Beer is one of the oldest beverages there is. It was first discovered when grains that were grown for food got wet, fermenting. The fermentation process turned water into the beer know today. Let’s take a closer look at the history of beer and how it became a popular drink not just in Singapore, but around the world.
It was quickly discovered that fermenting everything in a single container produced better quality beer. The earliest known example of this chemically confirmed barley beer dates all the way back to between 3500 and 3100 BC in the Central Zagros Mountains of Iran. There have also been tablets in Syria dating all the way back to 2500 BC that show Elba produced several beers, including beers brewed by priestesses for religious ceremonies. One of the reasons beer was so popular was because people were unsure about the quality of their water. They may not have understood why, but people back then understood that water spread diseases such as cholera. When the Roman empire fell and the church became major landowners, it was common to find breweries inside abbeys.
Beer and Christianity
Christian monks were known to drink a lot of beer. Not only was the quality of the water dubious at best, but drinking liquids didn’t count as breaking their fast. Monks also had rules about sharing food and drink with travellers. So monasteries in the middle ages became places where people could gather for a small meal and beer. Monks began to establish what could be considered to be medieval pubs over time. This was also around the time beer was brewed domestically, especially in Britain after Henry VIII closed the monasteries following the break from Catholicism. Brewers in the middle ages would pray to their patron saints for the beer to turn out well, which is why some beers are still named after saints today. Of course, back then just about anybody could be a saint!
The Evolution of Beer
Beer is basically made by boiling malted barley with water and letting it ferment. Sometimes yeast is added to the mix to help it along, and then herbs are added to give the beer flavour. Unfortunately early beer didn’t last very long and would spoil quickly. It was possible to increase the alcohol content to improve longevity, but this was expensive. It was discovered that hops could be added to beer in the 9th century, but it took until the 13th century for this process to be perfected. It was the Germans who first discovered that hopped beer lasted longer and began exporting beer. There was even a law passed in Germany called the Reinheitsgebot (purity law). This law restricted beer ingredients to water, barley, and hops. Yeast was allowed following the discovery of the germ theory of fermentation in 1857 and the law wasn’t repealed until 1987.
It turned out that the natural climate and soil quality of Europe proved to be ideal for producing beer. The different varieties of mineral water in Europe allowed for the development of a range of different beers across Europe, such as the hard water of Ireland allowing for the creation of stout beers like Guinness. While there are a lot of major beer developers in the world, power is coming back to the people of Singapore through the creation of craft beer. These are beers made by individuals or small companies running microbreweries. These days there’s an almost unlimited amount of choice when it comes to beer, and we think that’s a great world to live in!
Try our fresh brewed beer and enjoy!