Ancient Chinese Beer!


It’s 5 O’Clock somewhere, all the time, or at least that’s what the song sings.  But, for home brewers or the beer enthusiast there’s some new old recipes trending online.

Researchers discovered ancient beer recipes from scraping the interior of ancient pottery found in the Great Plain of China.  And the scientific analysis of what was held in those vessels was surprising.  Ancient beer ingredients such as:  barley, yam and millet.  The barley’s existence in the beer rewrites a timeline and introduces barley into China much earlier than previously thought.

ancient beer


The yam and other tubers found in the ancient beer residue, is indeed, a most interesting find because the flavor profile of the old mix would have taken on a sweet and sour approach.  Would you buy the sweet potato enhanced beer on your supermarket shelf?  How about a Lily infused libation?

But, the Chinese are not newcomers to the production of bubbly brews.  Jiajing Wang and her team from the University of Stanford believe they have found evidence of the world’s oldest brewery in China dating back 9,000 years.

ancient chinese beer

In fact, researchers believe the ancient Chinese mastered the process as well as our modern brewmasters.  Although the Chinese seem to have produced and consumed the lavish lagers they didn’t write about it until at least 1250 B.C.

Wang her team believe the production and consumption of beer in ancient China might have been used in much the same way it is today, although, probably only available to society’s elite.  But, hey, a cold brewski will help smooth over the most tangled tiff between strangers.  “gam bei!”  which means empty glass in Chinese is a standard toast is a great directive when holding a delicious, frosty beer (regardless of the age of the recipe).



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