Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Cleveland Brewery Recreates Sumerian Beer

Friday, June 21, 2013

398x600 DSC 6110CLEVELAND, OHIO—Brewers at the craft beer maker Great Lakes Brewing Company are working with archaeologists at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute to demystify and recreate the recipe behind a 5,000-year-old Sumerian beer. The best clues for how the brew’s ingredients and cooking method, which was performed using just clay pots and a wooden spoon, come from a poem written to the Sumerian goddess of beer titled the Hymn to Ninkasi. In addition to deciphering the methodology from cuneiform, the University of Chicago team has given the Great Lakes brewers ceramics modeled on ones taken from a 1930s excavation of a site in Iraq. The brew, when finished, won’t be for public consumption.