Chill Issue 51 - Oct/Nov : Page 71

ichill.ca/ beer to produce alcohol provided enormous motivation for continuing to go out and collect these seeds and try to get them to do better.” When he says “enormous motivation,” he’s discussing the entire foundation of human civilization, and he’s still understating it. Together with Professor Mary Voigt, he went on to write in Expedition magazine saying, “Individuals and groups who consumed beer were better nourished than those who consumed wheat and barley as gruel … In biological terms, beer drinkers would have had a ‘selective advantage’ in the form of improved health for themselves and ultimately for their offspring.” Drinking beer didn’t “THESE DRINKS REFLECT HOW OUR just make these early feel better, it SPECIES HAS DEVELOPED ON THIS settlers made actually them PLANET—BY TAKING WHATEVER WE better. Patrick McGovern, CAN IN NATURE AND MAKING IT INTO UPenn’s Scientifi c Director SOMETHING REALLY GOOD.” of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health, agrees. “What I really fi nd amazing is how people have ignored this,” McGovern told the Pennsylvania Gazette . “These drinks refl ect how our species has developed on this planet— by taking whatever we can in nature and making it into something really good.” That’s not just progress, that’s the entirety of human ingenuity in one sentence. And it’s about beer. The increased food supply from beer (and its little side-effect, bread) enabled people to live in larger villages, divide labour, develop crafts and eventually build Uruk, one of the fi rst cities to exist. The invention of urbanity is the sort of breakthrough you’ll want to remember even if you have to invent writing to do it, and that’s exactly what happened. Some of the earliest written materials ever recovered describe workers’ daily beer rations in pictographic tablets from 3400–3000 BC. Understand this: Humans had the ability to drink beer before we had an alphabet. Writing only happened because, for the fi rst time in existence, a species had more food and wealth than they could see in one place. We needed to make marks to keep track of how well off we were, and many of those marks were due to beer. The earliest recorded recipe is also for beer, a Mesopotamian brew from 2000 BC, and was thought to have been handed down by gods because it was so beloved. Self-actualizing Needs Esteem Needs morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts self-esteem, confi dence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others Social Needs friendship, family, sexual intimacy Security Needs security of: body, employment, resources, morality, the family, health, property Physiological Needs breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homoeostasis, excretion Beer has been helping humanity ever since because it’s better than water. That’s not a humorous sentiment: it’s an established fact throughout history. Boiling and fermenting kills many of the infectious agents in water, while Saccharomyces cerevisiae (the yeast which brings both bread and beer to life) only makes alcohol in the fi rst place specifi cally to kill other microorganisms. Which means all of human history is a brilliant micro-organic side-effect. The Roman legions mixed drink with their water rations so that the bactericidal effects could keep them in good health. The ancient Nubians brewed antibiotic beer containing tetracycline, over fi fteen hundred years before modern medicine rediscovered it. And during the Dark Ages, Europe forgot almost all the best things about civilization, but remembered the beer. This is called “having priorities.” Medieval workers drank just as much as the workers constructing the Pyramids of Giza a gallon a day, and for the same reasons: health and happiness. People noticed that those who enjoyed ale got sick less than people who drank water. By 1241, beer had replaced water in so many functions that Pope Gregory IX had to issue an edict reminding people not to baptize infants with it. Seriously. Sam Calagione, founder of a Delaware brewery, summed it all up with a joke at a Pennsylvania Museum lecture with Robert McGovern: “As a brewer, it gives me a lot of pride that as far as I know, our industry is responsible for civilization as we know it.” And like all the best jokes, it’s funny because it’s true. MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS In 1943, famous psychologist Abraham Maslow set out a hierarchy of human needs. Each of the fi ve levels of the pyriamid holds several needs, but as far as we can tell, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs looks like a list of beer’s effects. A few examples are: creativity, spontaneity, confi dence, friendship, health, food and sex. Do you take beer as seriously as we do? Let the world know — sport this Limited Edition Chill shirt. Available for purchase at: .ca/shop Oct./Nov. 2011 | i chill.ca | 71

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here