2nd September 2022

The History of Brewing & Beer

Beer is one of the most loved drinks in the UK, or we could even say the world. It’s been popular ever since its creation, which we’re going to talk about in this blog post!

Now, you might not be thinking about the history of brewing when you’re downing a few pints at your local, but it’s an extremely interesting read and a story that every beer-lover should enjoy.

Let’s get into it!


The Beerginning

It’s not known exactly when beer and brewing were first discovered, but many point towards the hunter-gatherers of over 12,000 years ago. As they grew crops such as wheat and started developing their grain agriculture, a genius invention or simply a happy accident occurred in the form of brewing. A fermentation process begins when grain gets wet due to the yeast in the air, creating what is now recognised as beer. Many anthropologists attribute this discovery to the further development of civilisation’s agriculture – who would have thought that agriculture would advance due to ancient people wanting to brew more beer?

the history of beer and brewing

Brewing up a Story

Beer was just as popular thousands of years ago as it currently is today. Mesopotamia is a historical region of Western Asia, it included present-day Iraq, Kuwait and parts of Iran, Turkey, and Syria. The people of Mesopotamia absolutely adored beer, so much so that in many of their historic paintings, poems and mythology, Gods and people are depicted drinking beer! However, the beer during the Mesopotamia times wasn’t anything like how it looks today. When you think of beer, you’re probably picturing a cold glass filled with delicious golden liquid and topped with frothy goodness – well, the beer of the past had the consistency of porridge and people drank it through a special straw designed to avoid the lumps. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Evidence of beer existing during this time was found by archaeologists who discovered ceramic pots estimated to be from 3400 BC which still contain beer residue!

Sumerians and Mesopotamians were entitled to a ration of beer each day and credited the beverage to the goddess Ninkasi, the “lady who fills the mouth”. These ancient people loved beer so much that they believed it was a God’s gift. Known as the Goddess of Beer, Ninkasi had a song of praise dedicated to her from the Sumerians called the Hymn to Ninkasi. Written in 1800 BC, here’s one excerpt of the translated hymn:

“It is you who handle the … and dough with a big shovel, mixing, in a pit, the beerbread with sweet aromatics. Ninkasi, it is you who handle the … and dough with a big shovel, mixing, in a pit, the beerbread with sweet aromatics.”

history of beer

Entering Egypt

The brewing process soon spread to different parts of the world, including ancient Egypt. Because grain was so easy to grow, beer became a massive part of Egyptian culture – at the time, it was actually a lot healthier than water. Similar to the Sumerians, ancient Egyptians also had a Goddess of beer, her name was Tenenit, and many Egyptian workers received beer rations as a reward for their hard work. As you can probably tell from the two Goddesses, women were known as the brewers of ancient times. It’s not clear specifically why women were handed this task, though this tradition carried on all throughout the Middle Ages.

When Greeks took over Egypt, they saw beer as a significant downgrade from what they were already brewing themselves; wine. Grape vines were not very commonly found or grown in Egypt, which is why the Egyptians were very set on beer rather than wine; they did add dates to their beer to add flavour though!

history of brewing

Hopping into Action

Brewing didn’t progress much until the 9th century, when the Germans found that beer could be flavoured using hops! It took them 4 more centuries to perfect hopped beer but when they did, the time it took was more than worth it. This kickstarted the export trade in beer because hopped beer lasts a lot longer than how they previously brewed their beer. Guidelines and rules were made for the brewing of this beer, including that beer could only contain water, barley, and hops. A couple of hundred years later, yeast was added to this list.

hop vines

Booze in Britain

Here in the UK, we’ve all got something to be proud of in the form of our pub culture and of course, our ‘session beers’ – beers with a lower alcohol content so that you can down pints all night. However, how did our much-beloved beverage first enter Britain?

Back in 2019, archaeologists discovered evidence of the first ever beer brewed in the UK. Whilst working on road improvements in Cambridgeshire, they found fragments of charred residue from the brewing process, believed to be dated around 400BC. As well as this, historians have speculated that when the Romans invaded Britain, they found tribes brewing a type of beer named curmi.

pub interior

Create your own History with Trust Inns

We’ve come so far in the beer scene and beer has a long and detailed history all throughout the world – this blog post was just a taster of some of the key moments in brewing.

Without beer, the world just wouldn’t be the same, especially not our fantastic pub culture. And without our amazing tenants, our Trust Inns pubs wouldn’t be the same! Here at Trust Inns, we have a wide range of pubs to let all over the UK, ready for you to step into the pub industry, be the heart of your community and serve refreshing, cold pints of beer. We make sure to look for tenants that would really suit being in this industry and will add their personality and a bit of flair to the pub they run. If you do decide to run a Trust Inns pub, we’ll help you every step of the way, from training sessions to advice and marketing information and assistance. We’re here for you and we truly want every single one of our tenants to succeed. Have a question? Contact us and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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