I know of several candidates who consider themselves God’s gift when it comes to beer, but I have recently come across evidence that in ancient times the heavenly brew was in fact the purview of a Goddess.
The ancient Sumerians counted among their most revered Deities the Goddess of Beer – Ninkasi. As evidence of this an ancient hymn to Ninkasi was written some 4000 years ago, and as well as being the lovelorn ramblings of an early boozer, it contains the recipe for the Middle Eastern beverage of the time.
The Hymn provides wonderful evidence of the fact that beer was in fact a staple of the culture of that time around Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) and archaeologists have also discovered chemical traces of beer in a fragmented jar dating from the mid-fourth century BC. At the same site they also found evidence for early wine-making and it is thought that the idea of brewing beer arose from baking, perhaps discovered from the fermentation process that was seen with grains that had been left out too long.
As only fresh water was used in making beer, and it had to be boiled as part of the process, it may have been a case that, quite by accident, they discover it was healthier to drink than the water from the local canals which could be polluted by human and animal waste. The beer also contained nutrients other drinks didn’t and when included as part of a staple diet of the Mesopatamians, they realised they felt better, and not just because of the alcohol. From the evidence of art works also found throughout the region dating from ancient times, it’s clear that beer was consumed daily in great quantities by the people. No wonder they gave prayers of thanks to Ninkasi.
So there you have it – official confirmation that the ladies of the bar at not in fact encroaching on a traditional male domain, but are simply re-claiming their ancient rights as the heavenly appointed village boozers – but we kind of knew that already ;0}