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Originally published in the Journal de Montréal on July 16, 2011.
Beer was probably first brewed around 6000 BC in Mesopotamia (current-day Iraq), and it soon became a part of the daily diet for centuries. It was made by cooking cakes of spelt and barley that were soaked in water to trigger the fermentation process required for alcohol production and then seasoned with spices.
Considered to be the drink of the gods in Egypt, it became the poor man’s drink for the Greeks and Romans who still preferred wine to it. However, it remained the beverage of choice among the Scandinavians, Celts and Germans (and the Canadians, much later on 😉 )
It was only during the 12th century that people started adding hops to beer, for better and longer preservation. But the success of the drink as we know it today dates back to the 19th century, when a deep understanding of fermentation and refrigeration techniques as well as the introduction of pasteurization gave rise not only to the production of new varieties of beer but also to their export.
Nowadays, besides the handful of multinationals that have consolidated the producers in the global market, there also exist small regional breweries that locally offer a variety of products to satisfy all tastes.
Try our Cheddar Beer Soup recipe