Pre-Columbian brewery

Picked this article up off the wire: Brewery offers glimpse at pre-Columbian civilizations along Andes. Pretty interesting stuff, concerning an early American brewery circa 600 BC.

The brewery serviced the earliest known diplomatic embassy in the Americas, a palace complex atop a steep-sided mesa in southern Peru built by the Wari empire around 600 B.C. When the empire collapsed 400 years later, residents of the mountaintop abandoned the place – but not before holding a final, blowout feast and burning down the brewery, smashing ceremonial cups in the flames….

The beer was fermented from corn mash – making a potent concoction called chicha that is still brewed in the Andes today – and spiced with peppercorn tree berries.

"This was no mini-brewery operation," said Williams. "It was the biggest early brewery anyone has so far seen. The brewing facility had three main areas: a grinding room for corn, a boiling room with at least 20 huge vats that allowed them to brew 1,000 to 2,000 liters of beer at a time and a storage area with huge, 4-foot-high clay storage vessels."

That meant every five or six days the brewery could turn out at least 500 gallons.

Now that would be an interesting beer to try to brew…

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