An ancient Sumerian poem is the first piece of evidence we encounter describing beer and its effects, dated in and around this time. Early brewing artifacts have also been found as well as recipes for how to brew beer from bread.
Babylonian records then indicate that at least 20 different forms of beer were in production by the year 2000 BC. There are even texts which describe how the Babylonian people eased the bitterness of the original brews and avoided the chunks of whatever was used to brew by using early straws.
Beer soon spread far and wide, because a look at the historical record reveals beer had made its way to China in the East and South America in the West as early as 1600 BC. There was even a document discovered which revealed 100 common ailments the ancient Egyptians treated with beer.
When Columbus’ ship first moored in the Americas, he found native populations brewing and drinking beer varieties of their own.
And so it goes until the modern age where we have countless varieties of beer from every corner of the earth. From San Miguel in the Philippines to Guinness in Ireland to XXXX in Australia to everything in between, beer is enjoyed by just about every culture on the planet today.
One of the most popular beers, Budweiser, holds the record for being the first variety to sell over 10 million barrels in a single year. It remains one of the most widely consumed beers on the planet today.
In the year 2016, we may have an endless variety of beer to choose from, but 89% of it is brewed by 5 major breweries. A new chapter in the history of beer is just beginning, however, with the advent and growing popularity of microbrewing.
Will the future see the giant beer companies of today lose their grip on the market as a new era in brewing begins? We’ll have to wait and see.
All we can say with certainty is that beer has had a long and colorful history, and has played a vital role in civilization itself.