Brewing, also known as zymurgy, is the ancient art of converting grains, chiefly barley, into liquor, particularly that most noble of beverages, beer. It has been a longtime hobby of mine; my mother bought be a kit when I was a teenager and I've been brewing ever since.

It's pretty easy to do; you just boil your materials, cool and add yeast. Then you wait; the yeast do all the work. And the finished product is superb.

Early historical records of brewing date back to Sumeria around 1800 B.C. Then, where it was referred to as "kash", beer was rightfully treated as a gift from the gods. Instead of the "kash crop" mentality exuded by modern brewers, the laws of Hammurabi declared that overcharging your customers for beer was a capital crime, punishable by drowning. Next time you're in a bar at two in the morning, look in your wallet and ask yourself "Are we really the great society, or am I living in the Dark Ages?"

On a more religious note, the Sumerian brewing goddess was named "Ninkasi", whose name translates as "you who fill my mouth so full". One notable piece of literature recovered from this culture is the famous "Hymn to Ninkasi". Contained therein is a recitation of unearthed brewing technique.

The Hymn to Ninkasi

Translation by Miguel Civil

Borne of the flowing water (...) Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag, Borne of the flowing water (...) Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag, Having founded your town by the sacred lake, She finished its great walls for you, Ninkasi, having founded your town by the sacred lake, She finished its great walls for you Your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud, Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake, Ninkasi, Your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud, Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake. You are the one who handles the dough, and with a big shovel, Mixing in a pit, the bappir with sweet aromatics, Ninkasi, You are the one who handles the dough, and with a big shovel, Mixing in a pit, the bappir with date-honey. You are the one who bakes the bappir in the big oven, Puts in order the piles of hulled grains, Ninkasi, you are the one who bakes the bappir in the big oven, Puts in order the piles of hulled grains,, You are the one who waters the malt set on the ground, The noble dogs keep away even the potentates, Ninkasi, you are the one who waters the malt set on the ground, The noble dogs keep away even the potentates. You are the one who soaks the malt in a jar The waves rise, the waves fall. Ninkasi, you are the one who soaks the malt in a jar The waves rise, the waves fall. You are the one who spreads the cooked mash on large reed mats, Coolness overcomes. Ninkasi, you are the one who spreads the cooked mash on large reed mats, Coolness overcomes. You are the one who holds with both hands the great sweet wort, Brewing it with honey and wine (You the sweet wort to the vessel) Ninkasi, (...) (You the sweet wort to the vessel) The filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound, You place appropriately on top of a large collector vat. Ninkasi, the filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound, You place appropriately on top of a large collector vat. When you pour out the filtered beer of the collector vat, It is like the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates. Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat, It is like the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.

Brew"ing (?), n.

1.

The act or process of preparing liquors which are brewed, as beer and ale.

2.

The quantity brewed at once.

A brewing of new beer, set by old beer. Bacon.

3.

A mixing together.

I am not able to avouch anything for certainty, such a brewing and sophistication of them they make. Holland.

4. Naut.

A gathering or forming of a storm or squall, indicated by thick, dark clouds.

 

© Webster 1913.

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