Pueblo Indian corn beer

Jeffrey at Wort’s Going On Here? posted a link to this article on FOXNews.com: Study: Pueblo Indians Brewed Beer From Corn 800 Years Ago. It seems familiar but it’s pretty recent (the earliest reference I can find to it is from December 6th here). The gist is that it appears that the ancient Pueblo Indians of the American Southwest brewed a corn beer, hundreds of years prior to the arrival of the Europeans.

What makes this news is the fact that historians thought the Pueblos didn’t have beer—or fermentation—at all. Archaeologists have proved otherwise via a method that should be familiar to Dogfish Head fans: using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry on ancient pottery shards to detect the existence of organic beer compounds.

So it has to be asked: will Dogfish brew a Pueblo Corn Beer? It’s right up their alley… and since I struck out on my Dogfish prediction for last year with the Irish brew, I’ll have to go ahead and make sure it’s on my list of predictions for 2008.


  1. Well, it’s not that surprising.

    Cooked corn beverages were not uncommon among Native Americans of all stripes. It is really the easiest way to consume the grain and gain some nutrition from it. Not really a stretch to go from a slightly sweetened thin corn gruel to corn beer, intentionally or unintentionally.

    In fact, almost every early civilization had some form of beverage made from ground grain and water, whether it was the English Barley Water, Chinese Jook (rice), Spanish Horchata (sedge kernels), or Japanese Buckwheat tea.

    Many of these ended up fermented.

  2. Erik- yes, the article mentioned that all the surrounding Indians had fermented beverages, which made it quite an anomaly for the Pueblos to *not* have had something. They were finally able to confirm it… and I like the scientific angle.

  3. Mario- heh. True, yeah, there’s corn-based macrobrews, for sure. I just think Dogfish could add a certain panache to it. And, it makes a good story. 🙂

  4. Well, Miller and other American macro lagers often have corn used as an adjunct (as well as rice), but none of those are corn-based; they are still barley based. Cream ales are also often brewed with corn to lighten it up. But I don’t know of any styles that are primarily corn based, unless you count something like the "beer" that bourbon is made from…

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