International Beer Day is a popular celebration on the first Friday of August. The next one is Saturday, August 5, 2023.
The Origins of Beer
Water in towns was not always safe, so people brewed beer to drink. It’s safe, refreshing, and also provides calories.
Beer was first brewed in West Asia where grains were first farmed. Brewing probably followed the development of grain farming around the world.
Brewing is essentially chemical fermentation. The earliest archeological evidence of beer was found in what is now Iran about 7,000 years ago. 🇮🇷
Brewing quickly spread around the Fertile Crescent where civilization first arose. There is evidence of beer in Sumeria about 6,000 years ago. The builders of the Great Pyramids of Egypt were given daily beer rations. 🇪🇬
Beer shows up in China around 5,000 years ago. 🇨🇳
It was later brewed in European monasteries. The Industrial Revolution turned brewing into a manufacturing process.
International Beer Traditions
There are great beer traditions all over the Latin world.
Spaniards enjoy tapas with beer. Brazilians love to end their workday chatting over a beer. Mexicans drink beer with lime.
Baseball and soccer fans drink beer while watching games. In Colombia Pollos Mario fried chicken with beer makes a family meal on soccer days.
Beer in New York City
Beer was also popular in what became New York City because we didn’t have a reliably safe water supply until the Croton Aqueduct opened in 1842. There are old reports that New Yorkers were perpetually drunk. Some things never change.
One of our favorite places to drink beer in NYC is McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan’s East Village. The Irish bar was founded in 1854 and still feels very old timey. It has an old potbelly stove and sawdust on the floor. The walls are decorated with old newspapers and memorabilia. Some of it is as old as 1910.
They only serve pints light and dark, two at a time. Women were only allowed in since 1970. The burgers with onions and fries are great.
Before heading off to World War I, soldiers would have a last pint and chicken at the bar. They would hang the wishbone on a lamp to be retrieved on their return. The wishbones that are still there are for those who never made it home.
Many famous Americans have drunk beer at McSorley’s. Whatever you do, please drink responsibly.