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Monday, June 15, 2009

9000-year Old Brew On Shelves Now!

Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats in Delaware is offering a few new brews this season - one of which is based on a recipe over 9000 years old! Detailed by an archaeologist a few years back, the formula for Chateau Jihau is based on chemical analysis from pottery found in Jihau, China. Ingredients include rice, honey, and fruit.

Dogfish is offering consumers another ancient recipe this summer, as well: Sahtea. An updated version of the 9th-Century Finnish potable, sahti, the owner of Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats, Sam Calagione, put together the hard way: with freshly-picked juniper berries shipped to him from Finland.

A few years back, another major, American brewer used ancient references to recreate ancient brews. Anchor Steam did this in 1989 by following the "recipe" included in the Sumerian hymn to Ninkasi, Goddess of Brewing. Dogfish Head's recipe came from Patrick McGovern, a molecular archaeologist from the University of Pennsylvania, and an avid craft brewer. McGovern offered the recipe to several breweries and thought Dogfish Head's was the best.

Dogfish Head has one more ancient beer recipe to bring us this summer: Theobrama. First brewed in 2008, Theobrama is based on chemical analysis of pottery found in the Honduras. One of the foremost ingredients is chocolate.

While researching the Sumerian recipe, the team at Anchor Steam came across a theory which posited that the first nomads (hunter/gatherers) were persuaded to settle not to bake bread, but to brew beer! The baking of bread and brewing of beer are closely intertwined.

© C Harris Lynn, 2009

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