archaeology

The Friday Mash (Emerald City Edition)

Fifty-five years ago today, the Century 21 Exhibition aka the Seattle World’s Fair opened. It was the first World’s Fair in America since World War II. Surviving structures from the fair include The Space Needle, the Seattle Monrail, and Seattle Center.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Boston, where Daradee Murphy unveiled a novel strategy for tackling the Boston Marathon’s infamous “Heartbreak Hill”: beer instead of water as her hydration drink of choice.

Once a hot trend, black IPA lost its mojo last year. However, Bryan Roth of All About Beer magazine says that the style is down but not out: several breweries are rolling out new versions.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company has announced the dates and cities for Beer Camp on Tour 2017. This year Beer Camp collaborative series will feature six domestic and six overseas craft breweries.

Five years ago, a startling archaeological discovery in modern-day Turkey provided evidence that it was beer, not agriculture, that led human beings to abandon their hunter-gatherer ways and begin living in communities.

Vijay Mallya, India’s “King of Good Times”, is under arrest in England. Mallya, who inherited United Breweries of Kingfisher beer fame, faces fraud and money-laundering charges in his home country.

The former head of a global recruitment firm says it’s time to get rid of the “beer test” for new hires: it leads to poor hiring decisions, discriminates against non-drinkers, and makes the workplace less diverse.

Finally, women’s advocacy group FemCollective is sponsoring an all-female beer festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. FemAle will highlight female beer experts and brewers from across the country, and men as well as women are welcome to attend.

No comments

“Ask Your Doctor if Beer is Right for You”

Most news stories about beer and health emphasize how unhealthy beer is. But for most of human history, that wasn’t the case. In fact, our ancestors used beer as medicine. Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology found that before modern medications were developed, the sick were treated with beer and alcohol-containing herbal cocktails. He points out that alcohol relieves pain, stops infection, and kills bacteria and parasites in contaminated water. Alcohol also helps the digestive system break down food.

McGovern has found ancient texts that describe therapeutic cocktails. Prescriptions in ancient China and Egypt medical papyri called for wine or beer as a “dispensing agent,” with a varying mixture of herbs depending on the patient’s ailment. In addition to dissolving the herbs, alcohol made the mixture more palatable. Then, as in Mary Poppins, a spoonful of sugar helped the medicine go down.

Whether these ancient remedies actually worked is still up for debate. However, the bark of certain trees has yielded the key ingredients in aspirin, the anti-malarial drug quinine, and the cancer drug Taxol. And scientists are investigating substances in modern-day beer that might be valuable sources of medicines.

The Friday Mash (No Smoking Edition)

On this day in 1964, U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released the landmark report Smoking and Health, which linked tobacco use to lung cancer and other health problems. The report led to anti-smoking efforts around the world, which probably include a ban on lighting up at your friendly local.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Bend, Oregon, where Daniel Keeton loves his dog Lola Jane so much that he brewed a beer for her. Dawg Grog is a nonalcoholic brew made with spent grains and vegetable broth.

If you haven’t disposed of your Christmas tree yet, you might want to use it to brew spruce beer. The beverage was enjoyed by the Vikings, and used by the Royal Navy to treat scurvy.

Remember that bottle of White House Honey Porter President Obama gave a coffee shop patron last fall? It fetched $1,200 at a charity auction. The winning bidders shared the brew on stage while the University of Minnesota band played “Hail to the Chief.”

It takes balls–literally–to make this beer. Denver’s Wynkoop Brewing Company has released Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, which is brewed with bull testicles. Fittingly, it’s available in two-packs.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of 11,000-year-old beer brewing troughs at a cultic feasting site in Turkey. Some believe that prehistoric beer busts brought groups of people together and fueled the rise of civilization.

In 1880, Mark Twain visited the University of Heidelberg. Twain witnessed no duels, but did observe the student princes’ competition for the title of Beer King. (Hat tip: bloggers Boak and Bailey).

Finally, Boston Beer Company has resurrected New Albion Ale. The beer, which was made by craft-brewing pioneer Jack McAuliffe from 1976 to 1983, will be distributed nationwide. Proceeds will go to the now-retired McAuliffe.

Beer and Civilization

Thomas Jefferson once called coffee “the favorite drink of the civilized world.” But there’s evidence that another beverage–beer–made civilization possible in the first place.

Brian Hayden, an archaeologist at Simon Fraser University in Canada, makes that argument. He points to evidence that people went to great lengths to obtain barley and other grains in spite of the hard work needed to make them edible.

Hayden adds that then, as well as now, eating and drinking together was an important means of bringing people together. He said:

Feasts are essential in traditional societies for creating debts, for creating factions, for creating bonds between people, for creating political power, for creating support networks, and all of this is essential for developing more complex kinds of societies.

Something to think about while planning this year’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Powered by WordPress