Step into any pub today and you’ll find a wide variety of beers on tap, but we’ll bet you none of them look quite like this...
A team of Stanford archaeology students have recreated a Chinese beer recipe dating back 5,000 years.
Like most beer before the turn of the industrial revolution, the concoction was designed to be made at home – so it’s easy to create in a lab.
It’s made using cereal grains, including millet and barely, as well as Job’s tears, a type of native Asian grass. There were traces of yam and lily root too.
Li Liu, a professor in Chinese archaeology at Stanford, said the barely was a surprise inclusion. It was previously thought to have been introduced in China a thousand years later.
“Our results suggest the purpose of barley’s introduction in China could have been related to making alcohol rather than as a staple food,” Liu said.
With a porridge-like consistency, the beer was said to be sweeter and fruitier than the ales and lagers we drink today.
The recipe was discovered by archaeologists in the inside of pottery excavated from a site in northeast China last April.
Liu said recreating the beer was a helpful way of getting immersed in the culture of the time.
“Trying to imitate ancient behavior and make things with the ancient method helps students really put themselves into the past and understand why people did what they did.”
Our only criticism is that the team brewed their beer in glass jars. It’s surely now only a matter of time before east London bars start selling the stuff.