Historians submit that human beings have been around for about 100,000 years, and informed that in the first 90,000 years, the world achieved absolutely nothing at all. Then Beer came; and then put an end to primitivism and kick-started the age of creativity and invention.
That Beer happened, and changed the world forever sounds almost too bizarre to be true, but many anthropologists and archaeologists now believe that it was a taste for beer, not bread, that prompted people to start farming barley in around 9000BC.
Known as the agricultural revolution, “beering” actually ended hunter-gathering and led to the world's first ever civilisation - Mesopotamia. The drive to grow more barley in order to make more beer, led to a cascade of inventions. The plough, the wheel, irrigation, mathematics and even writing, all of these world-changing innovations were dreamed up to help with the production and distribution of beer.
As Egypt took over from Mesopotamia, in the Land of the Pharaohs beer was the national currency, a dietary staple and even an important medicine. Even in more recent times, beer's hidden hand has been behind some of history's most remarkable breakthroughs, from the discovery of germ theory and modern medicine, to the invention of refrigeration, the birth of the factory and the end of child labour. Beer didn't just change the world, historians claim it saved it!
To quote historian Gregg Smith: “Beer changed the course of human history. Not once, not twice, but over and over again.”
It wasn’t just the Sumerians and Mesopotamians who enjoyed the odd glass of cerveza. The Egyptians were also big boozers. Ra wasn’t just the God of life and love, but beer too – a pretty neat combination.
The labourers who built the pyramid of Giza received seven pints of beer a day in payment, making the total bill for that job, 1,489,199,995 pints. For the Egyptians it was not just a form of currency but a staple food (school boys would drink a bowl for breakfast producing, I guess, a different kind of Ready Brek glow) and beer was also used to treat illnesses.
In the last few years researchers found the presence of the antibiotic tetracycline (which was only ‘discovered’ in 1948) in the bones of Egyptian mummies. After some more research they found the only place this could have come from was the beer drunk at the time. In fact fast forward a few thousand years and beer was the basis of modern medicine too.
By the 16th Century, the average annual consumption of beer in Britain was 530 pints for every man, woman and child – three times the amount we drink today. Monks were the original master brewers and the church became rich on the back of their skill then as entrepreneurs took over, beer spearheaded the creation of trade, commerce, banking and finance
Beer’s influence on technology continued unabated into the 20th Century. It gave us refrigeration after the brewing industry financed research into the process to keep lager chilled and it revolutionised industry when Michael Owens built the first automated production line to make beer bottles in 1904 – some 10 years before Henry Ford took the credit with his cars (as Ford said: “History is bunk’).
Beer gets a bad press, owning to many misconceptions. It’s regularly blamed for many of society’s ills but the reality is that society as we know it is, in large part at least, only here because of it. So, next time anyone tells you how evil beer is, remind them that some of the best ideas come when you drink.
Today, there are about forty thousand types of beer in the world in an industry that employs millions of people directly and indirectly. However, the world of beer is still shrouded in many myths and misconceptions. Some of these are easy to contemplate, while others, downright ridiculous.
Beer is an alcoholic beverage that carries a lot of benefits and myths. Interestingly, scientists have found that moderate drinkers who drink regularly but only in small amounts had lower body weights than their non-drinking peers and those who drank a lot at once.
There are at least two ways in which an alcoholic beverage such as beer might impact beneficially on the body:
First, through a direct physiological impact on bodily tissues and functions; Second, through indirect impact, but founded equally on a physiological interaction
All the benefits of beer are however, functions of moderate consumption. Scientists and Nutritionists have submitted that moderation level of beer consumption is beneficial to cardiovascular health. Dr. Henk Hendricks, a biologist and a project leader in the Institute for Food and Nutrition in The Netherlands, explained at a Beer and Lifestyle symposium in Lagos last Tuesday.
He explained that virtually all processes contributing to Cardio Vascular Diseases, CVD are beneficially effected. These effects, he said, substantiate the causal relation between moderate alcohol consumption and CVD .These effects, according to him, have been observed in all groups studied (young – old, men – women)
According to Hendricks, some of the inherent advantages of beer include: Low percentage of alcohol; large quantities of water; its role in rehydration; a good source of minerals; a good source of polyphenolic antioxidants; contains anti-inflammatory xanthohumoles; and a large variety of raw materials, including gluten-free' Rich in fibers.