History of Homebrewing

A light hearted look at homebrewing for Thanksgiving- The Professor

From the AHA: no author mentioned

The Dawn of Beer & Civilization

In the beginning, there was beer. It was good. Well, maybe not that good, and maybe not quite at the beginning, but there are some who argue that agriculture and civilization came about because people wanted beer. In any case, people were brewing beer in small batches 12,000 years ago, at about the same time and geographic locations where people started to transition from nomadic lifestyles to agriculture.

Ancient Sumer Brew

Beer was so important to the ancient Sumerians that they actually had a goddess of beer named Ninkasi—yep, that’s right, a goddess, in Sumerian society, women were the primary brewers.

Beer in the New World

Fast forward to the year 1587 in colonial Virginia; Europeans produced the first homebrew made from corn in what would become the United States.

Thirsty Pilgrims

In 1620, pilgrims from England landed at Plymouth Rock, well north of their intended destination. Who could blame them? They were out of beer, so they had to get off the boat and brew. In fact, beer was deemed so important that one of the first buildings constructed at Plymouth was a brewery. Remember that when preparing your next Thanksgiving dinner.

The Wisdom of the Colonists

During North America’s colonial period, homebrewing was a common household task. Back then, people had a distinct distrust of water, but thankfully water could be transformed into beer, which not only tasted better, but, unlike water, beer was not hospitable to pathogens. Oh, and in colonial America, as with the ancient Sumerians, women did most of the brewing.

We Hold this Homebrew to be Self-Evident

Did you know many of the United States’ founders were homebrewers? George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were both homebrewers (although, in the case of Jefferson, his wife Martha did more brewing than he did).

When Homebrewing Is Outlawed, Homebrewers Will Be Outlaws

When the United States enacted Prohibition in 1919, making beer and wine at home became an illegal activity. Despite their new status as outlaws, few homebrewers took to wearing cowboy hats and six-shooters.

Celebrating the 21st Amendment with an Outlaw Brew

In 1933, Prohibition came to an end with the passage of the 21st Amendment. However, a clerical error resulted in the absence of the two very important words “and beer” from the statute that legalized home winemaking. Homebrewers would have to wait several more decades to shed their outlaw status.
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