Belial wrote:So I had a chance to try Dogfish Head's Ta Henket the other day. Which is beer brewed in the ancient egyptian fashion involving fermenting a bunch of loaves of emmer-wheat bread in various stages of baking by way of native wild yeast.
It was delicious. Apparently kemetic beer tasted a lot like a belgian. Of course, this version was minus the chunks that the real stuff had, but even so.
Interesting. The two Dogfish Head's Ancient Ales I have had were pretty bad(Midas' Touch was one). I figured we have gotten a lot better at brewing in a couple thousand years. I'll have to try that one though.
Interesting. When taking recommendations from me, bear in mind that I liked
Midas Touch, though it was an interesting flavor to get my head around because it didn't quite correspond to any style I was familiar with. Same with Theobroma (the ancient south american offering): I don't expect a beer that light to taste that chocolatey, it was just strange. Ta Henket is similar: it echos of a few different styles (including the aforementioned belgian taste from the yeast) but doesn't quite fit.
Which is why I like that series. It presents a lot of stuff that doesn't quite fit with the somewhat standardized and commonplace styles we've developed over the years. The only one so far that has utterly failed to make an impression on me was Cafe Jiahu. I wasn't angry at it, but I also just don't really remember it.
I think the whole "time passed, therefore we got better at it" thing is true in most respects. But in some cases, we didn't improve along all axes, we just changed along some: the reason we don't use emmer in beer anymore has nothing to do with barley making better beer (though that may also be true depending on taste) and has everything to do with emmer being a pain in the ass to grow. Which is why it's nearly extinct now compared to more commercialized grains: civilization moved over to things that were easier to cultivate because having enough bread to feed your populace is pretty important. And most pre-industrial brewers brewed with what was on hand from food production. So barley and wheat. None of which has anything to do with whether Emmer tastes good or interesting; in my experience it does. Same goes for the difference between using gruit vs hops as a beer-preservative. We switched to hops on the way out of the middle ages because it was easier to grow one plant than to use a mixture of herbs (and because it preserved better than that mixture), not necessarily because hops made better beer. (Though in this case, I agree with the change. Gruit beers taste interesting, but I wouldn't make a habit of them).
So I mean, some choices were made because they made better beer, some were made because they made more
beer, or easier
beer. Kindof like the macros using rice as filler.
One note on Ta Henket is that it's a lot weaker than most beer I'm used to. I think it was 2 or 3% ABV. Which just goes to the fact that there is a reason we use the yeasts we use in modern brewing. So in that respect, yeah, progress = better.
Well, also, the fact that we've developed the ability to filter out the soggy, bitter clumps of fermented bread. I really can't overstate that. Shit is nasty.