Go Back   AFA Forums > Science, Logic and Reason > Humanities/Social Sciences

Humanities/Social Sciences Philosophy, History, Politics etc

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 22nd July 2017, 08:10 PM
The Irreverent Mr Black's Avatar
The Irreverent Mr Black The Irreverent Mr Black is offline
An old banger, but almost unstoppable.
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Toontown
Posts: 4,401
Default No Brew Like An (Extremely) Old Brew

Smithsonian Linky

Quote:
For as long as there have been humans, there have been humans getting drunk—or at least that’s what biomolecular archaeologist and brew connoisseur Patrick McGovern thinks.

The jack-of-all-trades researcher tackles the subject at length in his new book, Ancient Brews: Rediscovered and Recreated. Part travelogue, part natural history, part cookbook, the story has McGovern hopscotching across the globe to prove the ties between human evolution and the creation of fermented beverages. He describes archaeological digs and the migrations of ancient humans from one continent to the next; the chemical analysis used to discover which ingredients went into the drinks; and his forays into “experimental archaeology” with Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery, in which they recreate nine ancient beverages.

“Taking all the available evidence we have, we wanted to see if we could recreate the drinks and make something that’s palatable for the modern human,” McGovern says.

These drinks (despite the moniker “brews”, they include wines, beers and “extreme fermented beverages” that use any combination of ingredients to produce an alcoholic drink) run the gamut from the oldest-known alcohol, which comes from China, to a chocolate concoction based on research from Mesoamerica.

“We usually do not have an airtight argument that a particular recreated beverage was made in antiquity in the same way or with all the same ingredients,” McGovern writes in his book. “Our ultimate objective is to gather as many well-verified pieces of the puzzle as possible, hypothesize about what ingredients most likely went into the brew and how it was brewed, and then try to replicate it.”

In addition to exploring the intoxicating ingenuity of these ancient people, McGovern also digs deep into human evolution and the dawn of civilizations. First, he tackles the question of what Paleolithic people (the era begins with hominid tool-making around 3.4 million years ago and continues till 10,000 years ago), may have been drinking.

It’s a hard question to answer, archaeologically speaking. Alcohol evaporates from containers even if they’re sealed, leaving nothing but dust for chemical analysis. Even then, the oldest container shown to have traces of rice, grapes or hawthorn fruit and honey—ingredients necessary to make a fermented beverage—is from only 9,000 years ago. There are no surviving containers from the Paleolithic.

But McGovern sees plenty of evidence for our alcohol affinity in the body itself. “We’ve got an enzyme in our saliva that breaks down carbs into sugar, we have alcohol dehydrogenase [enzymes that break down ethanol] in our mouths, all through our gut and down through our liver.”

All these physiological elements point to traits inherited from our early ancestors, about whom archaeologists only have limited information. But in case the physiology of modern Homo sapiens isn’t enough to go off of, humans also share genes with primates and other animals that prove we’re not the only ones hooked on getting buzzed. This “drunk monkey” hypothesis states that animals whose diets are largely composed of fruits and nectar regularly imbibe naturally occurring alcohol when the fruits ferment.

There’s the Malaysian tree shrew, “a living model for extinct mammals” that drinks the human equivalent of nine glasses of wine each night. Fruit flies, like humans, contain multiple genes that dictate how they metabolize and respond to alcohol. Even bats get tipsy from eating fermented fruits, though inebriation seems to have no negative impact on their ability to fly.

Somewhere along the way, drunk monkeys became drunk hominids, and those hominids became modern humans. This is when the “bread or beer” question comes up: Did humans start agriculture to use the grain for food or for a ready supply of fermented drinks?
Carry on at source.
__________________


My confirmation bias is better 'n your confirmation bias.

Reply With Quote
Like Darwinsbulldog, wolty, pipbarber liked this post
  #2  
Old 22nd July 2017, 09:43 PM
Goldenmane's Avatar
Goldenmane Goldenmane is offline
Cuss-tard
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 7,322
Default Re: No Brew Like An (Extremely) Old Brew

As a young drunk, and one little versed in biology (being more a physics-based lifeform at the time), I found reason to ponder the question of how we came up with booze. Who, I wondered, was the first mad fuck to drink fermented barley water? I mean, that shit's bloody horrible, on first experience, even if made in reasonably hygeinic circumstances.

Same goes for pretty much all rotting garbage water. I accidentally left some grapes in my schoolbag over the holidays once, and the filth that resulted was grotesque.

Subsequently, I realised that our ancestors have been getting pissed at every opportunity since well before they were bipedal. Cows do it, elephants do it, even the birds and the bees do it. Let's do it, let's fall down drunk!

I guarantee you, making booze is a contender against making fire for the earliest technology. Our species is as it is because we got wasted and set shit on fire.

This will be the subject of my talk at the GAC. Looking forward to seeing you all there.
__________________
-Geoff Rogers

@Goldenmane3

Reply With Quote
Like pipbarber liked this post
  #3  
Old 24th July 2017, 09:44 AM
Darwinsbulldog's Avatar
Darwinsbulldog Darwinsbulldog is offline
AFA Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Perth
Posts: 18,408
Default Re: No Brew Like An (Extremely) Old Brew

Quote:
Goldenmane said View Post
As a young drunk, and one little versed in biology (being more a physics-based lifeform at the time), I found reason to ponder the question of how we came up with booze. Who, I wondered, was the first mad fuck to drink fermented barley water? I mean, that shit's bloody horrible, on first experience, even if made in reasonably hygeinic circumstances.

Same goes for pretty much all rotting garbage water. I accidentally left some grapes in my schoolbag over the holidays once, and the filth that resulted was grotesque.

Subsequently, I realised that our ancestors have been getting pissed at every opportunity since well before they were bipedal. Cows do it, elephants do it, even the birds and the bees do it. Let's do it, let's fall down drunk!

I guarantee you, making booze is a contender against making fire for the earliest technology. Our species is as it is because we got wasted and set shit on fire.

This will be the subject of my talk at the GAC. Looking forward to seeing you all there.
As fruits ripen they get sweet, and a bit further along, start to ferment. A mildly fermented grape or whatever can be quite pleasant. Experimentation, I would say, until they compiled a "howto". Of course, in the off-season, those who had developed a taste for fermented fruit would have tried other stuff. Bread for example, goes sweet in the mouth if you chew it slowly for a long time. So I bet they realised that sweetness was something that could eventually be converted into booze.

Bee societies have the death penalty for repeat offences of imbibing fermented materials, and disappointed males, from fruit flies to apes are not unknown to find some consolation in the grape.
__________________
Just stick to the idea that science tests falsifiable hypotheses to destruction.
Reply With Quote
Like The Irreverent Mr Black liked this post
  #4  
Old 25th July 2017, 04:00 PM
Stub King's Avatar
Stub King Stub King is offline
Take my advice, don't listen to me
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 842
Default Re: No Brew Like An (Extremely) Old Brew

Quote:
Goldenmane said View Post
Subsequently, I realised that our ancestors have been getting pissed at every opportunity since well before they were bipedal.
this raises an interesting question. it is easier to fall down when you are pissed. so why did we become bipedal? think of all the bruised noggins we could have saved

Quote:
This will be the subject of my talk at the GAC. Looking forward to seeing you all there.
excellent. will you be offering samples?
__________________
The less people know, the more stubbornly they know it. (Osho)
Reply With Quote
Laugh at The Irreverent Mr Black, Goldenmane laughed at this post
  #5  
Old 26th July 2017, 05:38 PM
pipbarber's Avatar
pipbarber pipbarber is online now
AFA Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 2,898
Default Re: No Brew Like An (Extremely) Old Brew

I've ordered this book. Looking forward to it. It also has old recipes. I make all my own wine so i think i'll have a crack at making some oldy style booze, I'll post a review in due time.
Reply With Quote
Like The Irreverent Mr Black liked this post
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +11. The time now is 09:40 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Feedback Buttons provided by Advanced Post Thanks / Like (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.