Craft beer isn’t just taking America by storm–it’s become an increasingly popular phenomenon around the globe. But, just because it’s a specialty beer doesn’t mean it’s something new. In China, for example, some breweries are taking craft brews into the future by turning to centuries past for inspiration. One is even brewing beer from a 5,000-year-old recipe.
Given that China is known for its rich history that dates back ancient civilization, it comes as no surprise that the nation happens to also be home to ancient beer recipes that are thousands of years old. The discovery of an ancient microbrewery was first made in 2006, by Chinese archaeologists.
The 5,000 year old brewery, located at a Neolithic site, is thought to be the oldest place of millet and barley-based beer making in China. And now, brewers are breathing new life into the ancient beer recipe. Jing-A Brewing Co, from Beijing and Moonzen Brewery, from Hong Kong, are bringing old-world beers to center stage.
As reported, “We were really fascinated by the idea of recreating the Mijiaya beer and seeing what people were drinking 5,000 years ago,” says Alex Acker, co-founder of Jing-A Brewing Co.
Jing-A and Moonzen both visited the site to learn more about how beer was made thousands of years ago, and as it turns out, the fermentation process hasn’t changed much–but what is used to make beer has. Today, beer is generally made with malted barley, hops, yeast and water. But hops didn’t exist in Neolithic China, and yeast was different back then too.
Yeast plays a substantial role in the way beer tastes, so finding samples of different yeasts was essential to crafting the perfect beverage, according to the brewers–along with skipping the hops, to stay true to the ancient recipe. Sources say that the finished beer is “light, fruity and slightly sour.”