Researchers discover world's oldest beer making facility

Better Beer Festival
Better Beer Festival

A joint study conducted by researchers at the Stanford University and the University of Haifa has discovered the evidence of the world's oldest beer-making facility. The discovery was made in an Israeli cave and experts believe that this brewing plant is at least 13,000-years-old.

During the research, the study team discovered stone mortars in the Raqefet Cave which is very near to the Israeli city of Haifa. Upon closer analysis, researchers confirmed that the mortars were used to brew wheat and barley. In the ancient times, these mortars were also used for saving food grains.

Experts believe that beer production in the ancient ages was actually a part of rituals. Natufian people who lived across these regions used to make beer as part of ritual feasts that honoured the dead.

"This accounts for the oldest record of man-made alcohol in the world. This discovery indicates that making alcohol was not necessarily a result of agricultural surplus production, but it was developed for ritual purposes and spiritual needs, at least to some extent, prior to agriculture," said Li Liu, a researcher at the Stanford University in a recently issued statement.

The research report, published in the Journal of 'Archaeological Science: Reports' has revealed that the Natufian people used a three-stage brewing process while making beer. In the initial phase, the Natufian people turned the starch of wheat or barley into starch. Later, they heated the malt and would be left to ferment with airborne yeast.

"We did not set out to find alcohol in the stone mortars, but just wanted to investigate what plant foods people may have consumed because very little data was available in the archaeological record," added Liu.

However, the researchers revealed that the beer in the ancient days was very difficult when compared to the beverage humans taste now. Jiajing Wang, a doctoral student at Stanford University reveals that the beer brewed by Natufian people was ''multi-ingredient concoction like porridge or thin gruel.''

This article was first published on September 15, 2018