Free Beer: Dogfish Head Brewery and Biomolecular Archaeologists Recreate Ancient Beer and Wine

Forget Oktoberfest – if you really want to combine culture with beer the place to be this month is the Penn Museum. The latest biomolecular archaeology techniques pioneered by the University of Pennsylvania have led to reproductions of ancient ales, which will be available to sample at an event on 8th October. The University’s Patrick McGovern, the worlds leading authority on ancient brewing, has worked with the innovative American brewer Dogfish Head to develop the beers, which are not too dissimilar to what it the ancients are thought to have enjoyed.

Breathing New Life into Ancient Brews

Based on evidence found at archaeological digs, and using the techniques and ingredients of ancient times, Dogfish Head has produced several ancient beers for the modern beer connoisseur.

There are brews based on indigenous Peruvian traditions, like the Chicha, and the Chateau Jiahu, based on a 9000-year-old rice, honey and fruit recipe deriving from the Neolithic village of Jiahu in Chinas Henan province.

The Theobroma or food of the gods, meanwhile, is based on an alcoholic chocolate drink enjoyed in 1200BC in what is now Honduras.

Then, of course, theres the Midas Touch, which was Dogfish Heads first foray into the ancient world. Its based on the oldest-known fermented beverage a 2,700-year-old recipe pieced together after the discovery of drinking vessels in the tomb of King Midas in Turkey.

Get the Recipe!

You can read the full (rather lengthy) story of Dogfish Head and its innovative approach to making ancient (and other extreme) beers in this New Yorker article.

Better still, if you’re in the area, get yourself along to the Uncorking the Past beer-tasting and talks event at at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology this Thursday, October 8.

The night coincides with the release of Patrick McGoverns new book, Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages. McGovern and Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione will both be giving talks on ancient brewing techniques. More importantly, there will be tastings of Midas Touch, Chateau Jiahu and Theobroma on offer, along with wine from the Nile Delta. If you can’t make this one, there are various other Dogfish tasting events coming up in the States over the coming weeks.