Any beer produced by this brewery is way past its freshness date. Archeologists in China recently found the remains of a brewery that is about 5000 years old – the oldest known brewery in the country. And their discovery proves that brewers were being anal about their brewing process even five millennia ago.
According to NPR, researchers came across the ancient brewing site, which is believed to date back to somewhere between 3400 and 2900 BC, in the Central Plain of China. Of particular interest is that many of the remains seem to go far beyond the crude brewing techniques you might expect from so long ago: things like a specialized pottery stove and an underground cooling area. “All indications are that ancient peoples, [including those at this Chinese dig site], applied the same principles and techniques as brewers do today,” Patrick McGovern, a biomolecular archaeologist from the University of Pennsylvania who was not involved with the discovery, was quoted as saying. Sure, but how bushy were their beards?
Researchers were even able to use ion chromatography to determine what the beer was brewed from. According to their report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the recipe included “broomcorn millet, barley, Job’s tears, and tubers.” The scientists were especially surprised to find barley – a grain that wasn’t believed to be common in the area during this period. “For the first time, to our knowledge, we are able to identify the presence of barley in archaeological materials from China…predating macrobotanical remains of barley by 1,000 years,” the study says.
I’m more surprised to see that their beer recipe doesn’t include any hops. I guess the IPA wasn’t particularly trendy yet.