Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland issued a news release late last week detailing its efforts to brew an accurate version of what may be the first recorded beer recipe from ancient Sumeria. The news isn't new, considering co-owner Pat Conway talked about it at the International Beer Festival earlier this year. But Great Lakes released specific details about the brewing effort, which also involved the University of Chicago, Conway's alma mater.
Pottery students at the university created porcelain vessels, and brewers used sunlight and wooden tools for malting and mashing. The brewery also used research by Tate Paulette, a PhD candidate studying near eastern languages and civilizations at the university. Great Lakes said it had difficulty getting a yeast from the Middle East. (An archaeologist couldn't get yeast samples through customs.)
“We decided to instead experiment with initiating fermentation using the bappir (barley bread) as our yeast source,” Bridget Gauntner, brewery field quality specialist, said in a statement.
The news release refers to the effort as an "initial brewing experiment" and mentions that Great Lakes will brew a second batch in September. The beer will not be bottled or distributed. And there's no mention of how that first batch tasted.