The “Beer Before Bread” or “Bread Before Beer”?

The Beer before Bread theory though not yet established but the controversy between “beer before bread” or “bread before beer” is fierce. Michael Jackson, the author of well known “World Guide to Beer” writes that “the civilization started with the beer” and there is the evidential respectable theory behind this phenomenon. The early Sumerians who lived in the Crescent before 6000 years, were the first known beer brewers. Their brewing was grain based and this beverage became integral to many traditions and cultures around the world across many civilizations. The ancient Sumerians grew grain on the fertile Crescent for two basic purposes, the bread and the beer. But which came first? The beer or the bread? The one that is important must have come first! The Scholars, especially after the 1950s have been unearthing numerous evidence which prove that beer eventually humans and not the bread. Experience the best beer in Mad Hatter Pub.

Robert Braidwood, the scholar from the University of Chicago, worked first on fertile Crescent in the 1950s led to amazing findings. They found ancient grain and sickle locked in an earthen capsule dating back to 9000 and 13000 BC. Braidwood’s theory started with the very inception of civilizations stating that the early humans started domesticating wheat, barley and rye instead of wandering in the forest for collection of a meagre quantity of wild grain. Therefore, early humans started living in permanent locations and built stone grain silos in order to store the grain. Eventually, villages came into existence around the silos and primitive cultivating fields. In the course of time, they stayed long in the villages, building their homes and cultivating crops, and making bread.

Braidwood published his theory in 1952 in the Scientific American. However, soon there were other theories opposing the theory of Braidwood. After a year of Braidwood’s publication, the American Anthropological Association published a symposium titled “Did Man Once Live By Beer Alone?” which argued that “not bread but the beer came first”.

The Wisconsin botany professor Jonathon Sauer who was a participant in the symposium argued that “it was thirst rather than hunger which activated the stimulus behind the origin of grain agriculture. The scholars who supported the “Beer before Bread” theory, further claimed that the Crescent findings consisting of sickles and the types of grain were more in terms of brewing than baking. Similarly, the teosinte the primitive form of maize in Mexico was cultivated 9000 years ago. Eventually, the teosinte is still good for beer but not for corn flour. It was much later that the Mexican farmers converted the teosinte grass into maize for eating. The teosinte is still used for making alcohol known as Chicha. Therefore, the theory of “Beer before Bread” is gaining its ground.   

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