Ancient Beer Painstakingly Recreated ... and It Stinks

Great Lakes Brewing Company teams up with archaeologists
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2013 3:56 PM CDT

(Newser) – Brewing collaborations are not unusual in the world of craft beer. Micro-brewers often team up with other brewers, food producers ... sometimes even TV shows. But a small number of brewers have also been hooking up with archaeologists to recreate long-forgotten booze recipes. Most recently, Great Lakes Brewing Company in Ohio teamed up with archaeologists from the University of Chicago in an effort to make a 5,000-year-old Sumerian beer, reports the New York Times.

Unfortunately, the ancient Sumerians didn't leave step-by-step instructions. The recipe was gleaned from a 1800 BC song called "Hymn to Ninkasi" (Ninkasi was the goddess of beer), and required the brewers and archaeologists to use ceramic vessels, heated outdoors on a fire fueled by manure, for maximum authenticity. The result? The beer was warm, sour, and full of bacteria. Great Lakes won't be selling the brew, but does plan to offer some public tastings ... once it can work out how to make the beer a bit more pleasing to the modern palate.

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