The process of brewing beer has been around as an art for a millennium. It's only been recently, however, that practitioners have tried to turn it into an applied science.
The oldest American brewery is D.G. Yuengling & Son in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, which has been brewing beer since 1829. Although we think of home brewing and brewing of beer in general as starting in the 1800s, beer has actually been around for much longer than that.
Home brewing and beer have always played a large and important part in our lives. In fact, it is believed that Noah provided for beer to be part of the provisions on the Ark!
What we know today as beer was originally known as ale. Ale was made by fermenting the extract from grains and cereals. Certain herbs such as ground ivy and stinging nettle were used for flavoring and bittering. At the start of the 15th
Century, people began to notice a difference between beer and ale, as beer was the hopped beverage that was made in Belgium. Beer and ale were the drink of the common people throughout the country before coffee, tea and cocoa were introduced. Monasteries were the location of some of the first commercial breweries in England.
Many families, specifically farmers, brewed their own ale (or beer), although there were professional brewers in town that made it as well. In fact, home brewing was a household industry in those days.
Most of these professional brewers consisted of widows, because this was one of the few career choices open to widows.
Workers at estates often received ale as wages. When taverns came into existence, they would each brew their own ale. They'd put a fresh bush outside of the place so those passing by would know there was fresh brew available.
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