BreweryNewsThe History of Beer and Brewing: Part 1

November 28, 2021by Fenelonbrewco

The History of Brewing Beer

Part I

Techniques for beer brewing have changed immensely over the years thanks to the development of easier and more accessible brewing practices, technology, and the development of new beer flavours. Although the process of brewing beer has changed immensely to make it easier, it’s stayed the same at its roots. Beer is still brewed using four main ingredients, water, malt, hops, and yeast. 

Where did Beer Start?

Did you know beer is one of the oldest drinks humans have made?

Even though the start of brewing beer and the original brewmaster is impossible to know for sure, it’s believed that the creation of beer dates back over 12,000 years. This time period was known as the Neolithic Period, which was the final part of the Stone Age, and led to the development of farming instead of the previous hunt and gather lifestyle. Due to the development of farming, beer was believed to have been discovered because people were farming cereal that would undergo fermentation from wild yeast that was floating through the air. 

Although it is believed beer brewing started in the Neolithic Period, the first actual proof of beer brewing wasn’t until about 7,000 years ago. This proof was ancient pottery from Iran, which was discovered to have been used for fermentation, making it the earliest evidence of beer making.  

How Is Beer Brewed Today?

At its roots, the process of brewing beer has stayed the same.

To make beer, it takes the same main ingredients as always water, malt, and yeast. In modern-day brewing, hops are also added to help improve the flavour of the beer.

The first thing you need in order to brew beer, beer, and the main ingredient in it, is water. Water is the main ingredient used in beer production as it makes up 90 to 95 percent of the product. This is why it’s incredibly important to use good quality water. In our beer, we use local water from the Kawartha Lakes, as the natural minerals in the water help add to the flavour of the final product. Next, malt is added to the water. This is an essential step in the process since malt has an enzyme in it that helps change starches into sugars. Once the change from starch to sugar is complete, yeast is added to the mixture. The yeast consumes the sugars formed from the malt and turns them into alcohol in a process called fermentation. Once the fermentation process begins to slow down, hops are added to the beer. The addition of hops adds bitterness, flavour, stability and shelf life, and aroma to the beer. Once this process is complete, your beer is ready to be put into bottles and drunk!

How Has Beer Changed Over the Years?

There have been many changes made to beer and the brewing process over the years.

First off, hops also weren’t initially used in the beer-making process. Hops weren’t commercially used in beer until 1412, when they started using them in England. Hops became more widely used after 1516 when Bavarian Purity Law was introduced in Bavaria. 

The consistency of beer we’ve come to love wasn’t made overnight. In fact, it took many years to get to the easy-to-drink consistency we’re used to today. Originally, beer was extremely thick, so straws were used to drink it and to avoid any leftover solid pieces floating in it from the fermentation stage of brewing. However, Ancient Egyptians eventually altered the original brewing process to make beer lighter and smoother so that it could be drunk without a straw. 

Large-scale beer brewing wasn’t always possible. Beer originally was made at home by women but became commercially made once people realized the benefits of commercially producing it. Now, beer is rarely made at home and is instead produced by commercial brewers to be bought at your local taproom or LCBO.