Beer: The Pharaoh's Liquid Gold

Beer: The Pharaoh's Liquid Gold

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A documentary on the invention of beer in ancient Egypt.

>The Brussels Journal has a review the book A History of Beer and Brewing (Cambridge, UK: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2003) by Ian Spencer Hornsey. The book provides a quick worldwide survey of ancient brews. The selection below is a section of the book review dealing with beer and brewing in the Ancient Near East.

Recorded human history begins with the rise of urban literate civilization in Mesopotamia and the Middle East, starting with the Sumerians and the cities of Uruk, Ur, Lagash and Kish in the fourth millennium BC. These civilizations had access to barley and wheat, which by consensus would be regarded as the preferred grains by most brewers. The origin of wheat and barley is believed to lie in the Fertile Crescent. Wild barley grew in Israel and Syria, the Jordan Valley with the extremely ancient Neolithic town of Jericho via eastern Anatolia to northern Mesopotamia and western Iran. Apart from barley, all of the major cereal crops such as wheat, oats, rye, millets, maize, sorghum and rice can and have been used to make beer. Some of the oldest written texts in the world contain lists of grains and ingredients for making beer. Sumerian Mesopotamia produced a great variety of beers, most of which were probably weaker than the European beers of medieval times. Wine was made in the Zagros Mountains in Iran and imported to the main urban sites. Beer was a popular drink in Mesopotamia during all eras and was consumed by all social groups, interlinked with mythology, religion and medicine, synonymous with happiness and a civilized life. Both filtered and unfiltered beers were brewed in the region.

According to I. Hornsey, “Beer that had not gone through any sieving or settlement phase was always drunk through straws, in order to avoid gross sediment. Numerous cylinder seals have been recovered which show individuals (usually two) drinking through straws from a communal vessel, something that supports the notion that drinking beer was a social activity….Drinking straws were usually made of reeds, and hence have long since perished, but one or two elaborate and more substantial structures have survived. Three such items were recovered from a royal tomb at Ur. One was made of copper encased in lapis lazuli one was made of silver, fitted with gold and lapis lazuli rings, and the third was a reed covered in gold, and found still inserted in a silver jar. The silver tube was an impressive L-shaped structure, being ca. 1 cm in diameter, and some 93 cm long. A number of metal ‘straws’ have also been recovered from Syrian sites. Unfiltered Mesopotamian beer, which was thick and cloudy, was low in alcohol but high in carbohydrate and proteins, making it a nutritious food supplement.”

Beer played an important role in the ceremonial life of ancient Egypt, too. As Douglas J. Brewer and Emily Teeter state in their book Egypt and the Egyptians, second edition, “The most popular drink in Egypt was beer, and we assume that all Egyptians – rich and poor, male and female – drank great quantities of it in spite of advice such as ‘Don’t indulge in drinking beer, lest you utter evil speech, and don’t know what you are saying’ (from the ‘Instructions of Ani’). Wages were paid in grain, which was used to make two staples of the Egyptian diet: bread and beer. Beer was made from barley dough, so bread making and beer making are often shown together. Barley dough destined for beer making was partially baked and then crumbled into a large vat, where it was mixed with water and sometimes sweetened with date juice. This mixture was left to ferment, which it did quickly the liquid was then strained into a pot that was sealed with a clay stopper. Ancient Egyptian beer had to be drunk soon after it was made because it went flat very quickly. Egyptians made a variety of beers of different strengths.”

All kinds of workers were paid in grain and in grain products such as beer and bread. People at all levels of Egyptian society drank beer, with brewing not as tied to the temples as it was in Mesopotamia, although there was some government interference and regulation here as well. Breweries in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Syria could be large, but in the warm climate the beer would quickly become undrinkable and could thus not be transported too far or exported to distant regions. Baking and brewing often went on in shared quarters on the estates of Egypt since these two processes involved the same raw materials and similar equipment. Artistic evidence suggests a strong link between brewing and bread-making, both being domestic duties usually performed by women. Women made much of the beer in medieval Europe, too, until brewing become a major, capital-intensive industry and gradually became dominated by men. The roles of microscopic organisms in baking and brewing, however, were not fully appreciated until the scientific advances of nineteenth century Europe.

Beer was also consumed by many other ancient peoples, including the Hittites, Hebrews, Philistines, Thracians, Illyrians, Phrygians and Scythians. Some peoples, like the Nubians and the Ethiopians, would appear to have developed their own methods of brewing, making use of indigenous raw materials. The Eskimos drank chiefly iced water and warm blood before they were confronted by Europeans and their alcoholic drinks.

Wine has frequently throughout recorded history enjoyed greater prestige than beer and has often been the preferred choice of the wealthy and the privileged. It is difficult to say why. Maybe it was because wine was usually stronger than beer or that it kept longer. We cannot say with certainty that it always tasted better. Regardless of the reason for this, it is a fact that wine was often valued more highly. This attitude arguably still exists today, when beer is often viewed as the drink of the “common man,” while those eating at expensive restaurants will normally prefer a glass of fine wine rather than a glass of beer to accompany their food.

Wine was widely consumed in the ancient Middle East, and sometimes its effects were enhanced by additives. Along with eating and drinking went song and dance. Egyptians and Mesopotamians found it difficult to grow large amounts of grapes for wine and instead imported what they could not make. Thousands of wine jars were deposited in the tombs of the first pharaohs of Egypt at Saqqara (Memphis) and Abydos, the main centers of the recently united country. The about 700 jars of wine found in the tomb of one of Egypt’s first kings at Abydos, Scorpion I, contain some of the earliest known hieroglyphic writing ever discovered in Egypt, from before 3100 BC. This wine was apparently imported from southern Palestine, and it is quite clear that there was large-scale production of wine in the Levant – present-day Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan – already at this early date.

If you like beer, this post is for you.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

The Beer Archaeologist

It’s just after dawn at the Dogfish Head brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where the ambition for the morning is to resurrect an Egyptian ale whose recipe dates back thousands of years.

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Video: Inside Dogfish Head Brewery

A brief history of happy hour: a 19th-century Japanese geisha holds sake. (Keisai Eisen, Victoria and Albert Museum, London / Art Resource, NY) A Dutch tapestry depicts a wine harvest c. A.D. 1500. (Musee National du Moyen Age - Thermes de Cluny, Paris / Réunion de Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, NY) In a first-century fresco, Romans enjoy libations, presumably wine. (Iberfoto / The Image Works) In ancient Egypt, pyramid workers received a daily ration of beer. (AKG-Images) Ancient cultures used an array of ingredients to make their alcoholic beverages, including emmer wheat, wild yeast, chamomile, thyme and oregano. (Landon Nordeman) Archaeologist Patrick McGovern—better known to his brewery buddies as "Dr. Pat"—scours fragments of old vessels for residues that allow him to reverse-engineer ancient beverages. He discovered the world's oldest-known booze, a Neolithic grog brewed in China some 9,000 years ago. (Landon Nordeman) Sam Calagione, the founder of the Dogfish Head brewpub in Delaware, uses McGovern's recipes to recreate and market beverages once enjoyed by kings and pharaohs. Part alchemist, part brewmaster, Calagione travels the world searching for rare ingredients, such as yeast gathered from an Egyptian date farm. (Landon Nordeman) Vintage science: Bowls recovered from King Midas' 700 B.C. tomb. (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Gordion Archive) The discovery of the King Midas bowls led to the creation of Midas Touch beer. (Landon Nordeman) Vessels like those found near the head of a skeleton buried 9,000 years ago in China inspired Chateau Jiahu. (Juzhong Zhang and Zhiqing Zhang / Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology of Henan Province, Zhengzhou, China) Chateau Jiahu is a blend of wild grapes, hawthorn, rice and honey. (Landon Nordeman) A King Tut exhibit in New York City was the venue for unveiling Dogfish Head's latest brew, Ta Henket, ancient Egyptian for "bread beer." It was the fifth collaboration between Calagione and McGovern. "He's one of us," Calagione says of the archaeologist. "He's a beer guy." (Landon Nordeman)

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But will the za’atar—a potent Middle Eastern spice mixture redolent of oregano—clobber the soft, floral flavor of the chamomile? And what about the dried doum-palm fruit, which has been giving off a worrisome fungusy scent ever since it was dropped in a brandy snifter of hot water and sampled as a tea?

“I want Dr. Pat to try this,” says Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head’s founder, frowning into his glass.

At last, Patrick McGovern, a 66-year-old archaeologist, wanders into the little pub, an oddity among the hip young brewers in their sweat shirts and flannel. Proper to the point of primness, the University of Pennsylvania adjunct professor sports a crisp polo shirt, pressed khakis and well-tended loafers his wire spectacles peek out from a blizzard of white hair and beard. But Calagione, grinning broadly, greets the dignified visitor like a treasured drinking buddy. Which, in a sense, he is.

The truest alcohol enthusiasts will try almost anything to conjure the libations of old. They’ll slaughter goats to fashion fresh wineskins, so the vintage takes on an authentically gamey taste. They’ll brew beer in dung-tempered pottery or boil it by dropping in hot rocks. The Anchor Steam Brewery, in San Francisco, once cribbed ingredients from a 4,000-year-old hymn to Ninkasi, the Sumerian beer goddess.

“Dr. Pat,” as he’s known at Dogfish Head, is the world’s foremost expert on ancient fermented beverages, and he cracks long-forgotten recipes with chemistry, scouring ancient kegs and bottles for residue samples to scrutinize in the lab. He has identified the world’s oldest known barley beer (from Iran’s Zagros Mountains, dating to 3400 B.C.), the oldest grape wine (also from the Zagros, circa 5400 B.C.) and the earliest known booze of any kind, a Neolithic grog from China’s Yellow River Valley brewed some 9,000 years ago.

Widely published in academic journals and books, McGovern’s research has shed light on agriculture, medicine and trade routes during the pre-biblical era. But—and here’s where Calagione’s grin comes in—it’s also inspired a couple of Dogfish Head’s offerings, including Midas Touch, a beer based on decrepit refreshments recovered from King Midas’ 700 B.C. tomb, which has received more medals than any other Dogfish creation.

“It’s called experimental archaeology,” McGovern explains.

To devise this latest Egyptian drink, the archaeologist and the brewer toured acres of spice stalls at the Khan el-Khalili, Cairo’s oldest and largest market, handpicking ingredients amid the squawks of soon-to-be decapitated chickens and under the surveillance of cameras for “Brew Masters,” a Discovery Channel reality show about Calagione’s business.

The ancients were liable to spike their drinks with all sorts of unpredictable stuff—olive oil, bog myrtle, cheese, meadow­sweet, mugwort, carrot, not to mention hallucinogens like hemp and poppy. But Calagione and McGovern based their Egyptian selections on the archaeologist’s work with the tomb of the Pharaoh Scorpion I, where a curious combination of savory, thyme and coriander showed up in the residues of libations interred with the monarch in 3150 B.C. (They decided the za’atar spice medley, which frequently includes all those herbs, plus oregano and several others, was a current-day substitute.) Other guidelines came from the even more ancient Wadi Kubbaniya, an 18,000-year-old site in Upper Egypt where starch-dusted stones, probably used for grinding sorghum or bulrush, were found with the remains of doum-palm fruit and chamomile. It’s difficult to confirm, but “it’s very likely they were making beer there,” McGovern says.

The brewers also went so far as to harvest a local yeast, which might be descended from ancient varieties (many commercial beers are made with manufactured cultures). They left sugar-filled petri dishes out overnight at a remote Egyptian date farm, to capture wild airborne yeast cells, then mailed the samples to a Belgian lab, where the organisms were isolated and grown in large quantities.

Back at Dogfish Head, the tea of ingredients now inexplicably smacks of pineapple. McGovern advises the brewers to use less za’atar they comply. The spices are dumped into a stainless steel kettle to stew with barley sugars and hops. McGovern acknowledges that the heat source should technically be wood or dried dung, not gas, but he notes approvingly that the kettle’s base is insulated with bricks, a suitably ancient technique.

As the beer boils during lunch break, McGovern sidles up to the brewery’s well-appointed bar and pours a tall, frosty Midas Touch for himself, spurning the Cokes nursed by the other brewers. He’s fond of citing the role of beer in ancient workplaces. “For the pyramids, each worker got a daily ration of four to five liters,” he says loudly, perhaps for Calagione’s benefit. “It was a source of nutrition, refreshment and reward for all the hard work. It was beer for pay. You would have had a rebellion on your hands if they’d run out. The pyramids might not have been built if there hadn’t been enough beer.”

Soon the little brew room is filled with fragrant roiling steam, with hints of toast and molasses—an aroma that can only be described as intoxicating. The wort, or unfermented beer, emerges a pretty palomino color the brewers add flasks of the yellowish, murky-looking Egyptian yeast and fermentation begins.

They plan on making just seven kegs of the experimental beverage, to be unveiled in New York City two weeks later. The brewers are concerned because the beer will need that much time to age and nobody will be able to taste it in advance.

McGovern, though, is thinking on another time scale entirely. “This probably hasn’t been smelled for 18,000 years,” he sighs, inhaling the delicious air.

The shelves of McGovern’s office in the University of Pennsylvania Museum are packed with sober-sounding volumes—Structural Inorganic Chemistry, Cattle-Keepers of the Eastern Sahara—along with bits of bacchanalia. There are replicas of ancient bronze drinking vessels, stoppered flasks of Chinese rice wine and an old empty Midas Touch bottle with a bit of amber goo in the bottom that might intrigue archaeologists thousands of years hence. There’s also a wreath that his wife, Doris, a retired university administrator, wove from wild Pennsylvania grape vines and the corks of favorite bottles. But while McGovern will occasionally toast a promising excavation with a splash of white wine sipped from a lab beaker, the only suggestion of personal vice is a stack of chocolate Jell-O pudding cups.

The scientific director of the university’s Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health, McGovern had had an eventful fall. Along with touring Egypt with Calagione, he traveled to Austria for a conference on Iranian wine and also to France, where he attended a wine conference in Burgundy, toured a trio of Champagne houses, drank Chablis in Chablis and stopped by a critical excavation near the southern coast.

Yet even strolling the halls with McGovern can be an education. Another professor stops him to discuss, at length, the folly of extracting woolly mammoth fats from permafrost. Then we run into Alexei Vranich, an expert on pre-Columbian Peru, who complains that the last time he drank chicha (a traditional Peruvian beer made with corn that has been chewed and spit out), the accompanying meal of roast guinea pigs was egregiously undercooked. “You want guinea pigs crunchy, like bacon,” Vranich says. He and McGovern talk chicha for a while. “Thank you so much for your research,” Vranich says as he departs. “I keep telling people that beer is more important than armies when it comes to understanding people.”

We are making our way down to the human ecology lab, where McGovern’s technicians are borrowing some equipment. McGovern has innumerable collaborators, partly because his work is so engaging, and partly because he is able to repay kindnesses with bottles of Midas Touch, whose Iron Age-era recipe of muscat grapes, saffron, barley and honey is said to be reminiscent of Sauternes, the glorious French dessert wine.

In the lab, a flask of coffee-colored liquid bubbles on a hot plate. It contains tiny fragments from an ancient Etruscan amphora found at the French dig McGovern had just visited. The ceramic powder, which had been painstakingly extracted from the amphora’s base with a diamond drill, is boiling in a chloroform and methanol solvent meant to pull out ancient organic compounds that might have soaked into the pottery. McGovern is hoping to determine whether the amphora once contained wine, which would point to how the beverage arrived in France in the first place—a rather ticklish topic.

“We think of France as sort of synonymous with wine,” McGovern says. “The French spent so much time developing all these different varietals, and those plants were taken all over the world and became the basis of the Australian industry, the Californian industry and so forth. France is a key to the whole worldwide culture of wine, but how did wine get to France? That’s the question.”

Francophiles might not like the answer. Today wine is so integral to French culture that French archaeologists include the cost of cases in their excavation budgets. McGovern, however, suspects that wine was being produced in Etruria—present-day central Italy—well before the first French vineyards were planted on the Mediterranean coast. Until Etruscan merchants began exporting wine to what is now France around 600 B.C., the Gauls were likely guzzling what their epicurean descendants would consider a barbaric blend of honey or wheat, filtered through reeds or mustaches.

McGovern’s Etruscan amphora was excavated from a house in Lattes, France, which was built around 525 B.C. and destroyed in 475 B.C. If the French were still drinking Etruscan vintages at that point, it would suggest they had not established their own wineries yet. The trick is proving that the amphora contained wine.

McGovern can’t simply look for the presence of alcohol, which survives barely a few months, let alone millennia, before evaporating or turning to vinegar. Instead, he pursues what are known as fingerprint compounds. For instance, traces of beeswax hydrocarbons indicate honeyed drinks calcium oxalate, a bitter, whitish byproduct of brewed barley also known as beer stone, means barley beer.

Tree resin is a strong but not surefire indicator of wine, because vintners of old often added resin as a preservative, lending the beverage a pleasing lemony flavor. (McGovern would like to test the Lattes samples for resin from a cypress-like tree its presence would suggest the Etruscans were in contact with Phoenician colonies in Northern Africa, where that species grows.) The only foolproof way to identify ancient wine from this region is the presence of tartaric acid, a compound in grapes.

Once the boiling brown pottery mixture cooks down to a powder, says Gretchen Hall, a researcher collaborating with McGovern, they’ll run the sample through an infrared spectrometer. That will produce a distinctive visual pattern based on how its multiple chemical constituents absorb and reflect light. They’ll compare the results against the profile for tartaric acid. If there’s a match or a near-match, they may do other preliminary checks, like the Feigl spot test, in which the sample is mixed with sulfuric acid and a phenol derivative: if the resulting compound glows green under ultraviolet light, it most likely contains tartaric acid. So far, the French samples look promising.

McGovern already sent some material to Armen Mirzoian, a scientist at the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, whose primary job is verifying the contents of alcoholic beverages—that, say, the gold flakes in the Italian-made Goldschlager schnapps are really gold. (They are.) His Beltsville, Maryland, lab is crowded with oddities such as a confiscated bottle of a distilled South Asian rice drink full of preserved cobras and vodka packaged in a container that looks like a set of Russian nesting dolls. He treats McGovern’s samples with reverence, handling the dusty box like a prized Bordeaux. “It’s almost eerie,” he whispers, fingering the bagged sherds inside. “Some of these are 5,000, 6,000 years old.”

Months later, McGovern e-mails me with good news: Mirzoian has detected tartaric acid in the Lattes samples from France, making it all but certain they contained imported Etrus­can wine. Also, the project’s archaeologists have unearthed a limestone treading vat from 400 B.C.—what would seem to be the earliest French wine press, just about 100 years younger than the Etruscan amphora. Between the two sets of artifacts, McGovern hopes to pinpoint the advent of French wine.

“We still need to know more about the other additives,” he says, “but so far we have excellent evidence.”

McGovern’s Irish ancestors opened the first bar in Mitchell, South Dakota, in the late 1800s. His Norwegian predecessors were teetotalers. McGovern credits his relationship with alcohol to this mixed lineage—his interest is avid, not obsessive. In his student days at Cornell University and elsewhere, when McGovern dabbled in everything from neurochemistry to ancient literature, he knew little about alcohol. It was the late 1960s and early 1970s other mind-altering substances were in vogue the California wine revolution had barely begun and Americans were still knocking back all manner of swill.

One summer, during which McGovern was “partly in grad school,” he says with the vagueness frequently reserved for the 󈨊s, he and Doris toured the Middle East and Europe, living on a few dollars a day. En route to Jerusalem, they found themselves wandering Germany’s Mosel wine region, asking small-town mayors if local vintners needed seasonal pickers. One winemaker, whose arbors dotted the steep slate slopes above the Moselle River, took them on, letting them board in his house.

The first night there, the man of the house kept returning from his cellar with bottle after bottle, McGovern recalls, “but he wouldn’t ever show us what year it was. Of course, we didn’t know anything about vintage, because we had never really drunk that much wine, and we were from the United States. But he kept bringing up bottle after bottle without telling us, and by the end of the evening, when we were totally drunk—the worst I’ve ever been, my head going around in circles, lying on the bed feeling like I’m in a vortex—I knew that 1969 was terrible, 󈨇 was good, 󈧿 was superb.”

McGovern arose the next morning with a seething hangover and an enduring fascination with wine.

Earning his PhD in Near Eastern archaeology and history from the University of Pennsylvania, he ended up directing a dig in Jordan’s Baq’ah Valley for more than 20 years, and became an expert on Bronze and Iron Age pendants and pottery. (He admits he was once guilty of scrubbing ancient vessels clean of all their gunk.) By the 1980s, he had developed an interest in the study of organic materials—his undergraduate degree was in chemistry—including jars containing royal purple, a once-priceless ancient dye the Phoenicians extracted from sea snail glands. The tools of molecular archaeology were swiftly developing, and a smidgen of sample could yield surprising insights about foods, medicines and even perfumes. Perhaps ancient containers were less important than the residues inside them, McGovern and other scholars began to think.

A chemical study in the late 1970s revealed that a 100 B.C. Roman ship wrecked at sea had likely carried wine, but that was about the extent of ancient beverage science until 1988, when a colleague of McGovern’s who’d been studying Iran’s Godin Tepe site showed him a narrow-necked pottery jar from 3100 B.C. with red stains.

“She thought maybe they were a wine deposit,” McGovern remembers. “We were kind of skeptical about that.” He was even more dubious “that we’d be able to pick up fingerprint compounds that were preserved enough from 5,000 years ago.”

But he figured they should try. He decided tartaric acid was the right marker to look for, “and we started figuring out different tests we could do. Infrared spectrometry. Liquid chromatography. The Feigl spot test. They all showed us that tartaric acid was present,” McGovern says.

He published quietly, in an in-house volume, hardly suspecting that he had discovered a new angle on the ancient world. But the 1990 article came to the attention of Robert Mondavi, the California wine tycoon who had stirred some controversy by promoting wine as part of a healthy lifestyle, calling it “the temperate, civilized, sacred, romantic mealtime beverage recommended in the Bible.” With McGovern’s help, Mondavi organized a lavishly catered academic conference the next year in Napa Valley. Historians, geneticists, linguists, oenologists, archaeologists and viticulture experts from several countries conferred over elaborate dinners, the conversations buoyed by copious drafts of wine. “We were interested in winemaking from all different perspectives,” McGovern says. “We wanted to understand the whole process—to figure out how they domesticated the grape, and where did that happen, how do you tend grapes and the horticulture that goes into it.” A new discipline was born, which scholars jokingly refer to as drinkology, or dipsology, the study of thirst.

Back at Penn, McGovern soon began rifling through the museum’s storage-room catacombs for promising bits of pottery. Forgotten kitchen jars from a Neolithic Iranian village called Hajji Firuz revealed strange yellow stains. McGovern subjected them to his tartaric acid tests they were positive. He’d happened upon the world’s oldest-known grape wine.

Many of McGovern’s most startling finds stem from other archaeologists’ spadework he brings a fresh perspective to forgotten digs, and his “excavations” are sometimes no more taxing than walking up or down a flight of stairs in his own museum to retrieve a sherd or two. Residues extracted from the drinking set of King Midas—who ruled over Phrygia, an ancient district of Turkey—had languished in storage for 40 years before McGovern found them and went to work. The artifacts contained more than four pounds of organic materials, a treasure—to a biomolecular archaeologist—far more precious than the king’s fabled gold. But he’s also adamant about travel and has done research on every continent except Australia (though he has lately been intrigued by Aborigine concoctions) and Antarctica (where there are no sources of fermentable sugar, anyway). McGovern is intrigued by traditional African honey beverages in Ethiopia and Uganda, which might illuminate humanity’s first efforts to imbibe, and Peruvian spirits brewed from such diverse sources as quinoa, peanuts and pepper-tree berries. He has downed drinks of all descriptions, including Chinese baijiu, a distilled alcohol that tastes like bananas (but contains no banana) and is approximately 120 proof, and the freshly masticated Peruvian chicha, which he is too polite to admit he despises. (“It’s better when they flavor it with wild strawberries,” he says firmly.)

Partaking is important, he says, because drinking in modern societies offers insight into dead ones.

“I don’t know if fermented beverages explain everything, but they help explain a lot about how cultures have developed,” he says. “You could say that kind of single-mindedness can lead you to over-interpret, but it also helps you make sense of a universal phenomenon.”

McGovern, in fact, believes that booze helped make us human. Yes, plenty of other creatures get drunk. Bingeing on fermented fruits, inebriated elephants go on trampling sprees and wasted birds plummet from their perches. Unlike distillation, which human beings actually invented (in China, around the first century A.D., McGovern suspects), fermentation is a natural process that occurs serendipi­tously: yeast cells consume sugar and create alcohol. Ripe figs laced with yeast drop from trees and ferment honey sitting in a tree hollow packs quite a punch if mixed with the right proportion of rainwater and yeast and allowed to stand. Almost certainly, humanity’s first nip was a stumbled-upon, short-lived elixir of this sort, which McGovern likes to call a “Stone Age Beaujolais nouveau.”

But at some point the hunter-gatherers learned to maintain the buzz, a major breakthrough. “By the time we became distinctly human 100,000 years ago, we would have known where there were certain fruits we could collect to make fermented beverages,” McGovern says. “We would have been very deliberate about going at the right time of the year to collect grains, fruits and tubers and making them into beverages at the beginning of the human race.” (Alas, archaeologists are unlikely to find evidence of these preliminary hooches, fermented from things such as figs or baobab fruit, because their creators, in Africa, would have stored them in dried gourds and other containers that did not stand the test of time.)

With a supply of mind-blowing beverages on hand, human civilization was off and running. In what might be called the “beer before bread” hypothesis, the desire for drink may have prompted the domestication of key crops, which led to permanent human settlements. Scientists, for instance, have measured atomic variations within the skeletal remains of New World humans the technique, known as isotope analysis, allows researchers to determine the diets of the long-deceased. When early Americans first tamed maize around 6000 B.C., they were probably drinking the corn in the form of wine rather than eating it, analysis has shown.

Maybe even more important than their impact on early agriculture and settlement patterns, though, is how prehistoric potions “opened our minds to other possibilities” and helped foster new symbolic ways of thinking that helped make humankind unique, McGovern says. “Fermented beverages are at the center of religions all around the world. [Alcohol] makes us who we are in a lot of ways.” He contends that the altered state of mind that comes with intoxication could have helped fuel cave drawings, shamanistic medicine, dance rituals and other advancements.

When McGovern traveled to China and discovered the oldest known alcohol—a heady blend of wild grapes, hawthorn, rice and honey that is now the basis for Dogfish Head’s Chateau Jiahu—he was touched but not entirely surprised to learn of another “first” unearthed at Jiahu, an ancient Yellow River Valley settlement: delicate flutes, made from the bones of the red-crowned crane, that are the world’s earliest-known, still playable musical instruments.

Alcohol may be at the heart of human life, but the bulk of McGovern’s most significant samples come from tombs. Many bygone cultures seem to have viewed death as a last call of sorts, and mourners provisioned the dead with beverages and receptacles—agate drinking horns, straws of lapis lazuli and, in the case of a Celtic woman buried in Burgundy around the sixth century B.C., a 1,200-liter caldron—so they could continue to drink their fill in eternity. King Scorpion I’s tomb was flush with once-full wine jars. Later Egyptians simply diagramed beer recipes on the walls so the pharaoh’s servants in the afterlife could brew more (presumably freeing up existing beverages for the living).

Some of the departed had festive plans for the afterlife. In 1957, when University of Pennsylvania archaeologists first tunneled into the nearly airtight tomb of King Midas, encased in an earthen mound near Ankara, Turkey, they discovered the body of a 60- to 65-year-old man fabulously arrayed on a bed of purple and blue cloth beside the largest cache of Iron Age drinking paraphernalia ever found:� bronze buckets, vats and bowls. And as soon as the archaeologists let fresh air into the vault, the tapestries’ vivid colors began fading before their eyes.

Archaeology is, at heart, a destructive science, McGovern recently told an audience at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian: “Every time you excavate, you destroy.”

That may be why he likes dreaming up new beers so much.

Dogfish Head’s Ta Henket (ancient Egyptian for “bread beer”) was unveiled last November in New York, in the midst of a glittering King Tut exhibit at Discovery Times Square. Euphoric (or maybe just tipsy) beer nerds and a few members of the press file into an auditorium adorned with faux obelisks and bistro tables, each with a bowl of nuts in the center. The words dog, fish and head in hieroglyphics are projected on the walls.

Onstage beside McGovern, Calagione, swigging an auburn-colored ale, tells the flushed crowd about how he and the archaeologist joined forces. In 2000, at a Penn Museum dinner hosted by a British beer and whiskey guidebook writer, Michael Jackson, McGovern announced his intention to recreate King Midas’ last libations from the excavated residue that had moldered in museum storage for 40 years. All interested brewers should meet in his lab at 9 the next morning, he said. Even after the night’s revelry, several dozen showed up. Calagione wooed McGovern with a plum-laced medieval braggot (a type of malt and honey mead) that he had been toying with McGovern, already a fan of the brewery’s Shelter Pale Ale, soon paid a visit to the Delaware facility.

When he first met Dr. Pat, Calagione tells the audience, “the first thing I was struck by was, ‘Oh my God, this guy looks nothing like a professor.’” The crowd roars with laughter. McGovern, buttoned into a cardigan sweater, is practically the hieroglyphic for professor. But he won over the brewer when, a few minutes into that first morning meeting, he filled his coffee mug with Chicory Stout. “He’s one of us,” Calagione says. “He’s a beer guy.”

Ta Henket is their fifth collaboration—along with Midas Touch and Chateau Jiahu, they’ve made Theobroma, based on an archaic Honduran chocolate drink, and chicha. (All are commercially available, though only five barrels of the chicha are made per year.) McGovern is paid for his consulting services.

Now the inaugural pitchers of Ta Henket are being poured from kegs at the back of the room. Neither Calagione nor McGovern has yet tasted the stuff. It emerges peach-colored and opaque, the foam as thick as whipped cream.

The brew, which will be available for sale this fall, later receives mixed reviews online. “Think citrus, herbs, bubblegum,” one reviewer writes. “Rosemary? Honey? Sesame? I can’t identify all the spices.”

“Nose is old vegetables and yeast,” says another.

As soon as he has sampled a mouthful, McGovern seizes a pitcher and begins pouring pints for the audience, giving off a shy glow. He enjoys the showmanship. When Midas Touch debuted in 2000, he helped recreate the ruler’s funerary feast in a gallery of the Penn Museum. The main course was a traditional lentil and barbecued lamb stew, followed by fennel tarts in pomegranate jus. Midas’ eternal beverage of choice was served with dessert, in wine glasses that showed off its bewitching color—a warm caramel with glimmers of gold.

In his laboratory, McGovern keeps an envelope containing Neolithic grape seeds, which he wheedled out of a viticulture professor in Georgia (the country, not the state) years ago. The man had six desiccated pips in good condition, ideal for DNA analysis.

“I said, ‘Maybe we could take some of those back and analyze them,’” McGovern recalls. “He said, ‘No, no, they’re too important.’” “This would be for the cause of science,” McGovern persisted.

The Georgian left the room for a moment to agonize, and returned to say that McGovern and science could have two of the ancient seeds. Parting with them, he said, was like “parting with his soul.” The scholars raised a glass of white Muscat Alexandrueli to mark the occasion.

But McGovern has still not tested the seeds, because he’s not yet confident in the available DNA extraction methods­. He has just one chance at analysis, and then the 6,000-year-old samples will be reduced to dust.

One day I ask McGovern what sort of libation he’d like in his own tomb. “Chateau Jiahu,” he says, ever the Dogfish Head loyalist. But after a moment he changes his mind. The grapes he and his wife helped pick in the summer of 1971 turned out to yield perhaps the best Mosel Riesling of the last century. “We had bottles of that wine that we let sit in the cellar for a while, and when we opened them up it was like some sort of ambrosia,” he says. “It was an elixir, something out of this world. If you were going to drink something for eternity you might drink that.”

In general, though, the couple enjoys whatever bottles they have on hand. These days McGovern barely bothers with his cellar: “My wife says I tend to age things too long.”

Staff writer Abigail Tucker last wrote about Blackbeard’s treasure. Photographer Landon Nordeman is based in New York.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article mentioned an Egyptian ale recipe that dates back hundreds of centuries. The article now says the recipe dates back thousands of years.

Ancient Egyptian Alcohol: Beer, Wine and the Festival of Drunkenness

Alcohol was prevalent in ancient Egypt, especially in the form of beer. Beer was made from barley, honey, herbs and spices, and was drunk in preference to water. This was likely due to the bacteria in the Nile water, which required boiling to purify it part of the brewing process involved boiling, along side the fermentation process, served to kill off such bacteria and provide a safe beverage for daily consumption. Wine was the drink of the wealthy, as it was an exotic commodity in ancient times. Alcohol was part of ancient Egyptian culture from the earliest times: fragments of numerous ceramic beer and wine jars were found at subsidiary burials, all labelled with the name of King Aha I of the First Dynasty. According to John F. Nunn (2002) in Ancient Egyptian Medicine, beer and wine were both used as carriers for medicines. Drunkenness was not generally considered to be virtue, yet Carolyn Graves-Brown (2010) in her book Dancing for Hathor notes that ". 'holy intoxication' was encouraged, possibly as a link to the world of the gods, an alternative state of being". As such, the ⟾stival of Drunkenness' (tekhi) was celebrated during the first month of the ancient Egyptian year, in honour of the goddess Sekhmet. Alcohol was therefore not only a daily necessity of life in ancient Egypt, but was also a link to the gods.

Alphabetical List of Beer Gods & Goddesses

    • Abundantia: Roman Goddess of Abundance See Habonde.
      • Acan: Mayan God of Alcohol

        Acan is the Mayan God of Alcohol (or intoxicating beverages), whose name means literally “groan.” He’s said to be very boisterous and often makes a fool of himself while intoxicated.
        Holiday: Feast of Acan, April 2
        Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
        • Accla: Incan female keepers of the sacred fires, who also brewed beer

          The Accla were female virgins chosen by Inti (The Incan Sun God) to keep the sacred fires burning. In their spare time, they also brewed beer.
          Holiday: Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun), June 24
          Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
          • Aegir: Norse Brewer to the Gods of Asgard

            Aegir (sometimes spelled Oegir) was primarily the Norse God of the Sea, but was also the brewer to the Gods of Asgard. He and his nine daughters (the billow maidens) brewed ale in a large pot given to Aegir by Thor. His association to brewing is most likely due to the foam on the ocean looking similar to the foamy head of an ale. Aegir was also a terrific host. The mugs in his house refilled themselves with more ale when you drained your cup so your never went thirsty.
            Holiday: Celtic Sea Festival, March 3
            Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
            • Aizen Myō’ō: Japanese God of Tavern Keepers

              Aizen Myō’ō is the Japanese god of tavern keepers, musicians, singers, prostitutes and love. He’s a Buddhist deity and in Chinese Buddhism he’s known as Rāgarāja
              Holiday: Aizen Festival in Osaka, Japan, June 30-July 2
              Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
              • Albina: Arcadian, British & Irish White Barley Goddess

                The White Barley Goddess, Albina was also known as Alphito. One of the earliest names for the British Isles, Albion, is thought to come from her name. The first modern microbrewery in the U.S. was called “New Albion Brewing.”
                Holiday: Festival of Albina, a.k.a. Alphito, August 1
                Links: Wikipedia
                • Amaethon: Welsh God of Agriculture

                  Amaethon was the god of agriculture, and the son of the goddess Dôn. His name means “laborer” or “ploughman.” He apparently was “responsible for the Cad Goddeu, or “Battle of Trees,” between the lord of the otherworld, Arawn, and the Children of Dôn, and the tale is essentially the Welsh version of the Tuatha Dé Danann
                  Holiday: Alban Elfed, September 22 (Autumnal Equinox)
                  Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                  • Arnemetia: Celtic River Goddess

                    Arnemetia was a river goddess who was worshiped in Roman times at Aquae Arnemetiae, the present-day Buxton Spa. Her name is connected with nemeton, “sacred grove,” which I want to believe means it’s the best place to find brewing water.
                    Holiday: Festival of Sacred Groves, April 21
                    Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                    • Ashnan: Mesopotamian/Sumerian Goddess of Grain

                      Ashnan, or Asnan, was a goddess of grain in Mesopotamia, and a goddess of drunkenness, wine & grains in Sumeria. “She and her brother Lahar, God of cattle, were created by Enlil to provide food for the Gods. One day they had too much to drink and could not serve as they should, so Enlil decided to create humans to serve the Gods instead. Ashnan was often shown with ears of corn sprouting from her shoulders.” Like most grain goddesses, Ashnan was a very old deity she appeared in the Early Dynastic period (2900-2350 B.C.E.)
                      Holiday: Mesopotamian/Sumerian Grain Festival, March 20
                      Links: An Inner Journey / Wikipedia
                      • Bacchus: Roman God of Intoxication See Dionysus.
                        • Ba-Maguje: Hausa Spirit of Drunkenness

                          In Hausa mythology, Ba-Maguje is the spirit of drunkenness. There’s no physical description of Ba-Maguje, but he supposedly causes alcoholism by making people increasingly thirsty but insensitive the how much they’ve consumed. The Hausa are Muslims living in northern Nigeria and other parts of West Africa.
                          Holiday: Ba-Maguje’s Day (on Eid al-Fitr July 28, 2014)
                          Links: Mythology Dictionary / Wikipedia
                          • Bes: Proto-Egyptian God, Protector of the Home

                            This deity originated in the Sudan and is represented as a grotesque, bearded dwarf with a crown and a sword. Bes, was also a primary god of women in labor and a protector of the home, but it was his fondness for beer that established a spiritual association for brewing second only to that of the goddess Hathor. According to Ian Spencer Hornsey’s A History of Beer and Brewing, “Bes was very fond of drinking beer and is often represented on scarabs as sucking beer through a straw from a large vessel.” In addition, “Soldiers were known to drink beer from Bes-shaped mugs as a deterrent to injury in battle.”
                            Holiday: Festival of the Little Heat, December 16
                            Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia

                          This is an aspect of the Hindu god Shiva, however the one with a nasty temper. Legend has it that Shiva couldn’t handle the idle boasting of Brahma claiming to be the supreme creator, and cut off one of his 5 heads in order to make a point. After, when cooler heads prevailed, Shiva made a remorseful vow of redemption, and was cast out as a beggar under the new guise of Bhairava. He also had the skull of the decapitated head fused to his hand to use as a begging bowl, and a reminder for anger management. Oddly enough the Newar culture of the Kathmandu valley have a unique festival where they set up a large mask of Bhairava to dispense beer from its mouth. This beer is considered sacred, and bestows powerful blessings on whoever manages to get a sip of it.

                          Domestic kobolds are linked to a specific household. A bieresal, kobolds who live in the beer cellars of inns, bring beer into the house, clean the tables, and wash the bottles and glasses. This association between kobolds and work gave rise to a saying current in 19th-century Germany that a woman who worked quickly “had the kobold.” In return, the family must leave a portion of their supper (or beer, for the bierasal) to the spirit and must treat the kobold with respect, never mocking or laughing at the creature. A kobold expects to be fed in the same place at the same time each day. Kobolds bring good luck and help their hosts as long as the hosts take care of them.

                            • Byggvir: Norse God of Barley

                              Byggvir is the Norse God of Barley and his wife Beyla is said to do things with bees and barley, most likely make beer.
                              Holiday: Byggvir Grain Festival, December 14
                              Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                              • Centzon-Totochtin: The Aztec Four Hundred Drunken Rabbit Gods

                                The Centzon-Totochtin are the “Four Hundred Drunken Rabbit Gods,” which according to legend were brewed by the married couple deities Mayahuel (Goddess of Alcohol, though more on the other of Tequila) and Petecatl (God of Medicine). The rabbits represented the infinite ways that people can be affected by intoxication. In the early Aztec numbering system, 400 represented infinity. Their King, Ometotchtli was also known as “Two Rabbit.” Macuiltochtli was another Aztec God of Alcoholic Beverages, and he was also known as “Five Rabbit.” Curiously, there was no “One Rabbit.”
                                Holiday: Centzon-Totochtin Drunken Rabbit Day, Last Saturday in September (28th in 2013) Rabbit Rabbit Day, Last Day of Each Month
                                Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                • Ceres: Roman Goddess of Agriculture & Grain Crops

                                  Above all, Ceres was a “mother goddess” and one of the most important to the Romans. In Greek, where she was called “Demeter,” her name means “mother earth” or “barley-mother.” As such, she was also the Goddess of Agriculture and of the harvest. The Spanish word for beer, “cerveza” is taken from her name.
                                  Holiday: Sementivae begins (Ancient Roman Festival honoring Ceres and Tellus), January 24 Cerealia, April 19 Festival of Kore and Demeter (Persephone Greek Vegetation Goddess and Barley Mother Goddess), March 21 Festival of Demeter (Greek Barley Mother Goddess), May 21 Ambarvailia (Old Roman No Work Day, Purification Festival to Ceres), May 29 Feast of Ceres, September 18 Thesmophoria (honoring the goddesses Demeter and her daughter Persephone), October 25-27 (originally 11-13 Pyanepsion)
                                  Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                  • Cerklicing: Latvian God of Farm Fertility and Crop Abundance

                                    Cerklicing was a Latvian agricultural deity of farm fertility and crop abundance. His job was protecting the fields, taking corn and beer in payment for livestock and shares. Apparently “among Latvian farmers he was more popular than Jesus, at least for a time.” According to the Jesuit Joannis Stribingius, Latvian farmers gave the “first bite of any food, and the first drop of any drink” to Cerklicing when he visited eastern Latvia in 1606. I couldn’t find any image of Cerklicing, so these are a few other Latvian deities.
                                    Holiday: Līgo, June 23
                                    Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                    • Cerridwen: Welsh Goddess of Barley

                                      Cerridwen was the Irish and Welsh Barley Goddess. She also owned the “witches” cauldron of inspiration, which presumably she filled with barley to make beer, known as the “Brew of Inspiration and Knowledge.”
                                      Holiday: Festival of Cerridwen, July 3 Day of Cerridwen and Her Cauldron, June 20 Day of Cerridwen, October 21
                                      Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                      • Cluricane: Irish Spirit or Elf

                                        An Irish spirit or elf. This being, looking like a very old man, lives in the cellar taking care of the beer, etc. It is said to know the location of hidden treasures. The spirit is known by many different names, including cluricane, cluracan, cluracan, clurican, clurican, Cluricaune, Cluricaune, Cluricane, leprechaun, leprechaun, leprachaun, leprecawn, leprechawn, lepricaune, lubberkin, lubrican, luprachain, leprec(h)awn, luchorpain, cluricaune or cluricaune. Some accounts say they’re the same as leprechauns while many others say instead that they’re cousins, or at least related.
                                        Holiday: Leprechaun Day, May 13
                                        Links: Mystical Myth / Wikipedia
                                        • Comus: Greek God of Drunken Revelry

                                          Comus, sometimes Komos, was the “son and a cup-bearer of the god Bacchus.” He was the Greek god of comedy, jokes and drunken revelry, and also is considered the “god of excess.”
                                          Holiday: Feast of Comus, May 27.
                                          Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                          • Consus: Roman Protector of Grains and Storage Bins

                                            Consus was a Roman god whose job was as the protector of grains and storage bins. He was apparently “represented by a grain seed.” Consus may also have been a harvest gods, and was “associated with secret conferences,” too.
                                            Holiday: Consualia (or Consuales Ludi), August 21 and December 15 (Consus had two festivals each year)
                                            Links: Godchecker / Goddesses and Gods / Wikipedia
                                            • Crom Dubh: Irish Underworld Grain or Corn God

                                              Crom Dubh is the “dark bent” god of the harvest, associated with grain or sometimes corn. He is associated with the god Lugh (as his dark counterpart) and connected to the festival of Lammas and also is connected to John Barleycorn (see John Barleycorn below), the personification of the grain, who is killed by being harvested at this time. Many people honor St. Patrick’s Fast by making a pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick, where he fasted until he overcame the pagan deity Crom Cruach (Crom of the Reek). Other names he’s known by include Crom Crúaich, Cromm, Cróich, Crooach, Cruach, Cenn Cruach, Kerman Kelstach, and Kerum Kerugher.
                                              Holiday: Domhnach Chrom Dubh (Grain Festival, Last Sunday in July / Dé Domhnaigh Crum-Dubh (a.k.a. Crom Dubh Sunday), 1st Sunday in August
                                              Links: Africa Source / Confessions of a Hedge Witch / Pagan Pages / Wikipedia

                                            Long ago, the Tuatha de Danaan, supernatural beings, blond and blue-eyed and carrying heavy spears, came from the north to the land known as Ireland. When their king, Nuada, was injured in battle, a man called the Dagda became their new leader.

                                            Like his people, the Dagda possessed magical gifts learned in the northern lands, and though he could sometimes be oafish or silly, he was also a man of immense power and goodness. Among his many possessions were a magic club and a cauldron of abundance known as Undry this cauldron was a bottomless source of life.

                                            Even more amazing than the Undry was his magical harp. It was among the Dagda’s most cherished possessions, hewn of oak and encrusted with jewels and gold. The harp held exquisite, commanding music. Simply by plucking its strings, the Dagda could create many wonders. He could put the seasons in order when it was time to fight his enemies, the Dagda plucked the strings of that harp and every warrior was instantly ready for battle, prepared to defend their people.

                                            It wasn’t only a call to battle the Dagda could play upon that harp. When his warriors returned from battles, the Dagda played his harp again. This time the magic music soothed every wound. Men forgot their injuries and their sorrows. They let every woe vanish in the mist. As the music of healing played, the warriors thought not of suffering but of honor and of the love they had for their children and wives and for their friends lost to battle. They remembered glory. They celebrated their king.

                                              • Dagon: Phoenician God of Wheat & Grain

                                                Dagon is the Phoenician god of wheat and grain. Confusingly, it’s sometimes spelled Dagan, but there’s also another god by that same name, who is different from Dagon.
                                                Holiday: Festival of Dagon, on April 18, in 2014 Good Friday [Friday before Easter]
                                                Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                • Demeter: Greek Goddess of Agriculture & Grain Crops See Ceres.
                                                  • Dionysus: Greek God of Intoxication

                                                    We think of Dionysus today as the God of Wine, but he was also the God of Intoxication, including beer, and more importantly its social and beneficial aspects. As such, Dionysus is also a promoter of civilization, a lawgiver and lover of peace. But there’s also a story that before Dionysus was the God of Wine, he had been the God of Beer under the name “Sabzios.” As wine become more important in Greek society, he simply changed his name and his affiliation.
                                                    Holiday: Anthesteria, January 12 Lenaia (Festival of Drama), February 1 Feast of Bacchus, March 15 Dionysia, March 21 Oschophoria (Autumn Dionysus Festival), October 1 Brumalia begins (Roman feast of Bacchus), November 24
                                                    Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                    • Dís: Norse Female Ghost, Spirit or Deity Associated with Fate

                                                      Dísablót is a holiday honoring the ancient Goddess Dís, or collectively the Dísir. Wikipedia refers to them as a “ghost, spirit or deity associated with fate who can be both benevolent and antagonistic towards mortal people. Dísir may act as protective spirits of Norse clans. Their original function was possibly that of fertility goddesses who were the object of both private and official worship called dísablót, and their veneration may derive from the worship of the spirits of the dead. The dísir, like the valkyries, norns, and vættir, are almost always referred to collectively.” The Disablot is a midwinter ritual of drinking and storytelling.
                                                      Holiday: Dísablót, March 20 (Vernal Equinox)
                                                      Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                      • Dumuzi: Sumerian God of Brewing

                                                        In addition to Ninkasi, the Sumerian pantheon of gods included Dumuzi, who was also a brewing god. Dumuzi may also have been related to Tammuz, a god of food and vegetation worshipped by the Hebrews, Arabs and Akkadian, along with the later Mesopotamian states of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia. He was also sometimes referred to as Dumuzi-Amaushumgalana. He had a famous courtship with Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare.
                                                        Holiday: Celebration of the Marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi, March 30 (Day 10 of Akitu)
                                                        Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                        • Ebisu: Japanese God of Fortune

                                                          Ebisu is the Japanese god of Good Fortune, the Ocean and Fishermen. He is also one of the Seven Gods of Fortune, “and the only one of the seven to originate from Japan.” His name is also transliterated as Yebisu, which is where the beer from Sapporo gets it name.
                                                          Holiday: Ebisu Festival, October 20
                                                          Links: Godchecker / Who’s Who in Buddhism / Wikipedia

                                                        Ode to Eight Immortal Drinkers by Tu Fu showed a joyful and interesting feast, and described the “eight immortal drinkers” with different characters vividly. There is an ancient saying that: “When two scholars are talking, they are surely exchanging marvelous opinions”. What spectacular event was it when “eight immortal drinkers” gathered together? We can only image such a scene through Tu Fu’s poem. “Eight immortal drinkers” included the poet He Zhizhang, Ruyang Prince Li Jin, Left Prime Minister Li Shizhi, the beauty Cui Zongzhi, the vegetarian Su Jin, Immortal Poet Li Po, the calligrapher Zhang Xu and the master-hand in debating Jiao Sui.

                                                        The “eight immortal drinkers” were all celebrities at that time. They may be officials at the same Court, make friends with each other due to poetry or literature, or just find each other congenial. Such feast may be at day or night. They may drink together to their hearts’ content at uninterrupted autumn rain or thunder of spring. Tu Fu recorded such scene by poem, which was passed down to later ages.

                                                        They placed food in front of him, they placed beer in front of him Enkidu knew nothing about eating bread for food, and of drinking beer he had not been taught.

                                                        The harlot spoke to Enkidu, saying: “Eat the food, Enkidu, it is the way one lives. Drink the beer, as is the custom of the land.”

                                                        Enkidu ate the food until he was sated, he drank the beer — seven jugs! — and became expansive and sang with joy! He was elated and his face glowed. He splashed his shaggy body with water, and rubbed himself with oil, and turned into a human. He put on some clothing and became like a warrior!

                                                          • Gabjauja: Lithuanian Goddess of Grain

                                                            Gabjauja (Sometimes Gabija, Gabieta or Gabeta) was the Lithuanian goddess of grain, fire and the hearth. According to one source, “she was a goddess of stack-yards and grain. Women made beer and bread for Gabjauja’s feast, which only kin would attend. The head of the family would pour a scoop of beer on the ground and say a prayer. According to the Encyclopedia Mythica, “with the advent of Christianity she was, as were so many other heathen deities, reduced to a demon.”
                                                            Holiday: Kirvis Harvest Festival, Lithuania, August 23 International Festival of Fire Sculptures, Lithuania, September 22
                                                            Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia

                                                          Regardless of who the real Gambrinus was, he is believed to be the inventor of hopped malt beer. Burkart Waldis, a German poet, explained in a 1543 poem that Gambrinus had learned the art of brewing from Isis, the Egyptian goddess of motherhood and fertility.

                                                          According to legend, Gambrinus began life in poverty as the apprentice to a glassmaker in the kingdom of Flanders. But he fell in love with his master’s daughter, Flandrine, who rejected him. So he ran away to become a poet and musician, finding renown at both. But while performing one day, he saw Flandrine and began to shake, playing so poorly that his audience chased him away. He ran into the forest, bent on ending his life. But the devil appeared to Gambrinus and offered him a deal. The devil offered to make him forget Flandrine in exchange for getting his soul for thirty years.

                                                          Gambrinus accepted the bargain and his passion for Flandrine was replaced by gambling, at which he excelled. He grew rich and once more his thoughts turned to Flandrine. Thinking she might now return his love because of his wealth, she again refused him because no matter how much money he had, he still wasn’t of noble birth. Gambrinus returned to the forest, more determined than ever to take his own life, when again the devil appeared. He chastised Satan for not living up to his end of the bargain. Suddenly, in front of him, a field appeared lined with tall poles with flowing green plants hanging from them that gave off a strong, pleasant aroma. The devil told Gambrinus they were hops and beyond the field was a hophouse and a brewery. “Come on,” said the devil. “I will teach you how to make beer, and you will forget all about Flandrine.”

                                                          After learning to brew, Gambrinus asked the devil how he could have his revenge on the audience that chased him away when he playing badly. The devil suggested an instrument no one could resist, and taught him to play the chimes. Returning to the town, he planted hops and made more beer. Once it was ready, he returned to the town square and began playing this chimes and offered his new beer for people to try. They found it too bitter initially and also too strong. But after Gambrinus had played the chimes for several hours and they had danced themselves thirsty, they tried his beer again. This time, they decided it was the best dink they had ever tasted, and his success spread far and wide. Everywhere he went, Gambrinus planted hops, brewed beer and entertained people on his chimes. The king of Flanders offered to make him a duke in order to thank him, but Gambrinus preferred the nickname he had already been given by his customers: The King of Beer.

                                                            • Gnomes and Trolls: Belgian Beer Spirits

                                                              While trolls are from Norse mythology and gnomes originated during the Renaissance, for some reason they’ve really been embraced by Belgian brewers. One brewer explained to me that they’re part of the Flemish peoples’ sense of playfulness. Whatever the reason, I love seeing them on their beer labels, from the beers of Achouffe , the drawings of Bas van Ostaden on all of the Urthel beers, and the Cuvee de Trolls from Dubuisson. This group should also include brownies, cluricanes, fairies, kobolds, leprechauns, and pixies too. I’m sure there are more, but that’s a good start. It’s always good to have a lucky troll or gnome around your beer.
                                                              Holiday: April Fool’s Day, April 1 Holiday of the Happy Gnomes, June 11 Thirsty Troll Brew Fest, Wisconsin, September 14, in 2013 (2nd Saturday)
                                                              Links: Fireheart / Wikipedia Gnome / Wikipedia Troll
                                                              • Goibhniu: Celtic Brewer of the “Beer of Immortality”

                                                                Goibhniu was the great blacksmith of Celtic mythology who supplied weaponry to the Gods. He was also the brewer of the “Beer of Immortality,” which granted anyone who drank it eternal life.
                                                                Holiday: Fledh Ghoibhnenn (Feast of Goibhniu), July 7.
                                                                Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                • The Green Man: Celtic God or Spirit of Nature

                                                                  In Celtic mythology, the Green Man, who also sometimes referred to as the Horned Man, represented the masculine, active side of nature the Earth Father. Animals sacred to him included the bear, bull, goat and the stag. He was the god of growing things, the forest, wild animals, desire, fertility, and beer and ale.
                                                                  Holiday: Clun Green Man Festival, England, May 4-6 (in 2013) Pilton Green Man Festival, England, July 20 (in 2013)Green Man Festival, Wales, August 15-18 (in 2013)
                                                                  Links: Encyclopedoa Mythica / Wikipedia
                                                                  • Gunnlöð: Norse Giantess

                                                                    Gunnlöð, or more simply Gunnlod, was a Norse goddess, and a giant, like her father Suttungr, who asked her to guard the mythical “Mead of poetry,” which he’d hidden in a cave. Odin, who wanted the mead for its magical properties — hey, who wouldn’t? — snuck in and seduced Gunnlöð. He either (tales vary) “bargained three nights of sex for three sips of the mead and then tricked her, stealing all of it” or “Gunnlöð helped Odin willingly,” as told in the Norse poem Hávamál. If you want the whole story, check out Gunnlod’s Tale.
                                                                    Holiday: Gunnlöð Festival, August 24.
                                                                    Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                    • Habonde: Welsh Goddess of Abundance

                                                                      Habonde was the Welsh Goddess of abundance and prosperity, and apparently existed in many other cultures, too, and was also called Habondia, Abondia, Abunciada, Nicneven Diana, Pomona and Fortuna. She may also have been associated with the Roman Goddess Abundantia. In addition to abundance and prosperity, she was also a Goddess of the harvest, joy, health, fertility and magic. Her symbol is the Horn of plenty a cornucopia typically filled with fruit. Her rituals included sacred bonfires in which the participants danced about them for her blessing. Ale was her sacred brew and used in her harvest festivals. According to Journeying to the Goddess, “On the first Monday in July, people in Wales prepare for a lunch of ale brewed eight months ago. This is taken joyfully around town and shared to bring joy, prosperity and longevity to everyone, courtesy of the Goddess and the local brewers’ guild. If you’re a home brewer, this is an excellent day to make ritual beer or wine, both of which have to boil on the hearth, a symbol of Habonde. As you work, stir clockwise to draw positive energy your way.” To drink a toast, and “pour yourself a glass of beer, and lift it to the sky saying, ‘Habonde, bring abundance. Habonde, health and luck bring. When through my lips this liquid passes, let my soul sing!’ Drink expectantly.”
                                                                      Holiday: Feast of Habondia, 1st Monday in July
                                                                      Links: Journeying to the Goddess / Wikipedia
                                                                      • Halki: Hittitie God of Grain

                                                                        Halki was a God of Grain, especially barley, who was worshipped by early Hittitie brewers. The Hittities lived in Anatolia, in what is now northwest Syria.
                                                                        Holiday: Feast of Agios Ioannis, August 29
                                                                        Links: Encyclopedia Mythica / Wikipedia
                                                                        • Hanseath: Dwarven God of Alcohol

                                                                          In the game Dungeons & Dragons, Hanseath is lesser god of war, carousing and alcohol. Also known as “The Bearded One,” he “represents the festive side of Dwarven culture.” According to the rulebook, “Brewers hold him in high regard.”
                                                                          Holiday: Feast of Hanseath, July 27.
                                                                          Links: D&D Rulebook / Wikipedia
                                                                          • Hapi: Egyptian Goddess of Barley

                                                                            Hapi, or Hapantalli, was a goddess of the Nile, fish, barley, grain, herbs, water, dew, & fertility. “He is typically depicted as a man with a large belly wearing a loincloth, having long hair and having pendulous, female-like breasts.”
                                                                            Holiday: Wafaa El-Nil (Flooding of the Nile), August 25
                                                                            Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                            • Hathor: Egyptian God of Drunkenness

                                                                              Hathor was the Egyptian Goddess of Drunkenness. The name Hathor is believed to derive from “House of Horus,” one of the oldest and most significant Egyptian deities. Here’s what she looked like: “Generally, Hathor is pictured as a woman with cow’s horns with the sun between them (Eye of Ra, Golden One), or as a beautiful woman with cow’s ears, or a cow wearing the sun disk between her horns, or even as a lioness or a lion-headed woman (destruction and drunkeness). She often is seen carrying a sistrum, an ancient musical instrument (hence a goddess of music). The sycamore was sacred to her (Lady of the Southern Sycamore). She is said to be the mother of the pharaoh, and is often depicted in a nurturing role, suckling the pharaoh when he was a child (hence a goddess of motherhood).” According to the Goddess Guide, “Hathor the Egyptian Goddess also had a darker side, as the Eye of Ra, she took on the persona of the Goddess Sekhmet. In one myth at the request of her father, she turns into Sekhmet so she can to punish humans for transgressing against him. When she nearly wipes out all of humanity, Ra tries to stop her and eventually succeeds by getting her drunk. She instantly forgets about her task and goes back to being Hathor.” See The Eye of Ra for the full story
                                                                              Holiday: January 23 (Day of Hathor), April 1 (another Day of Hathor), August 29 (Nativity of Hathor) September 17 (Feast of Het-Hert) October 4 (Feast of Hathor) Hathor’s Moon Festival, October 26 December 23 (Festival of the Great Heat (Feast Day of Hathor))
                                                                              Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                              • Hephaestus: Greek Blacksmith God & Brewer

                                                                                Hephaestus is the Greek god of blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, among others. Hephaestus’ Roman equivalent is Vulcan. In Greek mythology, Hephaestus was the son of Zeus and Hera, the king and queen of the gods. Similar to the Celtic Goibhniu, as a blacksmith, some accounts also indicate that he was also a brewer.
                                                                                Holiday: Feast of Hephaestus, April 23 Vulcanalia (a.k.a. Festival of Vulcan and the Nymphs), August 23
                                                                                Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                • Hoppiata: Goddess of the Hop

                                                                                  Sadly, as far as I can tell, there is no god or goddess or spirit dedicated to hops. I suspect that’s because the importance of hops to early man was quite limited, and its common use in beer didn’t occur until well after civilization had stopped creating gods to explain the world around them. But it still feels like we should have a god of hops or hop goddess, doesn’t it? The closest I could find was Hoppiata, a creation of the Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar in 2010, for an ad campaign they did for the British market.
                                                                                  Holiday: Yakima Tribe Root Festival (Native American), April 30 Moxee Hop Festival, Washington, August 2-3 (1st Fri./Sat.) Poperinge Beer & Hop Festival, Belgium, September 19-21, in 2014 (every 3 years, Fri.-Sun., 3rd Weekend) Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival, October 5, in 2013 (1st Saturday)
                                                                                  Links: Real Ale Reviews / Wikipedia
                                                                                  • Huitaca: Chibcha (Colombian) Goddess of Drinking, Dancing and Merry-Making

                                                                                    To the Chibcha people of present-day Colombia, Huitaca is the Goddess of Drinking, Dancing and Merry-Making, and sometimes referred to as the “Drunken Goddess of Bad Behavior.” The head God Bochia said her partying ways made her unfit to be a Goddess and today she’s considered a bad influence. Some stories even say Bochia turned her into an owl as punishment for having a good time and enjoying herself.
                                                                                    Holiday: Carnaval de Barranquilla a.k.a. Barranquilla’s Carnival, March 1 (in 2014 Saturday before Ash Wednesday)
                                                                                    Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                    • Ibeorgan: Panamanian Father of Beer

                                                                                      A culture-hero in Panama. He is said to have taught his people, the Kuna, how to build, fashion gold, make beer from maize and many other useful things.
                                                                                      Holiday: Colon Day (Panama), November 5
                                                                                      Links: Mythology Dictionary
                                                                                      • Icovellauna: Ouranian Goddess of Ale Brewing

                                                                                        In occult and magic circles, Ouranian Barbaric is a language and world all its own, and Icovellauna is their Goddess of Ale Brewing. She’s also often thought of a goddess of healing and a spring water deity, and is referred to as the “Divine Pourer of the Waters” or the “Divine Source of the Waters.” One of her temples was found at Le Sablon, in Metz, which is in France. It was “an octagonal structure built above a watersource. A stone staircase leads around the outer walls and down to the watercourse (which is now dried up).”
                                                                                        Holiday: Icovellauna Water Festival, March 2.
                                                                                        Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                        • Inanna: Sumerian Goddess and Patroness of Tavern Keepers

                                                                                          Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare, and was also the patroness of tavern keepers.
                                                                                          Holiday: Birthday of Inanna, January 2 Celebration of the Marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi, March 30 (Day 10 of Akitu) Day of Inanna, August 20
                                                                                          Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                          • Jehovah: Hebrew Protector of the Barley

                                                                                            The original Hebrew God was also known as the “Protector of the Barley.” Passover is the oldest Jewish festival, originating more than three thousand years ago. Originally it was two festivals held concurrently in the spring. One was a rite involved unleavened bread and the other the sacrifice of a lamb. “Passover” referred to both of them collectively, and at some point they merged into one celebration. The first of the two, “The Feast of Unleavened Bread” is believed to have its roots as an agricultural festival celebrating the annual spring barley harvest.
                                                                                            Holiday: Barley Harvest Festival, March 27 Passover (begins on sunset the 15th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar or in 2014, April 14)
                                                                                            Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia

                                                                                              John Barleycorn: English Personification of Barley

                                                                                              Long before the iconic album, John Barleycorn Must Die, by the band Traffic, the English folksong of John Barleycorn was a popular tale. Primarily an allegorical story of death, resurrection and drinking, the main character, the eponymous John Barleycorn, is the personification of barley who is attacked and made to suffer indignities and eventually death. These correspond roughly to the stages of barley growing, like reaping and malting. Some scholars see the story as pagan, representing the ideology of the cycles of nature, spirits and the pagan harvest, and possibly even human sacrifice. After John Barleycorn’s death, he is resurrected as beer, bread and whisky. Some have also compared it to the Christian transubstantiation, since his body is eaten as bread and drank as beer.

                                                                                            There are many, many different versions of the story, which began appearing at least as early as 1568. While they differ slightly, the substance of the song has remained largely the same. The Scottish poet Robert Burns published his own take on the story in 1782.

                                                                                            Here, for example, is the part of the song that takes place after he’s planted in the ground until the beginning of the harvest.

                                                                                            They’ve plowed, they’ve sown, they’ve harrowed him in,
                                                                                            Threw clods upon his head.
                                                                                            And these three men made a solemn vow:
                                                                                            John Barleycorn was dead.

                                                                                            They’ve let him lie for a very long time,
                                                                                            Till the rains from heav’n did fall.
                                                                                            And little Sir John sprung up his head,
                                                                                            And so amazed them all.

                                                                                            They’ve let him stand ’till midsummer’s day,
                                                                                            Till he looked both pale and wan.
                                                                                            And little Sir John’s grown a long, long beard,
                                                                                            And so become a man.

                                                                                            They’ve hired men with scythes so sharp,
                                                                                            To cut him off at the knee.
                                                                                            They’ve rolled him and tied him by the waist,
                                                                                            Serving him most barb’rously.

                                                                                              • Jurupari: South American Guarani/Tupi God

                                                                                                Jurupari is a “god of the Tupi Indians. Son of Creucy. He was said to have been born when the sun impregnated Creucy with the sap of a tree or as the result of a virgin birth caused by beer or a fish-bite. Until then, women had ruled the world but Jurupari gave all power to men and any woman who saw his image died of poison. He still roams the earth seeking a wife for his father, the sun.” The worship of Jurupari takes place during six celebrations throughout the year, known as the Dabucuri (Initiation Rites of the Young Men), during which all of the young men are painted red and black,, and drink alcoholic beverages brewed with local fruits. They chant and sing, and the priest of the tribe marries them off to women in the tribe, and the pairs are sent into the forest until the ceremonial paziuba horn blows, calling the women back (which sounds like an Amazonian version of post office). Afterwards, a party ensues which one source describes as a Saturnalia, but which sounds more like a wild orgy.
                                                                                                Holiday: Dabucuri assaby, January 1 Dabucuri ucuqui, February 2 Dabucuri mirtis, March 3 Dabucuri pataub, May 4 Dabucuri umari, July 5 Dabucuri uiga, November 6
                                                                                                Links: Godchecker /Mythology Dictionary / Non-Classical Mythology / Wikipedia

                                                                                              “Osmotar, the beer-preparer,
                                                                                              Brewer of the drink refreshing,
                                                                                              Takes the golden grains of barley,
                                                                                              Taking six of barley-kernels,
                                                                                              Taking seven tips of hop-fruit,
                                                                                              Filling seven cups with water,
                                                                                              On the fire she sets the caldron,
                                                                                              Boils the barley, hops, and water,
                                                                                              Lets them steep, and seethe, and bubble
                                                                                              Brewing thus the beer delicious.”

                                                                                              To read the entire beer brewing section, Rune XX, see my Kalevala page.

                                                                                              The hearth goddess of the Ainu people of Japan is Kamui-fuchi. She presides over the home, is a goddess of female fertility and is also a beer goddess. Fermentation of yeast and brewing of beer are done with prayers and offerings to her. The first brew of the fermented rice or millet is poured out on the hearth as an offering to her, to ask for her protection from negative energies and bad spirits. Mugwort is also placed as offerings and chewed during the brew fermenting process by the tribes people.

                                                                                                • Khuzwane: An African God of Beer

                                                                                                  Khuzwane was the god of beer and muddy footprints for the Lovedu and VhaVenda people of Transvaal. While little is known about him, he was also apparently one of their supreme deities, and may also have been known by the name Mwari.
                                                                                                  Holiday: Africa Day, May 25
                                                                                                  Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                  • Kirin: Mythical Asian Unicorn See Qilin.
                                                                                                    • Kobold: A Germanic sprite See Biersal.
                                                                                                      • Kull Gossaih: Indian Goddess of Grain

                                                                                                        Kull Gossaih is a Goddess of Grain in India, as described in James Frazer’s Golden Bough. “Among the hill tribes near Rajamahall, in India, when the kosarane grain is being reaped in November or early in December, a festival is held as a thanksgiving before the new grain is eaten. On a day appointed by the chief a goat is sacrificed by two men to a god called Chitariah Gossaih, after which the chief himself sacrifices a fowl. Then the vassals repair to their fields, offer thanksgiving, make an oblation to Kull Gossaih, and then return to their houses to eat of the new kosarane. As soon as the inhabitants have assembled at the chief’s house, a hog, a measure of kosarane, and a pot of spirits are presented to the chief, who in return blesses his vassals, and exhorts them to industry and good behavior ‘after which, making a libation in the names of all their gods, and of their dead, he drinks, and also throws a little of the kosarane away, repeating the same pious exclamations.’ Drinking and festivity then begin, and are kept up for several days. The same tribes have another festival at reaping the Indian corn in August or September. Every man repairs to his fields with a hog, a goat, or a fowl, which he sacrifices to Kull Gossaih.”
                                                                                                        Holiday: Kull Gossaih Corn Festival, August/September Chitariah Gossaih Thanksgiving Mid-November/Early December
                                                                                                        Links: The Golden Bough / Wikipedia

                                                                                                      The Celts also ‘exported’ their beer to Thrace during the eastern expansion of the 4th/3rd c. BCE, and the fact that the liquid nectar was ‘worshipped’ among the Balkan Celts is testified to in the name of the local God (epithet of Apollo) – Κυρμιληνός – in an inscription from Ezerovo, Bulgaria, the Celtic epithet of the Greek God being yet another example of the synthesis of cultures in Thrace during this period. Besides Κυρμιληνός, the element also occurs in many Celtic personal names such as Curmillus, Curmissus etc., indicating that these individuals were probably brewers by profession. The last word on this subject undoubtedly belongs to a Pannonian Celt called Curmi-Sagius, whose name literally means ‘The Beer Seeker’ / ‘He Who Searched For Beer’ – apparently a particularly devoted disciple of the Great Beer God.

                                                                                                        • Lan-Caihe: Chinese Drunken Eight-Immortal

                                                                                                          Lan-Caihe was one of the Eight-Immortals of Chinese Mythology. Originally a herb salesman, beggar and a busker (or street musician), he helped a disguised beggar and was rewarded with immortality. He usually portrayed as effeminate (and sometimes as a transvestite) and almost always drunk. He also wears only one boot and a wooden belt and prefers sleeping semi-nude in the snow. Each of the Eight immortals represented an aspect of Taoism and though not being quite gods and allowed into heaven, they were set up on a mountainous island in the east known as Penglai-Shan. They had many adventures together (sort of the original crime-fighting team or Justice League) and were the subject of many Taoist legends and stories.
                                                                                                          Holiday: Birthday of Lan-Caihe, 25th Day of the Sixth Lunar Month (August 1, in 2013)
                                                                                                          Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                          • Macuiltochtli: Aztec God of Alcoholic Beverages a.k.a. “Five Rabbit”

                                                                                                            Macuiltochtli is one of the Four Hundred Drunken Rabbit Gods, known as the Centzon-Totochtin. His name is translated as “Five Rabbit.” Randy Mosher’s beer company, Five Rabbit Cerverceria, is named for Macuiltochtli
                                                                                                            Holiday: Centzon-Totochtin Drunken Rabbit Day, Last Saturday in September (28th in 2013) Rabbit Rabbit Day, Last Day of Each Month
                                                                                                            Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                            • Maeve: Irish Queen of Connacht See Medb.
                                                                                                              • Mami: Sumerian Goddess of Drunkenness

                                                                                                                Mami was a goddess of drunkenness & midwives. She was also known as Mama or Mamitu.
                                                                                                                Holiday: Sumerian New Year, October 7
                                                                                                                Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                • Mamlambo: Zulu Goddess of Beer-makers

                                                                                                                  A Zulu river-goddess, goddess of beer-makers. In many instances, she’s depicted as a giant reptile monster, and occasionally as having “the torso of a horse, the lower body of a fish, short legs, and the neck of a snake, and that it shined with a green light at night.”
                                                                                                                  Holiday: Umhlanga Day (Swaziland), August 23 Umhlanga (Zulu Reed Dance Ceremony), 8-Day Festival in late August/early September
                                                                                                                  Links: Unexplained / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                  • Marduk: Babylonian Beer-Brewing God

                                                                                                                    Marduk was originally a Sun God who eventually became the primary or chief diety in later Babylonian times. He was also associated with brewing and was a Beer-Brewing God who had many symbols and fifty names. One of Marduk’s many symbols is also the one I adapted for my own logo.
                                                                                                                    Holiday: Feast of Marduk (Mesopotamian), March 12 Marduk’s Festival, March 15 Akitu, a.k.a. Zagmuk (Mesopotamian spring festival, “cutting of the barley,” celebrating Marduk’s victory over Tiamat), March 21
                                                                                                                    Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia

                                                                                                                  Speak into it. If you are going on a journey, kiss it. She is very partial to bread, wine and beer. Drop and pour it down. Don’t be stingy. And if you plow a furrow round your house at night you will be plague-free.

                                                                                                                    • Mayahuel: Goddess of Alcohol, Mother of the 400 Drunken Rabbit Gods see Centzon-Totochtin

                                                                                                                      Mayahuel is the goddess of the maguey plant and of fertility. She’s also the protector of mature wombs that turn into life, and she has many breasts to feed her hundreds of children, the Centzon Totochin (the 400 Drunken Rabbits). Patecatl is her husband.
                                                                                                                      Holiday: Centzon-Totochtin Drunken Rabbit Day, Last Saturday in September (28th in 2013) Rabbit Rabbit Day, Last Day of Each Month
                                                                                                                      Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                      • Mbaba-Mwanna-Waresa: Zulu Goddess of Beer

                                                                                                                        Mbaba-Mwanna-Waresa is the Zulu Goddess of fertility, the rainbow, agriculture, rain and beer and the Zulus believed she made the first beer for her people. She’s also been known to create rainbows to signal it’s time to start drinking.
                                                                                                                        Holiday: Goddess of Fertility Day, March 18 Find A Rainbow Day, April 3
                                                                                                                        Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                        • Medb: Irish Goddess of Intoxication

                                                                                                                          Medb was the Irish Queen of Connacht, as well as the Goddess of Intoxication. According to Journeying of the Goddess, “Her body was the Earth Her body processes were the Earth as it created. She was the force of the rushing waters, the windswept mountains, and the fertile plains. And, like many other deities, Medb is also associated with death as well as fertility and inebriation.” It’s also spelled Meḋḃ, Meaḋḃ Meadhbh, Méabh, Medbh or Maebh and is sometimes Anglicized as Maeve, Maev or Maive. According to Wikipedia, “in Irish Gaelic, the name “Medbh” or “Méadhbh” means “she who intoxicates.” It is rooted in the Irish legend of Queen Maeve or Medb, one of the main protagonists of the early Irish legend Táin Bó Cúailnge. It is also associated with the fairy queen Queen Mab of Irish and English legend.” Another account claims her name means “‘intoxication’ or ‘drunken woman,’ who ran faster than horses, slept with innumerable kings whom She then discarded, and wore live birds and animals across Her shoulders and arms.”
                                                                                                                          Holiday: Beltane, April 30-May 1
                                                                                                                          Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                          • Michael Jackson: God of Beer Writers

                                                                                                                            Okay, so this one, of course, is slightly tongue in cheek. Since his passing in 2007, our friend and colleague Michael Jackson continues to inspire and influence beer writers, beer drinkers and brewers. I considered the possibility that Michael should be canonized, but those of us who knew him understand that he was no saint. And I mean that in the best possible sense. So deifying him made much more sense. He did write the bible for both beer and whiskey lovers.
                                                                                                                            Holiday: Birthday of Michael Jackson, March 27
                                                                                                                            Links: The Beer Hunter / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                            • Min: Egyptian God of Fertility

                                                                                                                              Min was the Egyptian god of fertility and sex, and as such his celebrations also had to do with the harvest, with the Egyptian would “sow their seeds” to honor him. “At the beginning of the harvest season, his image was taken out of the temple and brought to the fields in the festival of the departure of Min, when they blessed the harvest, and played games naked in his honor.” As the “central deity of fertility and possibly orgiastic rites,” I think it’s safe to assume there was much drinking, as well. Min also was “identified by the Greeks with the god Pan.”
                                                                                                                              Holiday: Feast of Min Harvest & Fertility Festival, July 11
                                                                                                                              Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                              • Min Kyawzwa: Burmese God of Drinking

                                                                                                                                One of 37 Nats, or spirits, worshipped in Burma, Min Kyawzwa is essentially the Burmese God of Drinking. He was probably #19, and a drunkard, cock fighter, and excellent horseman. Burmese Nats predated Buddhism, but were later incorporated into it.
                                                                                                                                Holiday: Thingyan Festival (Burmese New Year), April 13-16
                                                                                                                                Links: Myanmar Nats / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                • Minne: German Goddess of Love and Fertility

                                                                                                                                  Minne is a German Goddess of love and fertility, whose symbols included the linden tree, cups and beer. Her name (meaning “remembrance”) was applied to a special cup for lovers during Lindenfest. The cup was filled with specially prepared beer and raised between two people wishing to deepen their love, often around a linden tree. According to Journeying to the Goddess, “When making a promise to each other, a couple may drink a wooden goblet of beer today, linking their destinies. Raise the glass to the sky first saying, ‘Minne’s love upon our lips, devotion in each sip.'” She may also have been associated with the Norse goddess Lofn.
                                                                                                                                  Holiday: Lindenfest, 2nd weekend in July
                                                                                                                                  Links: Journeying to the Goddess / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                  • Neper: Egyptian God of Grain

                                                                                                                                    Neper was the God of Grain, primarily barley and wheat, and was thought of as the personification of grain. He was also known as Nepra or Nepri. There was also Nepit, who was also a goddess of grain, and the female counterpart of Neper.
                                                                                                                                    Holiday: Festival of Renenutet, and the Birthday of Neper, April 1
                                                                                                                                    Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                    • Nephthys: Egyptian Goddess of Beer

                                                                                                                                      Nephthys was primarily a funerary goddess, and is usually seen with her more famous sister Isis. But “Nephthys was also considered a festive deity whose rites could mandate the liberal consumption of beer. In various reliefs at Edfu, Dendera, and Behbeit, Nephthys is depicted receiving lavish beer-offerings from the Pharaoh, which she would ‘return,’ using her power as a beer-goddess ‘that [the pharaoh] may have joy with no hangover.'”
                                                                                                                                      Holiday: Nebet-Het (Birthday of Nephthys), July 18 Nativity of Nephthys, August 28
                                                                                                                                      Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                      • Nin-Anna: Babylonian Goddess of Beer

                                                                                                                                        Nin-Anna was a Babylonian Goddess of Beer. Her names means “Queen of Heaven” (from Sumerian NIN “lady”, AN “sky”)” and was a “title used for goddesses central to many religions of antiquity.” Inanna’s name is derived from Nin-anna.
                                                                                                                                        Holiday: Back to Babylon Procession & Banquet, March 29 (10 Nisan, 10th Day of Akitu)
                                                                                                                                        Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia

                                                                                                                                      Her first meeting with Enlil was not as expected, he had raped her because he found her beauty unimaginable and she had conceived water, which had flown down all the rivers and gave new life. She also had a shown that flown down the water stream, he was known as Seun, the soon to be god of the moon and light.

                                                                                                                                      She also gave birth to the god of death and sadness as well as the god of rivers itself. All of these were after she and Enlil have gotten married and ruled the thrones of the highest god chambers themselves. She is also known for winter storms, as many ancient Sumerians thought it was her will when the storms would rock by passed them. Enlil grew to be fond of his wife and basked her onto a meadow of bright flowers and let her roam the woods creating many more trees in the process.

                                                                                                                                      In Assyria, she was known as Mullissu, or Mulliltu, and later in life (Some say after death) was considered the “Lady of the Air” or air goddess.

                                                                                                                                        • Nunbarsegunu: Sumerian Goddess of Barley

                                                                                                                                          Nunbarsegunu was a mother goddess, although not much is known about her. She’s also a “goddess of barley in Mesopotamian (Sumerian, Babylonian, and Akkadian) mythology,” and “mentioned in creation texts as the ‘old woman of Nippur,'” and identified as the mother of Ninlil.
                                                                                                                                          Holiday: Mesopotamian/Sumerian Grain Festival, March 20 Sumerian New Year, October 7
                                                                                                                                          Links: Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                          • Ometotchtli: Aztec King of the Centzon-Totochtin a.k.a. “Two Rabbit”

                                                                                                                                            Ometotchtli is the King of the Four Hundred Drunken Rabbit Gods, known as the Centzon-Totochtin. His name is translated as “Two Rabbit.”
                                                                                                                                            Holiday: Centzon-Totochtin Drunken Rabbit Day, Last Saturday in September (28th in 2013), Rabbit Rabbit Day, Last Day of Each Month
                                                                                                                                            Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia

                                                                                                                                          The Iroquois legend tells us that one day when Onatha was out gathering dew, She was abducted by evil spirits who carried Her off into the Underworld. Eithinoha pleaded with the sun for help in finding Her missing daughter, and, for weeks on end, the sun radiated warmth upon the land, producing a heat wave to rescue Her hence, the drying out the soil allowed Onatha to rise from the earth like corn. Unfortunately, the demons come back for her every year when the sun turns his back, and he must search for her again every spring.

                                                                                                                                            • Osiris: Egyptian God of Agriculture

                                                                                                                                              Osiris was the God of Agriculture. He was also one of their Gods of Beer, and is said to have taught the people how to brew beer.
                                                                                                                                              Holiday: Festival of Jubilation for Osiris, January 20 Birthday of Osiris, July 14 Feast of Osiris, September 2
                                                                                                                                              Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                              • Patecatl: Aztec Lord of the Root of Pulque

                                                                                                                                                Patecatl was the Aztec god of healing and fertility, and the discoverer of peyote as well as the “lord of the root of pulque.” Patecatl is the husband of Mayahuel, and the father of the Four Hundred Drunken Rabbit Gods, known as the Centzon-Totochtin.
                                                                                                                                                Holiday: Centzon-Totochtin Drunken Rabbit Day, Last Saturday in September (28th in 2013) Rabbit Rabbit Day, Last Day of Each Month Patecatl Day, 12th day of the Tonalpohuall, Day Malinalli (Grass) Patecatl also ruled the Trecena covering the days from 1 Monkey to 13 House.
                                                                                                                                                Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                • Patobkia: Tupari Spirit of the Underworld

                                                                                                                                                  A Tupari spirit of the underworld. This shaman greets all souls arriving in the land of the dead, restores their sight and refreshes them with a drink of beer. He then presents them to the giants, Mpokalero and Vaugh’eh, with one or other of whom they are required to have intercourse.
                                                                                                                                                  Holiday: Dia de Finados (Day of the Dead Brazil), November 2
                                                                                                                                                  Links: Mythology Dictionary / Tupari Mythology
                                                                                                                                                  • Pekko: Estonian & Finnish God of Fields and Crops

                                                                                                                                                    Pekko is the God of Fields and Crops, especially those that are used to make beer. It’s sometimes spelled Peko, Pekka or Pellon Pekko.
                                                                                                                                                    Holiday: Vappu (May Day), April 30 Haku Päällä Rakkausfestivaali, Kutemajarvi Sex Festival & Matchmaking Festival, June 7-8, in 2013 (begins last Friday) Eukonkanto, Finnish Wife Carrying Contest, July 4-5, in 2014 (begins 1st Friday), note: the winner receives the wife’s weight in beer.
                                                                                                                                                    Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                    • Pereplut: Slavic Goddess of Drinking

                                                                                                                                                      Pereplut was the Slavic goddess of drinking, changing fortunes, and also rain. She was honored by drinking from a horn, typically a ram’s horn.
                                                                                                                                                      Holiday: Rusalii, June 8, in 2014 (Whitsunday 7th Sunday after Easter, during Pentecost)
                                                                                                                                                      Links: Encyclopedia Mythica / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                      • Perkūnas: European God of Thunder

                                                                                                                                                        Perkūnas is the god of thunder throughout Eastern Europe, where the name is similar from culture to culture: Perkūnas (Lithuanian), Perkons (Latvian), Perkūnas (Latvian), Pērkons/Perkonis (Prussian), Perunu (Old Russian), Pyerun (Russian), Piorun (Polish), Perun (Czech), Perkūns (Finnish), and Perkele, Parkuns and Yotvingian. He was the common Baltic god of thunder, one of the most important deities in the Baltic pantheon. Perkūnas is primarily a fertility god, though in times of drought animals are sacrificed to him in the hopes of changing the weather. “When the animals are killed, then, according their custom, the people come together from all the vicinity, to eat and drink there together. They pay homage to Perkons by first pouring him beer, which is then brought around the fire, and at last pour it in this fire, asking Perkons to give them rain.”
                                                                                                                                                        Holiday: Jorė, April 23 Day of Perkūnas, September 22 (Autumnal equinox)
                                                                                                                                                        Links: Encyclopedia Mythica / Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                        • Persephone: Greek Goddess of Vegetation

                                                                                                                                                          Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld. Her nickname was Kore, though she apparently preferred Persephone. In Roman mythology, she was known as Proserpina, and her mother was Ceres. “Persephone was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest hence she is also associated with spring and with the seeds of the fruits of the fields.” As such, she’s also considered a vegetation goddess and the goddess of spring growth, and is often depicted carrying a sheaf of grain.
                                                                                                                                                          Holiday: Festival of Kore, January 5 Festival of Kore and Demeter (Persephone Greek Vegetation Goddess and Barley Mother Goddess), March 21 Thesmophoria (honoring the goddesses Demeter and her daughter Persephone), October 25-27 (originally 11-13 Pyanepsion) Persephone’s Day, November 25
                                                                                                                                                          Links: Godchecker / Mythic Arts / Theoi Greek Mythology / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                          • Qilin or Kirin: Mythical Asian Unicorn

                                                                                                                                                            A Qilin is essentially a Chinese unicorn, “a mythical hooved chimerical creature known throughout various East Asian cultures, and is said to appear with the imminent arrival or passing of a wise sage or an illustrious ruler. It is often depicted with what looks like fire all over its body.” In Japan it’s known as a Kirin, which is also their name for giraffe. “Japanese art tends to depict the Qilin as more deer-like than in Chinese art. Alternatively, it is depicted as a dragon shaped like a deer, but with an ox’s tail instead of a lion’s tail. The Kirin Brewery is named after the animal, and uses a picture of one in its labels. They are also often portrayed as partially unicorn-like in appearance, but with a backwards curving horn.”
                                                                                                                                                            Holiday: Bon Odori (Festival of the Lanterns Japan), July 12, in 2014 (2nd Saturday) Culture Day (a.k.a. Bunka no hi Japan), November 3
                                                                                                                                                            Links: Mythical Creatures / Obakemono Project / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                            • Radegast: Slavic God of Hospitality

                                                                                                                                                              As the God of Hospitality in Slavic mythology, Radegast was also believed to have first created beer. His name can also be spelled Radigost, Redigast, Riedegost, Radogost or Radhost.
                                                                                                                                                              Holiday: Unknown
                                                                                                                                                              Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                              • Rāgarāja: Chinese God of Tavern Keepers See Aizen Myō’ō.
                                                                                                                                                                • Ragutiene: Slavic/Baltic Goddess of Beer

                                                                                                                                                                  Ragutiene is partners with Raugupatis. Ragutiene is the Goddess of beer while Raugupatis is the God of Fermentation. In Lithuanian mythology there was even a third God, Ragutis, the God of Beer. Ragutiene’s consort was Ragutis, god of beer. Who knows which one felt like the third wheel. The three of them together were revered by the pagan Lithuanians, Latvians and even Prussians for the life sustaining gifts of food preservation and intoxication, and celebrated with annual feasts on the Autumnal Equinox.”
                                                                                                                                                                  Holiday: Festival of Ragutiene and Ragutis, Autumnal Equinox (September 22 in 2013)
                                                                                                                                                                  Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                  • Ragutis: Slavic/Baltic God of Beer

                                                                                                                                                                    While Ragutiene and Ragutiene are the most prominent beer gods in Lithuanian mythology, there was even a third God, rounding out the brewing trinity. Ragutis was also a god of brewing and was married to Ragutiene, the goddess of beer. The three of them together were revered by the pagan Lithuanians, Latvians and even Prussians for the life sustaining gifts of food preservation and intoxication, and celebrated with annual feasts on the Autumnal Equinox.”
                                                                                                                                                                    Holiday: Festival of Ragutiene and Ragutis, Autumnal Equinox (September 22 in 2013)
                                                                                                                                                                    Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                    • Raugupatis: Slavic/Baltic God of Fermentation

                                                                                                                                                                      Unlike Ragutiene and Ragutis, who are considered gods, Raugupatis is “a nature spirit or demi-god that breathed life into grain, turning it into sourdough bread and beer. But they considered Raugupatis to be the God of Fermentation, in a sense — although they didn’t say so — he was in effect a god of yeast. He’s also known by the name Raugo-Zemepatis. He is often depicted kneading bread or carrying a drinking horn. His consort was Ragutiene the goddess of beer, mead and other alcoholic beverages. The three of them together were revered by the pagan Lithuanians, Latvians and even Prussians for the life sustaining gifts of food preservation and intoxication, and celebrated with annual feasts on the Autumnal Equinox.”
                                                                                                                                                                      Holiday: Festival of Ragutiene and Ragutis, Autumnal Equinox (September 22 in 2013)
                                                                                                                                                                      Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                      • Rekereke: Polynesian God of Pleasure

                                                                                                                                                                        On the island of Mangareva in French Polynesia, Rekereke is worshipped as the Polynesian God of Pleasure. As far as I know, there are no images of Rekereke, the above being representative of Polynesian mythology.
                                                                                                                                                                        Holiday: Feast of Rekereke, December 12
                                                                                                                                                                        Links: Dictionary of Polynesian Mythology / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                        • Sabzios: Greek God of Beer See Dionysus.
                                                                                                                                                                          • Sekhmet: Egyptian Warrior Goddess who’s celebrated during a Festival of Intoxication

                                                                                                                                                                            Sekhmet was an Egyptian warrior goddess with the face of a lioness. She was a fierce protector of the pharaohs and her breath was believed to have created the desert. In her most famous tale, after one particular battle, the Egyptians did not make a sacrifice to her as was usually done to stop her warrior’s bloodlust, and she nearly destroyed all of mankind. But the Egyptian sun god, Ra, tricked her by turning the water of the Nile River red so she would drink it instead. The red Nile, however, was not blood, but Pomegranate beer, which made Sekhmet so drunk that she gave up her killing ways and became a gentler goddess. The Festival of Intoxication, held at the beginning of each year commemorated this myth (when the Nile would turn blood red due to silt coming down from upstream during the annual flooding known as the inundation). The Egyptians would dance, play music and, above all, drink large quantities of red beer to ritualize the extreme drunkenness that saved mankind.
                                                                                                                                                                            Holiday: End of the World by Sekhmet, March 12 Festival of Intoxication (Day of Sekhmet’s repulsion of Set), August 12 Day of Sekhmet and the Purifying Flame, November 20 Day of Offerings to Sekhmet, November 24 Sekhmet Days, November 28-29 Lucky Day of Sekhmet, December 31
                                                                                                                                                                            Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                            • Semargl: Slavic God of Barley

                                                                                                                                                                              Semargl was a deity or mythical creature in East Slavic mythology, and was believed to be a griffin with a dog’s body, although some historians think it may have been a seven-headed beast. Originally two separate Gods, Sem and Argl were each Gods of Barley who eventually became one God. Maybe one was a dog and one was a griffin? Semargl was also considered a family god.
                                                                                                                                                                              Holiday: Badnja Vece (ceremony where oak branches are blessed with barley), December 24
                                                                                                                                                                              Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia

                                                                                                                                                                            [The people of Lewis (Leòdhas) and Harris in the Outer Hebrides honored] Seonaidh by a cup of ale in the following manner. They came to the church of St. Mulway (Mael rubha), each man carrying his own provisions. Every family gave a pock (bag) of malt, and the whole was brewed into ale. One of their number was chosen to wade into the sea up to his waist, carrying in his hand the cup full of ale. When he reached a proper depth, he stood and cried aloud:
                                                                                                                                                                            “Seonaidh, I give thee this cup of ale, hoping that thou wilt be so good as to send us plenty of seaware [flotsam and jetsam] for enriching our ground during the coming year.”

                                                                                                                                                                            He then threw the ale into the sea. This ceremony was performed in the night-time. On his coming to land, they all repaired to church, where there was a candle burning on the altar. There they stood still for a time, when, on a signal given, the candle was put out, and straight-away, they adjourned to the fields where the night was spent mirthfully over the ale. Next morning, they returned to their respective homes, in the belief that they had insured a plentiful crop for the next season.

                                                                                                                                                                              • Shadipinyi: Namibian God of Beer

                                                                                                                                                                                Shadipinyi was credited with inventing beer by the Kavango peoples of Namibia. He’s also known as the “Evil God of Drunken Behavior.”
                                                                                                                                                                                Holiday: Kuste Karneval (Coast Carnival or KüsKa), August 25-31, in 2013 (Last Week of August)
                                                                                                                                                                                Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                                • Shōjō: (猩々 or 猩猩 heavy drinker or orangutan) Japanese Sea Spirit

                                                                                                                                                                                  A Shōjō is a kind of Japanese sea spirit with red face and hair and a fondness for alcohol. There is a Noh mask for this character, as well as a type of Kabuki stage makeup, that bear the name. The Chinese characters are also a Japanese (and Chinese) word for orangutan, and can also be used in Japanese to refer to someone who is particularly fond of alcohol. In some mythologies the Shōjō can only be seen when the person is drunk. A Shōjō is also featured in an episode of the television Supernatural that takes place in a brewery. They also appear in In Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film Princess Mononoke as talking, ape-like creatures struggling to protect the forest from human destruction by planting trees.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Holiday: Tsushima Tennoo Matsuri (津島天王祭り) Shōjō Festival, 4th Sunday in July (begins Saturday night before) Shojo Festival at Narumi Hachimangu, Nagoya, Japan, 2nd Sunday in October
                                                                                                                                                                                  Links: Omamori: Japanese Amulets / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Shoney: Anglicized version of Seonaidh, Scottish God of Ale See Seonaidh.
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Siduri: Sumerian Goddess of Brewing

                                                                                                                                                                                      An all-purpose minor Goddess of merriment, happiness, wisdom and brewing. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Siduri “was called the ‘hostess,’ or ‘ale-wife.'”
                                                                                                                                                                                      Holiday: Sumerian New Year, October 7
                                                                                                                                                                                      Links: Mythology Dictionary / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Silenus: Greek God of Beer Buddies and Drinking Companions

                                                                                                                                                                                        Silenus was the Greek God of Beer Buddies and Drinking Companions, who taught Dionysus (the God of Sex, Wine and Intoxication) everything he knew. “When intoxicated, Silenus was said to possess special knowledge and the power of prophecy.” According to Froth-N-Hops. “In Ancient Greek mythology, Silenus is the God of beer and a drinking companion. He is usually associated with his buddy, Dionysus. He is often featured as a bald and fat man, with a big beer belly. He is normally drunk and it is said that he had to be carried either by donkeys or satyrs (in Greek mythology, satyrs are wood-dwelling creatures with the head and body of a man and the ears, horns, and legs of a goat). He was also the god of drunkenness who rode in the train of Dionysos seated on the back of a donkey. He was depicted as a jovial old man, hairy and balding with a pot-belly and snub-nose, and the ears and tail of an ass. The old satyr was the foster-father of the god Dionysos.”
                                                                                                                                                                                        Holiday: Anthesteria, January 12 Lenaia (Festival of Drama), February 1 Feast of Bacchus, March 15 Dionysia, March 21 Oschophoria (Autumn Dionysus Festival), October 1 Satyr’s Day, 1st Saturday of each month
                                                                                                                                                                                        Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Siris: Mesopotamian Goddess of Beer

                                                                                                                                                                                          Siris was a Mesopotamian goddess and the patron of beer, or even the spirit of beer. Occasionally it was spelled Sirash. She was conceived of as a demon, though is not necessarily evil, and she’s also the mother of Zu. Siris and Zu are large birds that can breathe fire and water, at least in their earliest incarnation. The “goddess Siris was an ancient deity that preceded the Sumero-Akkadian pantheon and was depicted as a bird that breathes fire and water. Additionally, the goddess Siris was the mother of Anzu or Imdugud. Imdugud is the Sumerian name, which is rendered as Pazuzu in Assyrian.” Some sources say that “in ancient Mesopotamia the brewer’s craft had the protection and sanction of three female Goddesses, Ninkasi, Siris and Siduri,” while others claim that Siris was replaced by Ninkasi, and still others say that Siris and Ninkasi were the same person.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Holiday: Akitu (Mesopotamian spring festival, “cutting of the barley”), March 21
                                                                                                                                                                                          Links: Warlock Asylum / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sucellus: Gaulish God of Alcohol

                                                                                                                                                                                            Sucellus is from Gaul, and is the God of Agriculture, Forests and Alcohol. He is depicted carrying a beer barrel on a pole. In addition to Gaul, he’s also a part of Lusitanian mythology.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Holiday: Lucaria (Commemorates the day of defeat of the Roman army by the Gauls in 390 BCE), July 19 & 21
                                                                                                                                                                                            Links: Deities Daily / Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Taliesin: Celtic God of Barley

                                                                                                                                                                                              A minor Welsh god, who was worshipped through the 16th century. He was a god of fertility and barley.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Holiday: Day of Taliesin, April 29 Domhnach Chrom Dubh, June 28
                                                                                                                                                                                              Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Tenenit: Egyptian Goddess of Beer

                                                                                                                                                                                                Though little is known about Tenenit, she was the Egyptian Goddess of Beer, and appears in the Book of the Dead and texts during the Ptolemaic period, which was from 305 to 30 BCE. It’s sometimes spelled Tenenet, Tjenenet, Zenenet or Tanenet. Tenenit was also a goddess of childbirth, and as such is usually associated with Isis, the goddess of motherhood and fertility.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Holiday: Festival of Isis, January 7 Opet Festival (Marriage of Isis and Osiris, with a party thrown afterwards by Tenenit), July 19.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Links: Ancient Egypt Online / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Tequechmecauiani: Aztec God of Drinking

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tequechmecauiani was an Aztec God of Drinking. According to the Popol Vuh, “Tequechmecauiani was a drink-god to whom it was necessary to sacrifice, if one wished to avoid suicide by hanging during intoxication.” He is also believed to be one of the Four Hundred Drunken Rabbit Gods, known as the Centzon-Totochtin.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Holiday: Centzon-Totochtin Drunken Rabbit Day, Last Saturday in September (28th in 2013) Rabbit Rabbit Day, Last Day of Each Month
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Links: Godchecker / Mythology Dictionary
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Tezcatzontecatl: Aztec Beer God

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tezcatzontecatl was the Aztec Beer God. More properly, he was the God of Pulque, which was a traditional alcoholic beverage that was similar to beer, made by fermenting the juice of the century plant. But more broadly, he was also a god of intoxication or drunkenness and also fertility. He is also believed to be one of the Four Hundred Drunken Rabbit Gods, known as the Centzon-Totochtin.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Holiday: Festival of BBQ & Pulque (Festival de la Barbacoa y el Pulque, Puebla, Mexico), July 23 Centzon-Totochtin Drunken Rabbit Day, Last Saturday in September (28th in 2013) Festival of Tezcatzontecatl, September 29 Rabbit Rabbit Day, Last Day of Each Month
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Thor: Norse God of Thunder

                                                                                                                                                                                                      In Norse mythology, Thor is the god of thunder and the second most important after his father, the god Odin. The name Thor means thunder, and he is the ruler of storms and lightning. Thor’s hammer — Mjölnir — which he also used for plowing and crop improvement. Thor is also known for his love of beer. According to one legend, thunder roared when Thor was cleaning a huge boiler after the gods brewed beer, and the sky was overcast and full of clouds. People believed that the powerful suction of beer coming in and going out of the gods’ brewery leads to fluctuations in sea level, which causes the tides.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Holiday: Mjölnir (Old Germany Celebration of Thor’s Hammer), May 20 Thor’s Day, July 29 and December 6
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Vulcan: Roman Blacksmith God & Brewer See Hephaestus.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Wave Maidens: Aegir’s Nine Daughters & Assistant Brewers

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Wave Maidens are the nine daughters of Aegir, the Norse God of the Sea, who was also the brewer to the Gods of Asgard. His daughters each have their own aspects, too. They were Himinglæva (That through which one can see the heavens, a reference to the transparency of water), Dúfa (The Pitching One), Blódughadda (Bloody-Hair, a reference to red sea foam), Hefring (Riser), Udr (Frothing Wave), Hrönn (Welling Wave), Bylgja (Billow), Dröfn (Foam-Fleck) and Kólga (Cool Wave). According to Journeying of the Goddess “They were portrayed as beautiful maidens dressed in white robes and veils and always helped their father, brew the beer for the gods.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Holiday: Celtic Sea Festival, March 3
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Water Gods: God & Goddesses of the Ocean, Rivers and Water

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The ancient world is filled with gods and goddesses associated with water. The most obvious is probably Poseidon, the greek god of the sea, and his Roman counterpart, Neptune, but there are numerous others. In addition to the sea, there were deities for lakes, rivers, springs, rain, fresh water and simply the god, or goddess, of water. The Greeks alone, had dozens of water gods. Given the importance of water to life, it’s probably not too surprising that this is the case. And as important as water is to the brewing of beer, few deities specify that they rule over specifically brewing water, so I didn’t want to just list every water deity here, especially not the ones associated with saltwater or the oceans. So apart from Aegir, Arnemetia, Enki, Hapi and Icovellauna, whose legends do mention some association with beer, I haven’t listed any others, even though a case could be made that water gods are all beer good, too, since water is such an important component to brewing. There’s a few links below with lists of water deities and a good one about the panoply of water mythology.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Links: Bullfinch’s Mythology / Temple of Sedna / Water Mythology / White Rose Gardens / Wikipedia

                                                                                                                                                                                                          A goddess of the Dogon people residing in Western Africa, Yasigi was born from the Kinder Egg of the supreme creator god Amma and hidden away from her evil twin brother. It’s a good thing, since she managed to grow up to affiliate herself with fun stuff, like beer, dancing and masks. Masks were important to this culture since they represented the gods and ancestors that were used in ceremonial dances that were fueled with beer. Yasigi herself would preside over the most significant ritual, the Sigi ceremony that was held every 60 years and would last 7 years in duration by transferring from one village to another. Affectionately called the sister of the masks, she showed humanity how to brew beer for the first Sigi ritual, and even cultured the red hibiscus plant for the mask dancers to make their skirts out of.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ancient Norwegian terms for this substance are suggestive of how it was thought of — its meaning: gjar — working, gjester — foaming, berm — boiling, kveik — a brood that renews a race, nore — to kindle a fire, bryggjemann — brewing man, and fro — seed. All the terms are suggestive: there is a boiling, a fire being kindled, a new race being born. The commonness of terms associated with burning, boiling, and kindling a fire, for instance, are interesting. Yeast works through a rapid oxidation of the sugar, a kind of burning. And when they are their most active the brew, the wort, actually bubbles energetically. And this association is clearly a part of older terms for yeast. A term meaning “boiling” is used throughout the world. And when preserved yeast is added to new batches of beer, it is a brood renewing a race that has been dormant (and it is interesting that kveik comes from the same root word as kvaser — the Nordic being from whose blood the original beer, the “mead of inspiration,” was made).

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Charoti of South America view the moment of yeast activity as “the birth of the good spirit” in the wort. But the Charoti say that there are many bad spirits that will try and prevent this birth. So they sing and play musical instruments while exhorting the fermentation to begin. Once the good spirit enters the wort, they say, it is powerful enough to stop any bad spirits from getting into the beer. Throughout the ceremony of encouraging the good spirit to enter and begin fermentation the Charoti singers keep their attention focused on the essence of the good spirit, calling its intelligence into awakening, urging it to hear their call, exhorting it to come to them and settle into the home they have prepared for it. Hearing this without prejudice and comparing it to the perspectives of Western brewers, it is not so very different. We wish only one yeast, the good one, to come and ferment our beer. And we take steps to prevent the bad ones from getting there first. We know, too, that once the good yeast is in the wort, it is very difficult for a bad one to gain entry. We place our emphasis on sterility and using store-bought yeast. But those cultures who depend on wild yeasts use prayer to influence its appearance. Though superstitious to our Western way of thinking what is truly surprising is not only the prevalence of this belief among the world’s peoples but the effectiveness of the brewing based on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Yi-Di: Chinese Goddess of Alcohol

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yi-Di, sometimes Yi-Ti, was the Chinese Goddess of Alcohol. She was originally human, though, and created the perfect brew, made from rice, in the 23rd century BCE. After presenting it to Emperor Yu—who loved the strong brew—it was banned because the Emperor feared future rulers, and society in general, would not be able to hold their liquor like he could and the world might fall apart. Yi-Di continued to make her divine rice beer and later achieved the status of a Goddess.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Other accounts claim she was either wife or consort of Emperor Yu, and still others say it was not banned, but instead the “king liked it so much that he decreed that future generations should be able to enjoy it for time immemorial.” One account even claims that Yi-Di was the Emperor’s daughter. It’s hard to find a definitive story of Yi-Di, and what has down through history tends to vary quite a bit.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Holiday: Duanwu Festival 端午節 / 端午节 (or Dragon Boat Festival), 5th Day of the 5th Lunar Month, June 12, in 2013 Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋節 / 中秋节 (or Moon Festival), 15th Day of the 8th Lunar Month, September 19, in 2013
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Links: Godchecker / Wikipedia / Chinese Alcohol, Chinese Spirits / A Brief History of Baijiu

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bismuth: The rainbow metal

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The incredible staircase-like shapes that characterize bismuth are the result of the outside growing faster than the inside. Another unusual feature of this brittle crystalline metal is that it is denser in liquid form than in a solid state. When it freezes, bismuth — just like water — expands. It is used in fire detectors and extinguishers, as well as in cosmetics and paints.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Critical raw materials: Toxic, rare and irreplaceable


                                                                                                                                                                                                            [1]Paul Bailey, Early Long Island: Its Indians, Whalers, and Folklore Rhymes (Westhampton Beach, NY: Long Island Forum, 1962), 113.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [2]While the phrase “noble experiment” is synonymous with Prohibition and attributed to Herbert Hoover, the words are paraphrased from a February 23, 1928 letter from Commerce Secretary Hoover to Senator William Borah: “Our country has deliberately undertaken a great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far-reaching in purpose.” Elizabeth Knowles, ed., Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations, 3rd ed. (1991 New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2007), 157.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [3]In 1830 Americans drank 7.1 gallons of pure alcohol per person per year in 1830, compared to 2.34 gallons of pure alcohol per person in 2013 according to Emma Green, “Colonial Americans Drank Roughly Three Times as Much as Americans Do Now,” The Atlantic, June 29, 2015, . Rush’s famous publication would in subsequent editions be re-titled An Inquiry into the Effects of Ardent Spirits Upon the Human Body and Mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [4]History of Litchfield County, Connecticut (Philadelphia, PA: J. W. Lewis & Co., 1881), 142. George Faber Clark, History of the Temperance Reform in Massachusetts, 1813-1883 (Boston, MA: Clarke & Carruth, 1888), 5-8. In 1813 the Massachusetts Society for the Suppression of Intemperance formed in Boston.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [5]Nathaniel S. Prime, A History of Long Island, from Its First Settlement by Europeans, to the Year 1845 (New York, NY: Robert Carter, 1845), 418-419.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [6]Records of the First Temperance Society organized in the Village of Sag Harbor, Long Island (N.Y.) on the evening of the 18th August, A.D. 1829 [unnumbered], collection of the First Presbyterian Church and Congregation (The Old Whalers’ Church) of Sag Harbor, New York.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [7]History of the temperance movement in Sag Harbor from a Luther Dutton Cook letter to the Corresponding Secretary, American Temperance Union, dated December 1, 1841. Printed in Journal of the American Temperance Union 6, no. 2 (February, 1842): 21. Population of Sag Harbor from John W. Barber and Henry Howe, Historical Collections of the State of New York (New York, NY: S. Tuttle, 1842), 543.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [8]Alfred Frankenstein, William Sidney Mount (New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, 1975), 25 (“represented the drunkard..”), 30 (Loss and Gain description and boyhood recollection).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [9]Minutes of the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union at the Eighteenth Annual Meeting Boston, Mass., November 13th to 18th, 1891 (Chicago, IL: Woman’s Temperance Publishing Association, 1891), 4 (list of states and territories with WCTU vice presidents), 64 (150,000 members). As largest women’s voluntary organization in the country, see Kathleen Waters Sander, The Business of Charity: The Woman’s Exchange Movement, 1832-1900 (Chicago and Urbana, IL: Illinois University Press, 1998), 65.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [10]Sag-Harbor Express, June 17, 1875, 2. Formation of a WCTU branch in Riverhead from The Long Island Traveler [Cutchogue, NY], February 21, 1878, 2. The Suffolk County WCTU formed in June 1888 at the Congregational Church in Sayville, but held its first annual convention in 1889. “Miss Goodale, state organizer, for the Woman’s Christian Temperance Unions, will organize a County Union next Wednesday, June 20.” The Suffolk County News [Sayville, NY], June 16, 1888, 3. The ninth annual convention advertised in “County Convention, W.C.T.U.,” South Side Signal [Babylon, NY], November 13, 1897, 2. Formation of the Suffolk County Temperance Society in November 1839 mentioned in “Quarterly Temperance Meeting,” The Corrector [Sag Harbor, NY], March 18, 1840, 3.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [11]For liquor prohibitions in the Selective Service Act of 1917, see Section 12: For an overview of the anti-alcohol legislation passed in 1917 and 1918 see Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (New York, NY: Scribner, 2010), 99 John G. Buchanan, “War Legislation Against Alcoholic Liquor and Prostitution,” Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology 9, no. 4 (February 1919): 520-529 for the de-facto ban on distilled spirits in the Lever Control Act, see Section 15: for Wilson’s proclamation, see “Alcoholic Contents of Beer Reduced,” The Evening Gazette [Port Jervis, NY], December 13, 1917, 6.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [12]“Watching the Germans,” The South Side Signal [Babylon, NY], December 21, 1917, 4 “A soldier from Camp Upton drank too much…,” The Suffolk County News, September 14, 1917, 2 “German Soldiers and Beer,” The Port Jefferson Echo, December 8, 1917, 6.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [13]For coverage of 1914-1917 efforts to pass a Prohibiton amendment, see Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (New York, NY: Scribner, 2010), 70-74, 91-94 “Senate Passes ‘Dry Nation’ Bill,” Plattsburgh Daily Republican, August 2, 1917, 1 “House Passes ‘Dry’ Amendment,” Plattsburgh Daily Republican, December 18, 1917, 1 for Mississippi and Nebraska ratifying amendment see Okrent, 104 (Mississippi), 106 (Nebraska). For a list of the 23 states banning alcohol by 1918, see “The Prohibition Record in 1916,” The Hotel World: The Hotel and Travelers Journal 84, no. 3 (January 20, 1917), 14.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [14]The Long-Islander [Huntington, NY], January 17, 1919, 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [16]For the business of sacramental wines, see Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (New York, NY: Scribner, 2010), 182-185. For Hyman Adler’s story, see The County Review [Riverhead, NY], June 29, 1923, 3. And according to The Suffolk County News, June 29, 1923, 2, a rabbi also testified that “the wine and whiskey was to be used for sacramental purposes.” Hyman Adler biographical details from “United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch ( accessed 17 July 2017), Hyman Artler [sic], Deer Park, Suffolk, New York, United States citing ED 79, sheet A, line 1, family 1, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1268 FHL microfilm 1,821,268.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [17]History of the A. Overholt & Co. from David Wondrich, “How Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey Lost Its Way,” The Daily Beast, September 12, 2016, For Walter Pierz filling many medicinal liquor prescriptions, more than thirty appeared on eBay in the spring of 2017, and all dating from 1930, suggesting it was a regular part of his business opening of Pierz’s Pharmacy around 1927 from his obituary, “Walter R. Pierz,” The Suffolk County News, July 30, 1964, 6. The address of Joseph Kaye’s pharmacy was supplied by his daughter, Renee Kaye Sklar, when she donated the Old Overholt bottles to the Long Island Museum in 2008 (Acc. # 2008.004.001-3).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [18]Rubey Cowan and Billy Joyce, Oh! Doctor (New York, NY: Stark & Cowan, Inc.: 1920).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [19]Number of Brooklyn breweries from A.G. Sulzberger, “When Brooklyn Brewed the World,” City Room (blog), New York Times, July 10, 2009, .

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [20]History of John F. Trommer, Inc. from Suzanne Spellen, “Past and Present: Trommer’s Evergreen Brewery and Restaurant,” Brownstoner, January 10, 2014,

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [21]“Allows Home Brew Over Half Percent,” New York Times, July 25, 1920. “Makers of Wine Must Register,” The Journal and Republican [Lowville, NY], November 4, 1920, 4. The U.S. grape industry was centered in California, with significant grape production also in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. In 1919 9,300 boxcars of grapes were shipped from California to New York. By 1928 the number of boxcars increased to more than 27,000 according to Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (New York, NY: Scribner, 2010, 179.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [22]Mary R. Nizza interviewed by Jonathan Olly, Kings Park, NY, August 30, 2016. Dominick Visconti registered for the draft (signing his name as “Domenico Viscanti”) on September 12, 1918 while living in Hamden, Connecticut, and his first child with wife Maria was born in New York on April 25, 1919, putting their move to New York between these two events. “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 December 2014), Dominick Visconti, 1917-1918 citing New Haven County no 4, Connecticut, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.) FHL microfilm 1,561,985. The 1930 and 1940 census records list the Visconti family living at 86 Luquer Street, while the address on the Elk Bottling Works bottle is 113 West 9th Street. Mary Nizza donated the bottle to the Long Island Museum in 2016 (Acc. # 2016.007.0016).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [23]Advertisement for the opening of Harold Schackman’s malt shop in The Patchogue Advance, September 23, 1927, 8. Harold ran an ad announcing the opening of the Riverhead Malt Supply Company in The Patchogue Advance, June 15, 1928, 5. Raid of Harold’s shop in “Federal Men Raid Malt Shop Here and Bellport Drug Store,” The Patchogue Advance, January 20, 1933, 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [24]For a still in a West Patchogue chicken coop, see “Raid Uncovers Still,” The Suffolk County News, March 28, 1930, 1. For a still found in a Farmingdale factory building see “Raid Yields Half Million Raw Alcohol,” The County Review, February 21, 1929, 1. For a basement brewery in an Islip house, see “Blue’s Men Seize Huge Rum Cache,” The County Review, January 28, 1932, 13. For a still operated on the grounds of the Mastic Beach Hotel, see “Raid Discloses Two Big Stills at Mastic and Much Liquor,” The Patchogue Advance, September 14, 1929, 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [25]For Cove Inn raid see “A Booze Round Up,” The Long-Islander, December 28, 1923, 11. Frederick Ziemer’s obituary is “Frederick Zimmer,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 17, 1938, 2A. Ziemer’s occupation from “United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch( Accessed 30 July 2017) and “United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch( : accessed 30 July 2017).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [26]F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925 New York, NY: Scribner, 2004), 40. Roger Wunderlich, “The Great Gatsby as Long Island History,” Long Island Historical Journal 7, No. 1 (Fall 1994): 119-124. Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (New York, NY: Scribner, 2010), 215. For examples of Prohibition-era cocktail recipes, see Charles S. Warnock, Giggle Water: How to Make Home-Made Mixed Drinks, Cordials, Wines, Etc. (New York, NY: Charles S. Warnock, 1928. Digital copy available online at

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [27]For a history of the rise of the KKK in Syosset-Woodbury, see Tom Montalbano, “Temperance, Traditionalism, and the Ku Klux Klan in Syosset-Woodbury,” Oyster Bay Historical Society, See also Jane S. Gombieski, “Kleagles, Klokards, Kludds, and Kluxers: The Klan in Suffolk County, 1915-1928, Part One,” Long Island Historical Journal 6, No. 1 (Fall 1993): 41-62. Frank Cavioli, “People, Places, and the KKK on Long Island,” Long Island Forum XLIX (August 1986): 159-167. Nancy Robin Jaicks, “Race, Ethnicity and Class on Shelter Island, 1652 to 2013,” Long Island History Journal 25, No. 2 (2016):

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [28]For Klansmen providing tip and participating in raid, see “Officer Downs Shot, Killed by Rum Runner,” The Suffolk County News, May 23, 1924, 1. For burning of a cross in front of a Freeport restaurant that sold liquor, see “Beware of the Klan,” The Long-Islander, March 21, 1924, 12. “Klansmen Parade and Hold Rally in Patchogue,” The Patchogue Advance, June 17, 1927, 1. For Klansmen conducting funeral service for Constable Ferdinand J. Downs, see “5,000 Attend Downs’ Funeral,” The East Hampton Star, May 23, 1924, 1. For church support of Klan see “Local Minister Defends Klan,” The Port Jefferson Echo, August 18, 1923, 1. For Willis Field rally, see “Biggest Meeting of Klan Last Saturday,” The County Review, September 28, 1923, 1. For a Klan public lecture at Fraternity Hall in Patchogue, see “Ku Klux Klan Hold Forth in Patchogue,” The County Review, March 16, 1923, 5. For large Klan rally near Lake Ronkonkoma, see “Huge Klan Konklave Near Lake Grove,” The Suffolk County News, May 2, 1924, 1. For Klansmen helping to search vehicles see “Suffolk Aroused Over Hold-Ups of Motorists,” The County Review, June 6, 1924, 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [29]Numbers of police force from “N.C.P.D. History,” Nassau County P.D. 3rd Precinct, “Campaign Is on to Put Stop to Drunken Driving,” Manhasset Mail, January 20, 1928, 1. “Nassau Police Raid Two Speakeasies in Manhasset Valley,” Manhasset Mail, February 18, 1932, 1. “Nassau Police Raid Stills in Roosevelt and Merrick,” The Suffolk County News, October 17, 1930, 11.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [30]“Find Rum Hoard and Wireless,” The Suffolk County News, December 18, 1931, 1. “Police Do Battle with Rum Landing Party Here,” The Patchogue Advance, December 10, 1929, 1. “Speeding Rum Truck Caught at Coram with Big Load On,” The Patchogue Advance, December 9, 1930, 1. “Blue and Two Officers Fight Pistol Battle in Speeding Cars with Desperate Rum Runners,” The Patchogue Advance, November 25, 1930, 1. “The Underworld Menaces Suffolk,” The County Review, December 4, 1930, 20.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [31]Holly Hepp, “Living Amid Legends: Mansion’s History Follows the Very Rich and Famous,” Newsday, August 23, 2001. Arthur Krystal, “Fitzgerald and the Jews,” The New Yorker, July 20, 2015,

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [32]“Says Rum Runners Set Up Reign of Terror on River,” The Patchogue Advance, January 10, 1930, 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [33]“Men Were Branded with Hot Irons in Hijacking Feud, They Say,” The Patchogue Advance, June 30, 1931, 1. “Kidnappers in Riverhead Jail,” The Watchman of the Sunrise Trail [Mattituck, NY], July 2, 1931, 1. “Alleged Brander Caught in Jersey,” The Patchogue Advance, August 5, 1932, 1. “Knight Guilty of Torturing 2 Captives,” The County Review, May 11, 1933, 1. “Torturer Files Guilty Plea to Assault Charge,” The County Review, June 15, 1933, 9. “Sing Sing Cell Awaits Walker Torturer of 2,” The County Review, July 13, 1933, 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [34]In 1928 Congress passed the Jones Law, which imposed a five year prison term and a $10,000 fine for violators of the Volstead Act. However, the law likely discouraged amateurs but did not deter large-scale criminal enterprises. Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (New York, NY: Scribner, 2010), 317, 319-320. 80% decline from “To Close Bay Shore Dry Office,” The Suffolk County News, June 10, 1932, 8. District Attorney Blue quoted in “Federal Office Angered by Destruction of Liquor,” The East Hampton Star, March 14, 1930, 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [35]Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (New York, NY: Scribner, 2010), 161-167. Malcolm F. Willoughby, Rum War at Sea (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964), 17-18, 23.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [36]Malcolm F. Willoughby, Rum War at Sea (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964), 40-42, 50-51 (12-mile limit), 45-47 (new vessels and men).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [37]Date of shipyard’s 1922 start from Laura Schofer, “Marker Honors Freeport Point Shipyard,” LI Herald, October 2, 2015,,72108. See also “Profile: Fred Scopinich Boat Builder,” Long Island Traditions Newsletter 19, no. 2 (Spring-Summer 2012), 1 Number of boats built from Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (New York, NY: Scribner, 2010), 280. Construction specifications of Wanda and Maureen are from half models built by Fred Scopinich Jr. A photograph of the Maureen on a marine railway from October 1930 in the collection of Fred Scopinich notes that it was “built for Bill Kleb.” Whether this was William J. Kleb (age 27) or William P. Kleb (age 51) is unknown, but son and father were both plumbers and Baldwin residents, as listed in the 1930 census. “United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch( accessed 1 August 2017), William J Kleb, Hempstead, Nassau, New York, United States citing enumeration district (ED) ED 101, sheet 20A, line 36, family 549, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1459 FHL microfilm 2,341,194. “United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch( accessed 1 August 2017), William P Kleb, Hempstead, Nassau, New York, United States citing enumeration district (ED) ED 101, sheet 18B, line 82, family 509, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1459 FHL microfilm 2,341,194.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [38]Jack Graves, “Captain Pitts of Montauk,” The East Hampton Star, November 27, 1975, 11. Rick Brand, “Rum-Running Flavored Island’s Past,” Newsday, November 19, 1978, 33. For explanation of practice of using halves of a dollar bill, see Malcolm F. Willoughby, Rum War at Sea (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964), 58-59.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [39]“Storm Brings Rum to Sayville,” The Suffolk County News, February 25, 1927, 8. “Rum Ship Wrecked, Townsfolk Save Crew, Then Brave Raging Sea to Share in Liquor,” The New York Times, February 21, 1927, 1. Daniel E. Russell, “The Wreck of the Rum-Runner WT Bell,” Glen Cove Heritage,

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [40]Artemis construction details from Tim Colton, “Consolidated Shipbuilding, Morris Heights, NY,” Shipbuilding History, “Smugglers Shot by Guards and Boat Disabled,” The Patchogue Advance, August 25, 1931, 1, 5 For ex-rum runner Black Duck as the Coast Guard vessel chasing the Artemis, see J. Ann Funderburg, Rumrunners: Liquor Smugglers on America’s Coasts, 1920-1933 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2016), 56-57.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [41]“9 Brooklyn Men Believed Lost with Tug at Sea,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 2, 1922, 1. Daniel Berg, Wreck Valley, Vol. II (East Rockaway, NY: Aqua Explorers, Inc., 1990), 73-76.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [42]Marilyn Elizabeth Perry, “Sabin, Pauline Morton,” American National Biography Online, Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (New York, NY: Scribner, 2010), 38.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [43]Pauline Morton Sabin, “I Changed My Mind on Prohibition,” The Outlook, June 13, 1928, 254, 272.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [44]Grace C. Root, Women and Repeal: The Story of the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform (New York, NY: Harper & Brothers, 1934), 3.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [45]Grace C. Root, Women and Repeal: The Story of the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform (New York, NY: Harper & Brothers, 1934), 25-29, 37 Sarah Seidman, “The New York Women Who Dismantled Prohibition,” Museum of the City of New York, December 15, 2015,

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [46]Grace C. Root, Women and Repeal: The Story of the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform (New York, NY: Harper & Brothers, 1934), 42-43, 67.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [47]Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (New York, NY: Scribner, 2010), 350 Grace C. Root, Women and Repeal: The Story of the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform (New York, NY: Harper & Brothers, 1934), xiii, 77-81, 83-84, 86, 90-94. The Edward S. Moore mansion where the WONPR Executive Committee met on July 7, 1932 is now owned by the Roslyn Country Club and called the Royalton Mansion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [48]The 1920 U.S. Census showed that for the first time more Americans were living in urban areas than rural ones. “President Signs Beer Bill Today,” Plattsburgh Daily Republican, March 22, 1933, 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [49]History of John F. Trommer, Inc. from Suzanne Spellen, “Past and Present: Trommer’s Evergreen Brewery and Restaurant,” Brownstoner, January 10, 2014, This photograph of George Trommer christening a delivery truck on April 6, 1933 is in the collection of the Brooklyn Public Library (Negative # 1984-1).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [50]History of Claudio’s from “History,” Claudio’s Restaurant, For Claudio’s advertisement, see “Knickerbocker Days are Here Again,” The County Review, April 13, 1933, 3.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [51]“Constitutional Convention Ratifies Prohibition Repeal,” Plattsburgh Daily Press, June 28, 1933, 1. “Eighteenth Amendment Goes on Shelf Today,” Plattsburgh Daily Press, December 5, 1933, 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [52]“Repeal Came Quietly,” The Suffolk County News, December 8, 1933, 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [53]Grace C. Root, Women and Repeal: The Story of the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform (New York, NY: Harper & Brothers, 1934), xiv “National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union,”

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [54]“Capone Gets 11 Years in Prison,” Plattsburgh Daily Republican, October 26, 1931, 1. “Dutch Schultz Dies From Bullets with Two Henchmen,” Plattsburgh Daily Press, October 25, 1935, 1. “Gangland Bullets Wipe Out Siegel, ‘No. 1’ Gangster,” Endicott Daily Bulletin [Endicott, NY], June 21, 1947, 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            [55]“Mona Lola Rum Cargo Is Piling Up on Beach,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 3, 1935, 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            A cocktail more than two centuries in the making

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The ingredients in Salvatore Calabrese's record-breaking cocktail span three whole centuries. A splash of 1770 Kummel Liqueur, some 1860 orange curaçao, and two dashes of early 1900s Angostura bitters were mixed with 1778 Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac to create the £5,500 concoction at the Playboy Club (although a cheaper version can be whipped up using modern spirits too). In 2012, it smashed the Guinness World Record for the most expensive cocktail, though the following year it was usurped by the Winston, which was created in Melbourne using the most expensive cognac ever sold at auction.


                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wheat, barley and rice were part of the medieval Egyptian diet, but sources are conflicted about millet. According to Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi it was unknown outside a small area where it was cultivated in Upper Egypt. This seems to be supported by chronicler Muhammad ibn Iyas, who wrote that millet consumption was unusual, if not unheard of, in Cairo. Shihab al-Umari, on the other hand, says it was among the most popular cereal grains consumed in Egypt in that time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sorghum was, like millet, cultivated in Upper Egypt, but was not considered a desirable crop by residents of Cairo, where it was consumed only during famine or other times of scarcity during which sorghum was preferred to other wheat substitutes used to make emergency bread rations like millet, bran, or broad beans. [3]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            In The Tale of Judar and His Brothers, an Egyptian [4] story from Thousand and One Arabian Nights, the main character, a poverty-stricken fisherman named Judar, acquires a magic bag belonging to necromancer of Maghrebi origin. This bag supplies its owner with food like aruzz mufalfal, a rice dish seasoned with cinnamon and mastic, sometimes colored with saffron and prepared stock and tail fat. [3]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Egyptian cuisine is notably conducive to vegetarian diets, as it relies heavily on legume and vegetable dishes. Though food in Alexandria and the coast of Egypt tends to use a great deal of fish and other seafood, for the most part Egyptian cuisine is based on foods that grow out of the ground.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Egypt's Red Sea ports were the main points of entry for spices to Europe. Easy access to various spices has, throughout the years, left its mark on Egyptian cuisine. Cumin is the most commonly used spice. Other common spices include coriander, cardamom, chili, aniseed, bay leaves, dill, parsley, ginger, cinnamon, mint and cloves. [5]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Common meats featured in Egyptian cuisine are pigeon, [6] chicken and duck. These are often boiled to make the broth for various stews and soups. Lamb and beef are the most common meats used for grilling. Grilled meats such as kofta ( كفتة ), kabab ( كباب ) and grilled cutlets are categorically referred to as mashwiyat ( مشويات ).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Offal, variety meats, is popular in Egypt. Liver sandwiches, a specialty of Alexandria, are a popular fast-food in cities. Chopped-up pieces of liver fried with bell peppers, chili, garlic, cumin and other spices are served in a baguette-like bread called eish fino. Cow and sheep brain are eaten in Egypt. [7] [8]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Foie gras, a well-known delicacy, is still enjoyed today by Egyptians. Its flavor is described as rich, buttery, and delicate, unlike that of an ordinary duck or goose liver. Foie gras is sold whole, or is prepared into mousse, parfait, or pâté, and may also be served as an accompaniment to another food item, such as steak. The technique involves gavage, cramming food into the throat of domesticated ducks and geese, and dates as far back as 2500 BC, when the ancient Egyptians began keeping birds for food. [9] [10] [11]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cheese is thought to have originated in the Middle East. [12] Two alabaster jars found at Saqqara, dating from the First Dynasty of Egypt, contained cheese. [13] These were placed in the tomb about 3,000 BC. They were likely fresh cheeses coagulated with acid or a combination of acid and heat. An earlier tomb, that of King Hor-Aha, may also have contained cheese which, based on the hieroglyphic inscriptions on the two jars, appears to be from Upper and Lower Egypt. [14] The pots are similar to those used today when preparing mish. [15]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Although many rural people still make their own cheese, notably the fermented mish, mass-produced cheeses are becoming more common. Cheese is often served with breakfast, it is included in several traditional dishes, and even in some desserts. [ citation needed ] Cheeses include domiati ( دمياطي ), the most widely-eaten in Egypt [16] [17] areesh ( قريش ) made from laban rayeb [17] rumi ( رومي ), [18] a hard, salty, ripened variety of cheese that belongs to the same family as Pecorino Romano and Manchego. [18]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bread made from a simple recipe forms the backbone of Egyptian cuisine. It is consumed at almost all Egyptian meals a working-class or rural Egyptian meal might consist of little more than bread and beans. [19]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The local bread is a form of hearty, thick, gluten-rich pita bread called eish baladi [1] (Egyptian Arabic: عيش [ʕeːʃ ] Modern Standard Arabic: ʿayš) rather than the Arabic خبز ḫubz. The word " [ʕeːʃ ] " comes from the Semitic root ع-ي-ش ʕ-Ī-Š with the meaning "to live, be alive." [20] The word ʿayš itself has the meaning of "life, way of living. livelihood, subsistence" in Modern Standard and Classical Arabic folklore holds that this synonymity indicates the centrality of bread to Egyptian life. [20]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            In modern Egypt, the government subsidizes bread, dating back to a Nasser-era policy. In 2008, a major food crisis caused ever-longer bread lines at government-subsidized bakeries where there would normally be none occasional fights broke out over bread, leading to 11 deaths in 2008. [21] Egyptian dissidents and outside observers of the former National Democratic Party regime frequently criticized the bread subsidy as an attempt to buy off the Egyptian urban working classes in order to encourage acceptance of the authoritarian system nevertheless, the subsidy continued after the 2011 revolution.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            On a culinary level, bread is commonly used as a utensil, at the same time providing carbohydrates and protein to the Egyptian diet. Egyptians use bread to scoop up food, sauces, and dips and to wrap kebabs, falafel, to keep the hands from becoming greasy. Most pita breads are baked at high temperatures (450 °F or 232 °C), causing the flattened rounds of dough to puff up dramatically. When removed from the oven, the layers of baked dough remain separated inside the deflated pita, which allows the bread to be opened into pockets, creating a space for use in various dishes. Common breads include:

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Bataw ( بتاو )
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Eish baladi ( عيش بلدي )
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Eish fino ( عيش فينو )
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Eish merahrah ( عيش مرحرح )
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Eish shamsi ( عيش شمسي )
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Feteer meshaltet ( فطير مشلتت )

                                                                                                                                                                                                            In Egypt, meze, commonly referred to as muqabilat ( مقبلات ), salads and cheeses are traditionally served at the start of a multi-course meal along with bread, before the main courses. [22] Popular dishes include:

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Falafel ( فلفل )—a breakfast dish made out of either chickpeas or fava beans.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Baba ghannoug ( بابا غنوج )—a dip made with eggplants, lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsley, cumin and oil.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Duqqa ( دقة )—a dry mixture of chopped nuts, seeds and spices.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Gollash ( جلاش )—a phyllo dough pastry stuffed with minced meat or cheese.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Salata baladi ( سلطة بلدي )— a salad made with tomatoes, cucumber, onion and chili topped with parsley, cumin, coriander, vinegar and oil.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Tehina ( طحينة )—a sesame paste dip or spread made of sesametahini, lemon juice, and garlic.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Torshi ( طرشي )—an assortment of pickled vegetables.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Egyptian cuisine is characterized by dishes such as ful medames, [23] [24] [25] mashed fava beans kushari, a mixture of lentils, rice, pasta, and other ingredients molokhiya, chopped and cooked bush okra with garlic and coriander sauce and feteer meshaltet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Egyptian cuisine shares similarities with food of the Eastern Mediterranean region, such as rice-stuffed vegetables, grape leaves, shawerma, kebab and kofta, with some variation and differences in preparation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Some consider kushari, a mixture of rice, lentils, and macaroni, to be the national dish. Ful medames is also one of the most popular dishes. Fava bean is also used in making falafel (most commonly referred to as ta‘ameya in Egypt, and served with fresh tomatoes, tahina sauce and arugula). [26] [27]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ancient Egyptians are known to have used a lot of garlic and onions in their everyday dishes. Fresh garlic mashed with other herbs is used in spicy tomato salad and also stuffed in boiled or baked eggplant. Garlic fried with coriander is added to molokhiya, a popular green soup made from finely chopped jute leaves, sometimes with chicken or rabbit. Fried onions can be also added to kushari. [28] The ingredients, in the okra and molokhiya dishes, are whipped and blended with a tool called the wīka, used in ancient times and today, in Egypt and Sudan. [29]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            English Arabic Definition
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bamia بامية A stew prepared using lamb, okra and tomatoes as primary ingredients. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Besarah بصارة A dip made from peeled fava beans and leafy greens. It is served cold and is normally topped with fried onion. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            ‘Eggah عجة A type of omelette made with parsley and flour, similar to a frittata. It is baked in the oven in a deep skillet. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fattah فتة A traditional dish eaten on festive occasions, particularly Eid al-Adha. A mixture of rice, chunks of lamb meat, eish baladi cut up into pieces and prebaked in the oven, all covered in a tomato or vinegar-based sauce. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fesikh فسيخ Salted or fermented mullet, generally eaten on the spring festival of Sham Ennessim, which falls on Eastern Easter Monday. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Feteer فطير Pies made of thin dough with liberal quantities of samnah. The fillings may be either savory or sweet. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ful medames فول مدمس Cooked fava beans served with olive oil and topped with cumin. It is always eaten with bread, in a sandwich or the bread is used as a utensil, to scoop up the beans. A staple in Egypt, it is often considered the national dish. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hamam mahshi حمام محشي Pigeon stuffed with rice or green wheat and herbs. First it is boiled until cooked, then roasted or grilled. [31]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hawawshi حواوشى A turnover pastry filled with minced meat marinated in onions, pepper, parsley and sometimes hot peppers or chilies. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kabab كباب Usually chopped and minced lamb meat on skewers grilled over charcoal.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kamounia كمونية A beef and cumin stew. It is sometimes made with offal, like bull genitals.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kaware‘ كوارع Cow's trotters, it is often eaten with fattah. It is also common to boil the trotters into a broth, the tendons from the trotters and the resulting broth are enjoyed as a soup. It is believed to be an aphrodisiac in Egypt. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kersha كرشة Tripe cooked into a stew.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Keshk کشک A yogurt-based savory pudding, made with flour, sometimes seasoned with fried onions, chicken broth or boiled chicken.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kofta كفتة Minced meat prepared with spices and parsley, rolled into a finger-shape and grilled over charcoal. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kushari كشري An Egyptian dish originally made in the 19th century, made of rice, macaroni and lentils mixed together, topped with a spiced tomato sauce, and garlic vinegar garnished with chickpeas and crispy fried onions. A sprinkling of garlic juice, or garlic vinegar, and hot sauce are optional. It is a popular street food. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Macaroni béchamel مكرونة بالبشاميل An Egyptian variant of the Italian lasagna, without the cheese. Typically consists of penne slathered in bechamel sauce with a layer of slowly fried ground beef, onions and tomato paste, topped with some more penne in bechamel sauce, topped again with a thin layer of bechamel sauce and brushed with an egg wash, then baked to perfection. Some prepare it as a variant of the Greek pastitsio, incorporating gebna rūmī, an Egyptian cheese similar to Sardo or Pecorino cheese, along with a mixture of penne macaroni and béchamel sauce, and usually two layers of cooked spiced meat with onions. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mahshi محشي A stuffing of rice, seasoned with crushed red tomatoes, onion, parsley, dill, salt, pepper and spices, put into vegetables like green peppers, eggplants, courgettes, tomatoes, grape or cabbage leaves. They're then placed in a pot and topped with chicken broth or beef broth. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mesaqa‘ah مسقعة Sliced eggplants lightly grilled and placed in a flat pan with sliced onions, green peppers, and chili peppers. The dish is then covered with a red sauce made of tomato paste and spices then baked in the oven. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Molokhiya ملوخية Green soup prepared in various styles, wherein the mallow leaves are very finely chopped, with ingredients such as garlic and coriander added for a characteristic aromatic taste, then cooked with chicken broth. [30] Other kinds of broths can be used such as rabbit, shrimp, which is popular in Alexandria, and fish in Port Said. It is often considered the country's national dish. [32]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mombar ممبار Sheep intestines stuffed with a rice mixture and deep fried in oil.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Rozz me‘ammar رز معمر A rice dish made by adding milk (and frequently butter or cream) and chicken stock or broth to cooked rice, then baking it in an oven. It is frequently substituted for plain white rice at festive occasions and large family meals. It is normally served in a special casserole made out of clay called bram.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sabanekh سبانخ A spinach stew, usually served with rice. It is commonly, but not necessarily, made with small chunks of beef.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sayadiya صيادية A coastal dish. Rice with onion cooked in tomato paste, usually served with fried fish. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Shakshouka شكشوكة Eggs with tomato sauce and vegetables. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Shawerma شاورما A popular sandwich of shredded beef, lamb or chicken meat, usually rolled in pita bread with tehina sauce.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Torly تورلي A tray of baked squash, potatoes, carrots, onions, and tomato sauce. [30]
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Qolqas قلقاس Taro root, generally peeled and prepared either with chard or tomato. Unpeeled qolqas and eggplant make the ṭabkha sawda, or "black dish," served to and despised by conscripts in the Egyptian Armed Forces. [30]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Egyptian desserts resemble other Eastern Mediterranean desserts. Basbousa ( بسبوسة ) is a dessert made from semolina and soaked in syrup. It is usually topped with almonds and traditionally cut vertically into pieces so that each piece has a diamond shape. Baqlawa ( بقلاوة ) is a sweet dish made from many layers of phyllo pastry, an assortment of nuts, and soaked in a sweet syrup. Ghorayiba ( غريبة ) is a sweet biscuit made with sugar, flour and liberal quantities of butter, similar to shortbread. It can be topped with roasted almonds or black cardamom pods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kahk ( كحك ) is a sweet biscuit served most commonly during Eid al-Fitr in Egypt. It is covered with icing sugar, and can also be stuffed with dates, walnuts, or 'agameya ( عجمية ) which is similar in texture to Turkish delight, or just served plain. Kunafa ( كنافة ) is a sweet cheese pastry soaked in sugar syrup. Luqmet el qadi ( لقمة القاضي ) are small, round donuts that are crunchy on the outside and soft and syrupy on the inside. They are often served with dusted cinnamon and powdered sugar. The name literally translates to "The Judge's Bite". Atayef ( قطايف ) is a dessert served exclusively during the month of Ramadan, a sort of sweet mini pancake (made without eggs) filled with cream or nuts and raisins. Rozz be laban ( ارز باللبن ) is made with short grain white rice, full-cream milk, sugar, and vanilla. It can be served dusted with cinnamon, nuts and ice cream. Umm Ali or Om Ali ( ام على ), is a type of bread pudding served hot made puff pastry or rice, milk, coconut, and raisins. [33] [34]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Couscous ( كسكسي )—Egyptian style, with butter or eshta as well as sugar, nuts and dried fruit.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Halawa ( حلاوة )
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Ladida ( لديدة )
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Malban ( ملبن )
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Mehalabeya ( مهلبية )
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Melabbes ( ملبس )
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Mifattah ( مفتاة )—a thick paste of sesame and molasses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Although Ramadan is a month of fasting for Muslims in Egypt, it is usually a time when Egyptians pay a lot of attention to food variety and richness, since breaking the fast is a family affair, often with entire extended families meeting at the table just after sunset. There are several desserts served almost exclusively during Ramadan, such as kunafa ( كنافة ) and qatayef ( قطايف ). In this month, many Egyptians prepare a special table for the poor or passers-by, usually in a tent in the street, called Ma'edet Rahman (Egyptian Arabic: مائدة رحمن ‎, [mæˈʔedet ɾɑħˈmɑːn] ), which literally translates to "Table of the Merciful", referring to one of the 99 names of God in Islam. These may be fairly simple or quite lavish, depending on the wealth and ostentation of the provider.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Observant Christians in Egypt adhere to fasting periods according to the Coptic calendar these may practically extend to more than two-thirds of the year for the most extreme and observant. The more secular Coptic population mainly fasts only for Easter and Christmas. The Coptic diet for fasting is essentially vegan. During this fasting, Copts usually eat vegetables and legumes fried in oil and avoid meat, chicken, and dairy products, including butter and cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Tea Edit

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Tea ( شاى , shai [ʃæːj] ) is the national drink in Egypt, followed only distantly by coffee, prepared using the Turkish method. Egyptian tea is uniformly black and sour and is generally served in a glass, sometimes with milk. Tea packed and sold in Egypt is almost exclusively imported from Kenya and Sri Lanka. Egyptian tea comes in two varieties, kushari and sa‘idi.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kushari tea ( شاى كشرى ), popular in Lower Egypt, is prepared using the traditional method of steeping black tea in boiled water and letting it sit for a few minutes. It is almost always sweetened with cane sugar and often flavored with fresh mint leaves. Kushari tea is usually light in color and flavor, with less than a half teaspoonful of tea per cup considered to be near the high end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sa‘idi tea ( شاى صعيدى ) is common in Upper Egypt. It is prepared by boiling black tea with water for as long as five minutes over a strong flame. Sa‘idi tea is extremely strong and dark ("heavy" in Egyptian parlance), with two teaspoonfuls of tea per cup being the norm. It is sweetened with copious amounts of cane sugar (a necessity since the formula and method yield a very bitter tea). Sa‘idi tea is often black even in liquid form.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Tea is a vital part of daily life and folk etiquette in Egypt. It typically accompanies breakfast in most households, and drinking tea after lunch is a common practice. Visiting another person's household, regardless of socioeconomic level or the purpose of the visit, entails a compulsory cup of tea similar hospitality might be required for a business visit to the private office of someone wealthy enough to maintain one, depending on the nature of the business. A common nickname for tea in Egypt is "duty" (pronounced in Arabic as "wa-jeb" or "wa-geb"), as serving tea to a visitor is considered a duty, while anything beyond is a nicety.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Besides true tea, herbal teas are also often served at Egyptian teahouses. Karkadeh ( كركديه ), a tea of dried hibiscus sepals, is particularly popular, as it is in other parts of North Africa. It is generally served extremely sweet and cold but may also be served hot. [31] This drink is said to have been a preferred drink of the pharaohs. In Egypt and Sudan, wedding celebrations are traditionally toasted with a glass of hibiscus tea. On a typical street in downtown Cairo, one can find many vendors and open-air cafés selling the drink. In Egypt, karkadeh is used as a means to lower blood pressure when consumed in high amounts. Infusions of mint, cinnamon, dried ginger, and anise are also common, as is sahlab. Most of these herbal teas are considered to have medicinal properties as well particularly common is an infusion of hot lemonade in which mint leaves have been steeped and sweetened with honey and used to combat mild sore throat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Coffee Edit

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Coffee ( قهوة , ahwa Egyptian Arabic: [ˈʔæhwæ] ) is considered a part of the traditional welcome in Egypt. It is usually prepared in a small coffee pot, which is called dalla (دلة) or kanakah ( كنكه ) in Egypt. It is served in a small cup made for coffee called fengan ( فنجان ). The coffee is usually strong and sweetened with sugar to various degrees 'al riha, mazbout and ziyada respectively. Unsweetened coffee is known as sada, or plain. [35]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Juices Edit

                                                                                                                                                                                                            In Egypt, sugar cane juice is called 'aseer asab ( عصير قصب ) and is an incredibly popular drink served by almost all fruit juice vendors, who can be found abundantly in most cities. [31]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Licorice teas and carob juice drinks are traditionally enjoyed during the Islamic month of Ramadan, as is amar al-din, a thick drink made by reconstituting sheets of dried apricot with water. [36] The sheets themselves are often consumed as candy. Sobia ( سوبيا ) is another beverage traditionally served during Ramadan. It is a sweet coconut milk drink, usually sold by street vendors. [37]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            A sour, chilled drink made from tamarind is popular during the summer called tamr Hindi ( تمر هندي ). It literally translates to "Indian Dates", which is the Arabic name for tamarind. [38]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Alcoholic beverages Edit

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Islam is the majority religion in Egypt, and while observant Muslims tend to avoid the consumption of alcohol, it is readily available in the country. Beer is by far the most popular alcoholic beverage in the country, accounting for 54 percent of all alcohol consumed. [39]

                                                                                                                                                                                                            A beer type known as bouza (Egyptian Arabic: بوظة ‎), based on barley and bread, [40] has been drunk in Egypt since beer first made its appearance in the country, possibly as early as the Predynastic era. [41] It is not the same as boza, an alcoholic beverage found in Turkey and the Balkans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Egypt has a small but nascent wine industry. Egyptian wines have received some recognition in recent years, having won several international awards. [42] In 2013 Egypt produced 4,500 tonnes of wine, ranking 54th globally, ahead of Belgium and the United Kingdom. [43] Most Egyptian wines are made with grapes sourced from vineyards in Alexandria and Middle Egypt, most notably Gianaclis Vineyards and Koroum of the Nile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Saturday, September 29, 2012

                                                                                                                                                                                                            by: Horst Dornbusch on 02-28-2005

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Next time you are in New York City, make it a point to visit the Metropolitan Museum and have a BeerAdvocate moment. In a museum!? Yes, go to the Egyptian section and snoop around the many tombs and mummies and search for the neat stuff retrieved from the tomb of Meketre. This fellow was a high administrator, a sort of chancellor and prime minister of the warrior King Mentuhotep II of the 11th dynasty. Mentuhotep II ruled the land of the Nile for half a century, from roughly 2050 to 2000 B.C. For a depiction of the king's likeness, see this image and this one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            When Meketre died (around 1975 B.C.), he was mummified and put to rest in a tomb in western Thebes, opposite present-day Luxor. Fortunate for us, his contemporaries placed a large collection of miniature carved wooden figures in his tomb. These toy figures represented Egyptians at work. There was a carpentry shop, an abattoir, a granary, a kitchen, a couple of river boats, and . a brewery. Because the inner chamber of Meketre's tomb was untouched when it was discovered by Herbert E. Winlock on March 17, 1920, the workshop models give us an intimate three-dimensional view of how Egyptians lived.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Egyptians did not invent beer. Rather they had learned the art of brewing from the world's first known brewers, the Sumerians, Babylonian, and Assyrians further to the East in what is now Iraq. The Egyptians, however, left us with the best documentation of ancient brewing practices. Most of the many depictions of Egyptian brewing that have come down to us are murals in vaults, pyramids, and sacrificial chambers. These attest to the importance and high esteem in which the art of beer-making was held in Egyptian society. Yet the find in Meketre's tomb probably ranks among the best preserved and most instructive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The brewery model in the Metropolitan Museum apparently dates from around 2009 to 1998 B.C. A card at the exhibition in the Museum explains what is going on in the brewery: "The overseer with a baton sits inside the door. In the brewery two women grind flour, which another man works into dough. After a second man treads the dough into mash in a tall vat, it is put into tall crocks to ferment. After fermentation, it is poured off into round jugs with black clay stoppers." See the Museum's website for more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            In ancient Egypt, beer was a regular part of the daily life of every Egyptian, from the highest to the lowest. It was the coinage of power and social cohesion, connected to both the gods and the state. In Egyptian culture, all power derived from the sun. The falcon-headed god of the sun, Re, was regarded as the source of all life and sustenance. He was also considered the inventor of beer. Re and his wife Nut, the goddess of the stars, were the progenitors of the pharaohs and of all the lesser gods in the beyond. Their favorite daughter was Hathor, a pretty and alluring creature, with whom Re, her father, fell madly in love. Incest was not a taboo in Egypt and it was customary for a pharaoh's children to marry each other. Re called Hathor his "eye," and she used to please him by disrobing in from of him. When Hathor drank beer, she turned into the goddess of love, lust, joy, singing, dancing, and laughter. Together, Re and his daughter Hathor had a son, Ihi, who became the god of music.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hathor was a friend of the dead whom she accompanied on their journey to the beyond. Her sacred tree was the sycamore under whose shady canopy lovers would meet to share a crock of beer. Her brew was an aphrodisiac, often flavored with mandrake (Mandragora officinarum), a plant with a parsnip-like brown root, whose bark contains an alkaloid that has a narcotic effect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            In Egypt, Beer is a Meal with Heavenly Connections
                                                                                                                                                                                                            In Egypt, beer was regarded as food. In fact, the old Egyptian hieroglyph for "meal" was a compound of those for "bread" and "beer". This "bread-beer meal" plus a few onions and some dried fish was the standard diet of the common people along the Nile at the time. Beer came in eight different types in Egypt. Most were made from barley, some from emmer, and many were flavored with ginger or honey. The best beers were brewed to a color as red as human blood. The Egyptians distinguished between the different beers by their alcoholic strength and dominant flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            None other than the god of the dead, Osiris, was hailed as the guardian of beer, because to him grain - both emmer and barley - were sacred. The Egyptians believed that grain had sprung spontaneously from Osiris' mummy, as a gift to mankind and as a symbol of life after death. This was sufficient justification for the god-like pharaohs to turn brewing into a state monopoly and strictly license brewing rights to entrepreneurs and priests. Many temples eventually opened their own breweries and pubs, all in the service of the gods. The port of Pelusium at the mouth of the Nile became a large brewing center, and trading in beer became big business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Beer in Egyptian society beer was the sacrificial drink of choice in the temples of Hathor. During a five-week long feast in her honor, the priestesses and temple maidens gave banquets for the worshippers, during which they performed erotic dances. Each dancer, dressed only in a string around her waist, as unclad as Hathor had shown herself to her father, would move her hips enticingly before the guests. Hollow pearls, filled with pebbles and suspended from the dancer's waist band, would amplify the arousing rhythm of the erotic spectacle. As the alcohol took over, Hathor's beer would put the imbibers in direct contact with the world beyond. It created the link between the heavens and the earth and allowed the temple visitors to partake in the mystery of life and death. Fittingly, the dead, too, were supplied with crocks of beer in their catacombs so that they would not be thirsty on their trip to the realm where Hathor and Osiris were waiting for them . with a crock of beer, of course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            It was common etiquette for a worshipper to drink until intoxicated. A wealthy Egyptian rarely would leave home without being accompanied by two slaves and a hammock. So if he got too inebriated to walk home after a night in a tavern or at a beer banquet, he could sleep off his delirium in a prone position while being carried home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Egyptians used beer as a currency to pay slaves, tradesmen, priests, and public officials alike, which means that every Egyptian was entitled to a certain amount of daily beer. This quantity was strictly regulated, even at the highest level. A queen was entitled to 10 loaves of bread and two crocks of beer a day. This allotment must have been of tremendous importance, because it was usually guaranteed to her by her pharaoh-husband as part of her marriage contract. A princess also got 10 loaves, but she had to wash them down with only one crock of free beer a day. An officer of the guard, on the other hand, who might be called upon to defend both the queen and the princess, fared better than either: He got 20 loaves and two crocks. Even the daily ration of the slaves who built the pyramids, as well as the pay of all low-level officials, included two to three loaves of bred and two crocks of brew, and it was not up to the master's whim whether or not a slave got his beer: The nectar of the gods was even a slave's entitlement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Beer and Taxes
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Beer became so popular in ancient Egypt that no ruler dared to put a tax on it ¾ that is, until the middle of the last century B.C., after the pharaohs had long disappeared and Egypt had become a Greek province. Every government in the world nowadays has an alcohol tax . but it was a voluptuous and ruthless Greek Queen of the Nile, Cleopatra (69-30 B.C.) ¾ member of the Ptolemy clan and seductress of Roman generals ¾ who first came up with the idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Alexander the Great had conquered Egypt in 332 B.C. and founded Alexandria at the mouth of the Nile the same year. In 321 B.C., two years after Alexander's death in Babylon, one of his generals, Ptolemy Soter, took over Egypt as the Greek governor. Soter, however, was not content with being just a remote administrator of a Greek province. He had more ambitious plans. He soon established his own dynasty in Egypt, as the legal successors to the indigenous pharaohs. In 304 B.C., he made Alexandria his capital, from where the Ptolemy clan was to rule the land of the Nile, not as a Greek colony but in its own right, for almost three centuries, until Egypt fell to the Romans in a melodramatic final act in 30 B.C.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            In the meantime, in the wake of Alexander's almost perpetual warfare, Greece was left exhausted and gradually lost its grip over the conquests Alexander had made. Maintaining preeminence in the Mediterranean world gradually became harder for Greece for another reason: Rome was emerging as a serious rival. This meant that the Ptolemy clan, happily ensconced in Alexandria, could not necessarily count on Greek might to keep them in power in Egypt. To ensure the survival of their clan, therefore, the Ptolemy clan became, one can argue, more "Egyptified" than Egypt became Hellenized. In most respects, the Ptolemy clan dropped its Greek ways and adopted the indigenous mores of their new land. The clan even adopted the old pharaoh custom of incestuous progeniture by marrying brothers to sisters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Brewing in Egypt was still going strong when the Greeks arrived there. The Greeks were no beer drinkers. They favored wine. However, the strength of the Egyptian brew industry as well as the Ptolemy clan's assimilation to Egyptian customs, are probably the key reasons why beer survived the Greek conquest along the Nile. It is true that wine was known and consumed in Egypt, but it was mostly an upper-crust beverage. Beer, on the other hand, remained the people's drink. Its production continued unabated under Greek rule and, by all accounts, the beer must have tasted pretty good. As we learn from the Bibliotheca historica, a 40-volume history of the world, written by the Sicilian (and obviously wine drinking) historian Diodorus Siculus (circa 90-21 B.C.): "They make a drink from barley in Egypt, which is called zytum, and it compares not unfavorably in pleasantness of color and taste to wine."

                                                                                                                                                                                                            With the rise of Rome, in the last two centuries B.C., the Greek Ptolemy clan's hold on fertile Egypt and its wealth could not remain unchallenged. The inevitable show-down over Egypt started indirectly, with a few seemingly unrelated events in Rome and Alexandria. It was around 50 B.C., when Rome's most powerful generals, Gaius Julius Caesar and Cneius Pompey, Caesar's son-in-law (married to Caesar's daughter Julia), were locked in a mortal fight for control of the Roman Empire. At the same time, back in Alexandria, the Ptolemean queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, was busy in a struggle of her own for the throne, which was coveted by Ptolemy XIII, her brother and husband (yes, he was both, in old pharaohnic fashion!). Cleopatra had married him after her first husband, Ptolemy XII, also a brother of hers, had accidentally drowned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            In the eventful year of 47 B.C., the Roman and the Egyptian internal power struggles became hopelessly intertwined in a cataclysmic international affair, when Cleopatra obtained Caesar's political help, became his mistress, triumphed over her brother, and moved to Rome ¾ pregnant with Caesar's son, whom she bore in Rome that year and called Caesarion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            A year later, it was Caesar's turn to settle his score with Pompey. He defeated his rival (and daughter's husband) at the Battle of Pharsalus in Thessaly, after which Pompey, improbably, fled to Cleopatra's Alexandria! There, Cleopatra showed her gratitude to her Roman lover for having saved her throne. She made short shrift of Pompey by having him murdered as he stepped ashore. To clean things up, she then had her husband/brother murdered as well. This paved the way for her undisputed rule in Egypt, under Roman protection. It also ensured, so she hoped, that her son Caesarion would some day succeed her to the throne, as Ptolemy XIV.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            But the plans of mice and . queens! By 44 B.C., the seemingly invincible Julius Caesar, ruler of the Roman universe, found himself dead as a doornail from a bad case of assassination by his erstwhile buddy Brutus. Following Caesar's untimely demise, the rivalries in Rome flared up again ¾ this time between Marc Anthony, Caesar's immediate successor, and Octavius, Caesar's grandnephew and designated heir. Cleopatra was now in a genuine quandary: With her Roman lover and protector gone, her own hold on power in the balance, and her son's prospects as future King of the Nile in jeopardy, she needed a new benefactor ¾ but, fatefully, at that moment her luck ran out. She bet her political future, and her body, on the wrong horse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The impervious Octavius, soon to be called Emperor Augustus, quickly ousted his challenger, Marc Anthony, and firmly took over the reigns in Rome. Marc Anthony, not reading the signs of the time, thought he was not finished yet. Remembering the good services Cleopatra had once rendered unto Caesar, he headed for Egypt and took up residence in Cleopatra's palace in Alexandria. There, although a married man, he soon became Caesar's successor, not in the hall of Roman power as he had hoped, but in the chambers of the queen's passions. He became Cleopatra's new and acknowledged lover and her unacknowledged hope for the continuance of the Ptolemy dynasty. Using her army by land, her navy by sea, and her body by night, our darling Cleo now alternately fought against Rome and made love to its erstwhile commander-in-chief. Satisfying her steamy lust for power and the powerful ¾ after she had given Caesar a son ¾ she now gave Caesar's aspiring successor to the job of ruler of Rome, the adulterous Marc Anthony, a pair of twins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            While she parted her sheets for her desires, she also drained her kingdom of its wealth to finance her wars. When her coffers would yield no more, she resorted to the ultimate insult: She slapped a tax on beer, the people's drink ¾ ostensibly to curb public drunkenness, but in reality to build more naval galleys! Thus, the licentious queen is credited with the dubious achievement of having invented not only the alcohol tax, but also its most perennial and insincere excuse. To beer lovers, her beer tax and not her affairs (of state and passion) are her most enduring legacy. Darling Cleo's invention set a trend that has survived the rise and fall of many a civilization. It has known no national boundaries, no cultural barriers, no limits of time. The beer tax is still with us today, in just about any country of the globe. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            For the beer-tax crime, however, it seems that fate was quick to mete out just retribution. The now powerful Octavius went after the lusty lovers and decimated their forces in the Battle of Actium, in 30 B.C. For the beer-tax Queen of the Nile and her Roman beau, the jig was finally up. They committed suicide together, and Octavius put Caesarion, Caesar's and Cleopatra's putative, now 17-year old, son to death.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            With this convoluted plot, the line of the Ptolemies and of Greek rule over Egypt came to an end. As the might of Rome settled upon its new colony, the fertile flood lands of the Nile were being converted primarily into a granary for the new mother country. The Romans had no taste for beer, so the grain that was once transformed into the brews of the Nile was now transformed into the breads of the Tiber. As a result, quality brewing in the Old World, long the domain of the people of the Middle East, was sent on a path of decline.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Watch the video: Why Beer Is The Oldest Recipe In The World. The Pharaohs Liquid Gold. Absolute History (May 2022).


  1. Sherwood

    the Authoritarian answer, oddly ...

  2. Yiska

    Now all became clear to me, I thank for the help in this question.

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