Ancient Brews

Ancient Brews

Rediscovered and Re-created

Book - 2017
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WW Norton
Patrick E. McGovern—part modern scientist, part Indiana Jones—uncovers and re-creates the oldest alcoholic beverages ever found.
In Ancient Brews, Patrick E. McGovern takes us on a fascinating journey through time, back to the beginning when our ancestors were likely already experimenting with high-sugar fruits, honey, roots and cereals, herbs and tree resins to concoct the perfect drink.Early beverage-makers must have marveled at the magical process of fermentation. Their amazement would have grown as they drank the mind-altering liquids, which were to become the medicines, religious symbols, and social lubricants of later cultures.Interweaving archaeology and science, McGovern leads us on his adventures to China, Turkey, Egypt, Italy, Scandinavia, Honduras, Peru, and Mexico. We share in his laboratory discoveries, including an early Neolithic “cocktail” from China made of wild grapes, hawthorn fruit, rice, and honey; an elite New World cacao beverage that gods and kings delighted in; and the Midas Touch of central Turkey. These liquid time capsules defied modern conventions by mixing wines, beers, meads, and botanicals together into heady, delicious extreme beverages.For the intrepid reader, homebrew interpretations of each ancient beverage and culturally appropriate matching meal recipes are provided, transporting our senses and imaginations “back to the future.”

Baker & Taylor
Interweaving archaeology and science, the author recounts his travels around the world to discover ancient recipes for alcoholic beverages, sharing his own homebrew interpretations of each and culturally appropriate meal pairings.

Book News
Shedding light on the earliest experiments in making fermented alcoholic beverages around the world, this work reveals ancient recipes for booze (and food) that general readers can reproduce at home with basic materials, including European grog, South American corn beer, African herbal beer, and chocolate wine. The book offers much history and science throughout, written in a conversational tone with a sense of humor, and could be used in a fun-with-science course for those with little background. The opening chapter describes the fermentation process in plain language, and there is much discussion of scientific techniques for analyzing residues and samples. B&w photos are included. Author Patrick McGovern is scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. He has written to other books for general readers on ancient alcoholic beverages. Annotation ©2017 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

Interweaving archaeology and science, the author discusses his travels around the world to discover ancient brews for various beverages and then shares his own homebrew interpretations of each beverage and culturally appropriate matching meal recipes.

Publisher: New York : W. W. Norton & Company, Independent Publishers Since 1923, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780393253801
Characteristics: 291 pages ; 28 cm


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