Cheers! Scholars Brew Ancient Beer with Millennia-Old Ingredients

Biblical Archaeology Society | 5/23/2019 | Staff
moemajormoemajor (Posted by) Level 3
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An ancient beer jug from the Philistine site of Tell es-Safi/Gath. Photo: Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

What did ancient beer taste like? Modern brewers such as Dogfish Head Brewery and the Great Lakes Brewing Company have crafted beers inspired by ancient recipes, but a paper recently published in the microbiology journal mBio describes researchers actually using ancient ingredients to recreate ancient beers.

Scholars - Hebrew - University - Jerusalem - Israel

Scholars from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), Tel Aviv University, and Bar-Ilan University isolated, extracted, and sequenced yeast cells from ancient beer and mead jugs unearthed in excavations around Israel. The vessel fragments came from En-Besor in the Negev desert and a dig at HaMasger Street in Tel Aviv, two Early Bronze Age IB (c. 3100 B.C.E.) sites where there was an Egyptian presence; from an Iron Age IIA (c. 850 B.C.E.) context at the Philistine site of Tell es-Safi/Gath; and from an early Persian period (fifth-century B.C.E.) layer at Ramat Rachel, a site situated between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. In all, the researchers were able to experiment with six yeast strains extracted from 21 vessels.

“These jars date back to the reign of Egyptian pharaoh Narmer, to the Aramean king Hazael, and to the prophet Nehemiah, who, according to the Bible, governed Judea under Persian rule,” explained an IAA press release.

Excavation - HaMasger - Street - Tel - Aviv

The excavation at HaMasger street in Tel Aviv. Photo: Yoli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority.

In recreating the brews using the ancient ingredients, the researchers followed a common standard...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Biblical Archaeology Society
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