Scientists Just Unearthed a 13,000-Year-Old Microbrewery, the World’s Oldest

Which also means beer is 8,000 years older than we thought

September 18, 2018 9:00 am

Old taverns have every reason to be disdainful of the last decade’s microbew explosion. While those picnic-tabled playgrounds print cash and rake in high scores on Yelp, once-indomitable corner haunts are struggling to pay the cable bill. Their one trump card, though? Legacy. Oldest in the neighborhood, country, Earth, etc. 

Which is why it’s a little ironic that the actual oldest bar in the world was a — you guessed it — microbrewery. 

According to findings published by scientists in the Journal of Arachaelogical Science, a cave outside Haifa, Israel played the role of a Natufian tribe’s “bar” about 13,000 years ago. The Natufian people were apparently some serious imbibers: they would germinate wheat, oat, barley, legumes and other plants before mashing them into a malt, adding water, heating up the mixture and allowing it to ferment. All of this transpired in mortars within the cave, which is where the archaeologists made the discovery; they were originally there to learn more about Natufian eating habits. It’s a bit of a revelation, as most aficionados date beer at about 5,000-5,400 years old.

So, natural follow-up, how crazy did Friday night get for the Natufians? Their beer would’ve been pretty thick in consistency, and low on ABV, so … tame, we’d imagine. But who knows what tolerance standards were like at the time?

N.b.: If this whole history by way of alcohol thing really works for you, check out A Short History of Drunkenness by Mark Forsyth. Plato ruminating on wine, Vikings downing mead, New York speakasy culture … it’s all there. Get it here.

h/t Neat Pour
Image from “Year One” IMDB

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