5,000-year-old Chinese brewery, and beer recipe

By Elema (Flickr: Beer making) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I’m a bit behind blogging about this, but I thought it was pretty interesting: evidence of a 5,000 year old brewery was recently uncovered in China. What seems to be significant about this find is that barley had not been known to be in China this early; researchers suggest the possibility of barley arriving with the knowledge of its use in brewing, which could have interesting implications.

Archaeologists uncovered ancient “beer-making tool kits” in underground rooms built between 3400 and 2900 B.C. Discovered at a dig site in the Central Plain of China, the kits included funnels, pots and specialized jugs. The shapes of the objects suggest they could be used for brewing, filtration and storage.

It’s the oldest beer-making facility ever discovered in China — and the evidence indicates that these early brewers were already using specialized tools and advanced beer-making techniques.

The research group inspected the pots and jugs and found ancient grains that had lingered inside. The grains showed evidence that they had been damaged by malting and mashing, two key steps in beer-making. Residue from inside the uncovered pots and funnels was tested with ion chromatography to find out what the ancient beer was made of. The 5,000-year-old beer “recipe” was published on Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The recipe included a mix of fermented grains: broomcorn millet, barley and Job’s tears, a chewy Asian grain also known as Chinese pearl barley. The recipe also called for tubers, the starchy and sugary parts of plants, which were added to sweeten and flavor the beer, the researchers write.

Unfortunately I can’t see the full article (I was hoping to see if they had any additional recipe details, such as a rough idea of ingredient proportions). It might be interesting to try to recreate it (of course everyone expects Dogfish Head to do so, I’m sure); also knowing what kind of “tubers” you’d find in China circa 3000 BC would be helpful.

Speaking of Dogfish Head—any bets on when they will attempt a recreation? Or will another brewery beat them to it?

Oregon Beer News, 06/02/2016

Oregon BeerHere’s the Oregon beer news for Thursday, June 2. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day, so check back often. If you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that posted as well.

Eugene Beer Week rolls on today, with a number of events going on (below the fold as usual). One of the featured events today is taking place at The Bier Stein as they are tapping all six of the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America collaboration beers: “31 breweries, 6 beers. What does the mind of a brewer smell like? Find out tonight! Sierra Nevada teamed up with five breweries in 6 regions of the country. Some of the breweries are newer upstart startups, others have a couple decades under their belts. Using inspiration not only from the collision of creative spirits but the geography and history of the regions, the six-pack that emerged from this collaboration series at once reflects traditional styles and unique ingredients.”

And Medford Beer Week starts today! (June is definitely Oregon’s beer week month!) They have a huge list of goings-on taking place, most of which I’ll list below the fold, and today’s marquee event is a tap takeover and barrel release with Gold Beach’s Arch Rock Brewing and Immortal Spirits: “We are releasing our first barrel project for Arch Rock Brewing at Immortal Spirits. We used their Absinthe barrel and aged our State of Jefferson Porter. The result is…Another State of Mind. You’ll have to try it. We are also taking over the taps at the distillery bringing our 3 signature beers; Gold Beach Lager, State of Jefferson Porter,& Pistol River Pale, a Ginger Shandy made with our lager, Banana Belt Bavarian Hef, & of coarse Another State of Mind.” It’s taking place from 4 to 6pm.

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Oregon Beer News, 06/01/2016

Oregon BeerHappy first of June! Here’s the news in Oregon beer for this Wednesday. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news, so check back often for updates. And if you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that updated as well.

Eugene Beer Week continues today, with one of today’s featured events being a Farmhouse Beer Fest and Brewers Panel organized by Alesong Brewing and hosted by 16 Tons from 5 to 7pm: “There will be a rad lineup of great farmhouse inspired beers from around the globe and featuring select beers from Alesong Brewing and Blending, The Ale Apothecary, The Commons, and Agrarian Ales! There will also be a panel discussion starting at 6 pm with some great brewers of these styles. The panel includes Paul Arney of The Ale Apothecary, Sean Burke of The Commons, Tobias Schock from Agrarian Ales and Matt from Alesong.”

Bend’s Platypus Pub is hosting a beer tasting with Everybody’s Brewing tonight from 6 to 8pm: “Pat Velten from Everybody’s Brewing will be here Wednesday night to sample a few of their great beers. We will have their Hoppy Imperial IPA and Country Boy IPA on draft and available for samplers. Pat will also be bringing samples of Pub Only beers. One is a Barrel Aged Cherry Saison and the other is a Russian Imperial Stout. To add to the fun, a little trivia challenge will be held at around 7:00.”

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Received: 33 Beers Professional Edition

There’s a new edition of the 33 Beers tasting books out for beer: the Professional Edition. I received several complimentary booklets today:

Received: 33 Beers Professional Edition

Not only are these made with a special water- and beer-proof paper—actually “made from the same stuff milk jugs are made of” — but they also contain a color SRM reference guide and notations for tracking the color of a beer you drink.

The new version will debut during PDX Beer Week coming up in June, at the Beer Week kickoff party. And you can buy them online now for $6 each.

This Professional Edition is pretty slick (pun slightly intended, given the paper), and I will make a point to use these consistently when I’m out and about to give a thorough vetting.

Received: 2 Towns specialty ciders

After a weekend with FedEx (they tried to deliver Friday but missed), these were picked up today:

Received: 2 Towns specialty ciders

The center “Cellar Series” is La Mûre, a Lambic style blackberry hard cider from 2 Towns Ciderhouse, which I’m frankly excited to try. According to 2 Towns, “We’ve made a small batch for our Cellar Series that will primarily be available in our tap room.”

The other two are Hop & Stalk, their seasonal cider made with Citra hops and rhubarb. Should also be pretty interesting!

(Apologies for the slightly blurry photo.)