Syria

Tell Mardikh, Syria Learn More

1800 BC, Hymn to Ninkasi



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1770 BC, Hammurabi's Code of law, Babylonia



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1516 AD, Reinheitsgebot

This was a Bavarian Beer Purity Law, signed to restrict the ingredients used in brewing beer. It was proposed in 1487 AD and passed in 1516 AD.

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1592-1724 AD, Invention of Thermometer

The invention of the thermometer was achieved through a number of developments, beginning with those of Galileo Galilei, and essentially ending with those of Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit.

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1822-1895 AD, Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur was a French chemist who is highly regarded for developments in fermentation and pasteurization.

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1850 AD, Germany Isolates Lager Yeast

Germany isolates lager yeast, Saccharomyces pastorianus. By 1870 most of the breweries in Bohemia were lager breweries.

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1885 AD, Joseph William Lovibond

Joseph William Lovibond invented the first colorimeter, which was used to measure beer coloration to determine its quality. He founded a company in 1885 to manufacture his invention, named the Lovibond Comparator.

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Prohibition in America

Federal Prohibition of Alcohol was part of the United States Constitution from 1919 to 1933. It was the 18th Ammendment to the Constitution. It was ratified (passed) on January 16, 1919, and prohibited the manufacture, sale, transportation, importation, or exportation of intoxicating liquors, active one year from the ratification.

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Homebrewing Legalized

Homebrewing used to be prohibited by a federal law. This law was repealed by a Bill in November of 1978, signed by president Jimmy Carter, active 3 months later. States were then allowed to legalize homebrewing with their own laws, or modify the federal one. Almost all States have now legalize homebrewing.

Federal Law now states that individuals may brew up to 100 gallons annually, and households with 2+ adults may brew up to 200 gallons annually. Some States may have superceding laws that vary.

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