Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Everything Old is New Again

I was watching an episode of Bar Rescue, starring everybody's favorite wild-eyed wild man, Jon Taffer. Though I disagree with his advice about serving beer ice cold, I enjoy the show, if for no other reason than to watch people far more dysfunctional than I interacting in bars.

But on this episode, one of Taffer's bartender "experts" created a drink to be shared by three people using three different straws. Apart from the "backwash" issues such an arrangement might cause, I was immediately struck by the visual image of multiple straws in a drink.

For that is exactly how citizens of one of my favorite ancient world cultures--Sumer--drank their beer. Of course, it had to be flavored, usually with honey, to be a bit more palatable than it was, but the communal concept was the same.

That those Sumerians
--who also invented writing, probably to keep track of their beer supplies--probably had no idea how their beer actually became alcoholic beer was inconsequential. They knew it did, they probably didn't care how and they liked how it made them feel. So much so that Hammurabi's Code prescribed death for purveyors of watered down beer, and that death was typically Hammurabian--the offender was drowned in his own inferior product. Clearly, Hammy didn't play around when it came to his beer.

But those ancient brewers and beer lovers likely didn't realize that their prized commodity got that way because of wild yeasts flying around in the air. Today, of course, yeasts are cultivated, many of them in laboratories.
But now, homebrewers can "go ancient" by using wild yeasts instead of lab-created ones to ferment their product.

Women did the brewing in Sumer
Ever on the lookout for cool beer information, I came across this excellent column by Heather Vandenengel which explains just how the adventurous homebrewer can go "back to the future." Buying a wild yeast kit can get them where they want to go. And some who have done it seem to enjoy the local flavor of local yeasts.

The question is, will lovers of good beer want to come along for the ride?
The PubScout thinks they will.

Cheers! The PubScout

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