Hey Brooklyn and your micro-breweries – turns out you’ve got nothing on Tel Aviv!
Evidence of an Egyptian brew-house dating to 5000 years ago is being dug up in Tel Aviv. Archeologists there have found pieces of ancient pottery vessels used to make beer. See above and below for how they did it back then.
Apparently Egyptians were drinking the beverage, young and old:
“Now we know that they also appreciated what the Tel Aviv region had to offer and that they too knew how to enjoy a glass of beer, just as Tel Avivians do today,” says Diego Barkan, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
He adds: “Already thousands of years ago Tel Aviv was the city that never sleeps!”
The evidence indicates that there were Egyptians at the site, living and brewing beer. Not a beverage typically associated with the Middle East. So think again.
The site was located on Ha-Masger Street next to the Ma‘ariv Bridge in downtown Tel Aviv and is part of a salvage operation done before any new construction is done in Israeli cities and towns.
Barkan relates: “We found seventeen pits in the excavations, which were used to store agricultural produce in the Early Bronze Age I (3500-3000-BCE). Among the hundreds of pottery shards that characterize the local culture, a number of fragments of large ceramic basins were discovered that were made in an Egyptian tradition and were used to prepare beer.
“These vessels were manufactured with straw temper or some other organic material in order to strengthen them, a method not customary in the local pottery industry.
It is interesting to note that although Muslims shun alcohol (read here why Muslims do not drink) beer was the “national drink of Egypt” in ancient times. It was considered a basic commodity like bread and it was consumed by the entire population, regardless of age, gender or status.
Bones (below) were also found suggesting that beer and barbecues were the combination of choice.
The ancient beer made from a mixture of barley and water that was partially baked and then left to ferment in the sun. Various fruit concentrates were added to this mixture in order to flavor the beer, the experts say. “The mixture was filtered in special vessels and was ready for use.
Strange timing for release of the news. Later this week starts the Jewish holiday of Passover, a time when Jews are forbidden to eat leavened wheat or products made from yeast and leaven – like beer.