Quick, which ahead-of-the curve ancient civilization was the first to develop beer?
It was China! Did you guess correctly? Archaeologists at Stanford University recently discovered ancient beer-making tools — and a 5,000-year-old recipe for beer along with them — on a dig along the country’s Wei River in the Central Plain of China.
The underground rooms in which the brewmaster’s kit was discovered were built somewhere between 3,400 and 2,900 B.C. Perhaps even more exciting, one of the jugs they discovered (pictured above) contained residue from the booze they contained! When analyzed, the jug was found to contain broomcorn millet, barley, Job’s tears and tubers.
The discovery is what we in the scientific community like to refer to as a “twofer,” because it’s both the oldest beer recipe ever found and the earliest use of barley in China. So not only are beer enthusiasts around the world in luck, but so are agriculture nerds.
The Chinese were onto something: There are at least five unexpected health benefits to beer, including lowering your arthritis risk and keeping your mind sharp (to a certain extent). Well done, ancient China. Well done.
— Alex Heigl, @alex_heigl