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The History Of Beer Essay, Research Paper

Specific Purpose: To inform the audience about the history of beer. Central Idea: To learn the full concept behind the history of beer, you must have a full understanding of everything from the natural roots of where beer drinking began to what it has progressed to in today’s society. In this speech you will be able to obtain this knowledge. Introduction: Beer – defined by Websters as “a mildly alcoholic drink made from malt, hops, etc.” has been around since 4,000 years before the birth of Christ. Everyone from the Ancient Egyptians to the Sumerians were getting drunk back in the day. Today, I would like to tell you about how beer affected certain ancient cultures and how it became the beverage of choice that it is today.

I. The Early CivilizationsA. The Sumerians have the first written record mentioning beer.1. Their prayers or songs to their gods, specifically the Hymn to Ninkasi, which can be taken as an actual recipe.a. The beer in this case was most likely used for nutrition, like a liquid form of bread.b. Beer was used as a full-course meal. B. Beer also played an important role in the Egyptians life.1. It was thought to have medicinal properties, and in a medical text from 1600 B.C., 100 of 700 prescriptions contained beer.2. Many of the social customs revolved around beer.a. When a young man gave a young lady a sip of his beer, they were considered partners. C. Beer was even present 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon.1. The big custom there was that for a month after a wedding, the bride’s father would supply the groom with mead. a. Mead is a type of honey beer. II. Beer was also very prominent in Medieval times.A. Beer during the middle ages was very popular, and probably went through many changes. 1. Beer was much stronger in alcohol content and it tasted kind of like a malted porridge. 2. Many herbs were used to brew beer in these ages, everything from berries and ginger to bark and chickens. B. Beer was also very cherished during this time.1. In a period of plagues, water was probably the most unsafe beverage.a. Beer was considered a sterilized beverage because of the way it was cooked. 2. Because of this beer became a standard beverage for men and women of all ages. III. From Colonial America up to the late 1800’s, beer had a great affect on the people of America. A. Everything started with the landing of the Pilgrims on Plymouth Rock.1. A passenger’s journal states the Mayflower landed at Plymouth because “we could not now take time for further search or consideration, our victuals being much spent, especially our beer.”

2. The first thing that they looked for when they came to shore was beer. B. In England at this time when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down. It’s where we get the phrase “mind your P’s and Q’s”.1. Also in England pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim or handle of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. “Wet your whistle”, is the phrase inspired by this practice. C. The first beer brewed in America was in 1587.1. Sir Walter Raleigh’s Roanoke colony in Virginia was the brewing place of this ale.a. The colonists did not like it very much though and asked England to keep sending them beer over.2. Most of our founding fathers were brewers themselves or strong advocates of beer.a. George Washington had his own brew house on the grounds of Mount Vernon, and his handwritten recipe for beer — dated 1757 — is still preserved. D. The first public brewery in the New World opened in 1633.1. At the time, all brews were based on corn or maize and were ales.2. By 1810, there were 132 operating breweries in this country, including the first brewery established in St. Louis. E. The lager industry became established in this country in 1840, when a brewer named John Wagner brought his lager yeast from Bavaria to hisnew brewery in Philadelphia. 1. European brewers were moving away from ale yeast, and they began producing more lagers.2. With the help of the German immigrants who brought their trade with them to America, the industry expanded rapidly, reaching a record number of 4,131 breweries in 1873. IV. The Early 1900’s to present day were also influential to the beer industry.A. Starting in 1920 a big blow came to the beer industry when the Prohibition Law was passed.1. This lasted for 7 years and outlawed the brewing and distribution of any alcohol.a. When this law was done away with, it started a brand new growth within the industry to where it rests today. B. Today the industry has grown to where the output of beer for 1997 was 202,803,972 barrels, where each barrel=31.1. This output of beer takes in the approximate 500 breweries in the United States today. Conclusion: In conclusion, as you can see there is a great history behind this great beverage and to fully understand it you have to go as far back as the dawn of civilization. Today you have learned the history of beer from the how the Sumerians had a prayer to the gods for it to how much beer was produced in this country last year. I hope everyone now has a greater appreciation for this drink and I would like to leave you with a quote from an unknown monk in the middle ages. “He who drinks beer sleeps well. He who sleeps well can not sin. He who does not sin goes to heaven. Amen.”


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