Beer has been the target of a lot of criticism ever since the first sip was taken over ten thousand years ago. It’s been blamed for everything from beer bellies to the cause of vice and crime. Whether it’s warranted or not, beer and brewing has driven science and innovation throughout our history. Almost every known civilization has had some form of beer and unwrapping its mysteries has done a lot to help innovate and shape the modern world.
Here are just a few health and lifestyle contributions made possible thanks to beer. Feel free to ponder these the next time you’re sipping a cold one with your friends at the corner bar…
1. Beer Perpetuated Agricultural Revolution
Sometime around 9000-BC, in ancient Mesopotamia, groups of hunter-gatherers started settling into centralized villages, primarily to grow barley. It was a long held academic belief that the reason was to bake bread or for use as a cereal grain. A growing number of archaeologists disagree.
It was the beginning of brewing and agriculture simultaneously, according to Ohio State University Professor Patrick Hayes. “By all accounts, it most likely occurred when some early agriculturists or hunter-gatherers just neglected to bring their grain in,” says Hayes, “and left it sitting out. It got wet and germinated, stayed wet and then they drank that resulting juice. Presumably, it had a little bit of a zing to it. And that was sort of the beginning of beer and most likely agriculture.”