A SHORT HISTORY OF BEER & BREWING
Something that is older than written history and is the oldest written recipe in the world, must have an impressive history. So, we'll cover the basics here, but if you are really interested, pour yourself an SOB and visit the websites mentioned below.
Most historians believe that prehistoric nomads made the first beer from grain & water before learning to bake bread. Now, we’re not sure of this fact, but the Bible says that Noah's provisions included beer on the Ark. Babylonian clay tablets, circa 4300 BC, also have shared recipes for beer. We do know that beer was a part of everyday life in the Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Hebrew, Chinese, and Inca cultures.
By the Renaissance, beer brewing was a well-established world-wide, especially in Europe.
World-renowned Beck's Brewery, which is still thriving, was founded in 1553. Queen Elizabeth I was known to enjoy drinking strong ale for breakfast.
The first beer brewed in the New World was in 1587 in Sir Walter Raleigh’s colony in Virginia. However, the colonists weren't impressed, and they told Walter to request better beer from England!
Fortunately, beer brewing in the colonies improved and by 1674 Harvard College has its own brewhouse. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson operated their own private brew houses. Revolutionary soldiers received rations of a quart of beer a day. In fact, beer and bread was the mainstays of most people’s diet for centuries.
Before the 1800’s most beer was really “Ale.” The first lager was produced in Pilsen, Bohemia. By the mid-19th Century (1850’s) German immigrants had introduced cold maturation lagers to the US (Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Coors, Stroh, Schlitz, and Pabst roots begin here).
The modern era of brewing in the US began in the late 1800’s with commercial refrigeration (1860), automatic bottling, pasteurization (1876), and railroad distribution. By 1880, there were approximately 2,300 breweries in the US. But by 1935 only 160 breweries had survived Prohibition. Following the end of Prohibition, with the introduction of the beer can in 1935 beer began a fast and successful rebirth.
Today, while the brewing industry is showing only modest (or flat) growth for major brands, craft brewing has seen spectacular growth. According to the Brewers Association (the trade association for crafter brewers), craft brewing is the fastest growing segment of the US beverage/alcohol business for the third year in a row.
Oregon has become one of the leading centers for craft brewing. Even though Oregon has only about 1 percent of the U.S. population, it has 7 percent of America’s estimated 1,400 breweries and brew pubs. Craft brews make up 11 percent of Oregon beer sales; more than triple the national average of 3%. Come visit SOB to discover what is so special about craft beer.
For more detailed beer history, visit these sites that provided much of the information we have shared with you: