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Summary Ancient Brews í PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB å In Ancient Brews Patrick E McGovern takes us on a fascinating journey through time back to the beginning when our ancestors were likely already experimenting with high sugar fruits honey roots and cereals herbs and tree resins to concoct the perfect drinkEarly beverage makers mustIn Ancient Brews Patrick E McGovern takes us on a fascinating journey through time back to the beginning when our ancestors were likely already experimenting with high sugar fruits honey roots and cereals herbs and tree resins to concoct the perfect drinkEarly beverage makers must have marveled at the magical process of fermentation Their amazement would have grown as they drank the mind altering liuids whi. This was a book about the history and archaeology of alcoholic beverages In theory this should have been really interesting but in practice the book was really poorly writtenThe author Pat McGovern is a chemical archaeologist; he studies the history of alcoholic beverages by analyzing the chemical residues in ancient pottery In addition to studying ancient beverages he's also helped to recreate them working with Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head breweries Together they've made a line of Ancient Ales which you can buy at certain liuor storesThe book was organized around these Ancient Ales; each chapter corresponded to one of them The general format of these chapters was that McGovern would explain the archaeological discoveries that had led to the recreation often including the story of his own archaeological work and then he would talk about the process that he and Calagione went through to adapt these archaeological findings into a new beerSome of the chapters seemed decently well written but others just utterly failed to cohere In general the writing didn't seem to follow any clear line of discussion and I had trouble figuring out what point McGovern was trying to make He threw in miscellaneous archaeological and autobiographical facts seemingly at random in a way that felt like it was about padding the word count than providing useful information to the reader It felt like one of those books that happens when the publisher calls up the author and says Hey can you write a book on this topic by this deadline and then the author struggles to write a book's worth of material in time Alternatively maybe McGovern was just drunk the entire time he wrote itThe chapters at the end seemed least coherent They were about Theobroma a chocolate based drink and Chicha a corn based one The random facts seemed to be hiding the fact that actually they didn't have much archaeological info to go on for these drinks It sounded like we really don't have that much archaeological evidence for Chicha And although there's lots of archaeological evidence of chocolate use the book didn't make it clear whether any of those chocolate based drinks had been alcoholic and it felt like maybe the writing was trying to cover up the fact that they weren'tSo anyway this book was probably not worth reading and I wish I'd gotten this same info out of online articles instead But I did learn a few bits of actual factual content Up until recently the Reinheitsgebot a German beer purity law which says that beer can only be made from barley malt hops and yeast has held sway Craft breweries with their adventurous beers didn't really become a thing until around the year 2000 I hadn't realized this since I wasn't anywhere near 21 at that time I had always thought that alcohol was discovered relatively late like after the agricultural revolution hence why there's a higher incidence of alcoholism in populations that are new to agriculture But McGovern hypothesizes that humans have known about and deliberately consumed alcohol since early in our evolutionary history To support this he argues that all sorts of animals deliberately seek out alcoholically fermented fruit Anyway it's definitely just a hypothesis and a somewhat romantic and fanciful one at that But it's one I'd never considered before I had also always thought that early beverages were low in alcohol and that the point wasn't to get drunk but to create a source of carbs that would not go bad and also to create a source of liuid that couldn't be contaminated by harmful microorganisms But according to McGovern the ancients wanted beverages with a high alcohol content because they like us appreciated alcohol's psychoactive properties In order to achieve this high alcohol content they basically just mixed together everything that would ferment and turned that into a beverage Rather than making wine mead or beer they'd throw grapes honey and grain all together in one fermenting vessel For whatever reason probably just to make them sound cool McGovern calls these hybrid beverages extreme fermented beverages A lot of the recreated beers didn't seem very faithful to the original they just mixed together any ingredient that had appeared in any archaeological find in a given region rather than trying to recreate a specific rediscovered beverage But there was one Midas Touch which did seem to be a faithful recreation It was based on residues found in an ancient Phrygian tomb which either belonged to the historical King Midas or likely to his father King Gordias who is said to have tied the Gordian knot Apparently this king was buried with a huge amount of food and drink and it ended up being very well preserved so archaeologists were able to study the residues in depth It was a combined wine mead beer The Canaanites Phoenicians were some of the first people to make wine see Prior to them everyone was making these extreme fermented beverages out of anything they could find But the Canaanites and Phoenicians made wine and traded it to their neighbors in the Mediterranean; it became a very high prestige item They would get other cultures interested in the wine via trade and then they would come and help those cultures develop their own vineyards and wineries In doing so they spread both their grapevines and their wine culture around the Mediterranean thus displacing earlier beverages The book talks about the traditional beer of the Egyptians and the traditional drink of the Etruscans which were two of the beverages that got displaced Interestingly the Phoenician wines were made with tree resins possibly as a preservative Some ancient beer was made by first baking bread and then making the beer out of the bread instead of going straight from the grains to the beer Corn beer in South America called Chicha is traditionally made by chewing the corn first to get the salivary amylase to convert starches to sugarsThe book made two mistakes which I consider unforgivable and which contribute to the low rating The first was that it described the Etruscans as a Celtic people which spoke a non Indo European language which is a contradiction The second is that it used the word uixotic as if it meant a combination of uirky and exoticI do not recommend reading this book

Patrick E. McGovern ã 6 Summary

Ch were to become the medicines religious symbols and social lubricants of later culturesInterweaving archaeology and science McGovern leads us on his adventures to China Turkey Egypt Italy Scandinavia Honduras Peru and Mexico We share in his laboratory discoveries including an early Neolithic “cocktail” from China made of wild grapes hawthorn fruit rice and honey; an elite New World cacao beverage that. Kind of a long commercial for Dogfish Head brewery The recipes may be inspired by historic brews but re created is stretching credulity and the writing accompanying each project reinforces that The meal pairings are pretty pointless and make it seem like the book doesn't know what sort of audience it's shooting for

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Ancient BrewsGods and kings delighted in; and the Midas Touch of central Turkey These liuid time capsules defied modern conventions by mixing wines beers meads and botanicals together into heady delicious extreme beveragesFor the intrepid reader homebrew interpretations of each ancient beverage and culturally appropriate matching meal recipes are provided transporting our senses and imaginations “back to the future?. I come by my interest in this subject matter by way of my vocation I've had an interest in ancient beer since working on an archaeological site in Iceland where we were pretty certain we'd unearthed evidence of ancient beer making So I'm an archaeologist a researcher a traveler and a beer enthusiast so this book was practically written for me wasn't it This isn't a research book which personally disappointed me just a little but in fairness it doesn't claim to be It doesn't include the sorts of technical details you'd expect of a research paper and McGovern has published many of those But there is a huge general interest in exploring and tasting the roots of beer production which this book is capitalizing on inspired by the topical trend of the booming craft beer industry It's part research part travelogue and part recipe book Unfortunately I found the reading a little dry considering the subject matter McGovern is a research visionary and an accomplished academic who is considered the world's leading authority in this sort of analysis but he's not a novelist with a good sense of pacing and perhaps a little flair for the dramatic And unless I'm an experienced beer brewer dedicated to hunting down rare and unusual ingredients like Irish moss purple corn or meadowsweet to experiment with which I'm not the recipes are pretty unapproachable It's not a bad book at all especially not for someone with interests similar to my own It goes without stating that its well researched and the subject matter is certainly interesting it just lacks the spark that keeps you turning the pages or imprints the information deeply into your psyche so that you can share the next time you're enjoying a craft beer with your friends at the local pub