From the HBD Archive
From: Terry Noe <>
Subject: Re: Sumerian beer
Date: 1990-03-13 15:55:11 GMT

In HBD #376, JEEPSRUS <> says:
> I saw a glimpse of the Sacramento BEE newspaper about a week ago. They said
> that a San Fransisco based brewery (I think ANCHOR) was able to decipher
> hieroglyphics from an anchient Syrian writing which had a beer recipe!
> I think United Press did the story. Did anyone else see this?
> Apparently it was a pretty good beer, but had to be used quickly, as there
> were no hops in it as a preservative. Apparently the Syrians hadn't found
> out about hops at that point in time. I've been trying to find the article
> again, but hav'nt been successful.
I had a chance to try this beer last November when I toured the
Anchor brewery in San Francisco. According to them, they got the
recipe from an old Sumerian tablet that contained a hymn or poem to
Ninkasi, the Sumerian beer goddess.

The process they used to make it, as I recall, was roughly this: Bake a
few thousand of loaves of barley bread. Chop up a bunch of dates. Dump
it all in a bunch of water and wait. No hops, as you noted, were used.

The end result of this was pretty interesting. The taste was
somewhere between that of beer and raisin bread. The taste of the dates
was very noticeable. The baking of the grain into bread was also very
evident in the taste of the product- much different than you might get
from using a dark malt in a more conventional brew. "Ninkasi", as they
called it, was definitely worth trying once, but I can't honestly say
that I'm filled with an overwhelming desire to go back and buy a few
cases of the stuff.

Terry Noe

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