The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 9, 2013

Craft brewing, B.C. style

CHICAGO — The mission of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago is the study of vanished civilizations and dead languages. Its scholars generally consign to science fiction the notion of bringing the past back to life.

But now some of those scholars are engaged in a project something like that: re-creating Sumerian beer.

Some might see it as a quixotic venture: trying to make a potable brew according to a list of ingredients inscribed on a clay tablet 4,000 years ago. Chicagoans will be able to judge the results for themselves. The university will host an ancient beer tasting in August.

This isn’t the first time contemporaries have tried to make Sumerian beer, noted Tate Paulette, a U. of C. graduate student, and point man on the current project. But previous attempts have used modern equipment, the shiny kettles and pipes to be seen in the microbreweries of hip, urban neighborhoods.

The Sumerians knew how to work metal, but they had to reserve the product of their furnaces and forges for weapons to use against marauding nomads.

So at the urging of Pat Conway, a Cleveland brewer and their partner in the project, Oriental Institute scholars created clay vessels like those presumably used by Sumerian beer-makers.

Using the U. of C.’s clay vessels, Great Lakes Brewing Co. has produced several facsimiles of Sumerian beer, tweaking the recipe according to the professors’ theories about the ancient brewmasters’ craft. Conway will come to Chicago to brew the final version for the August tasting.

A former U. of C. graduate student, Conway took time out on a sales trip to Chicago about a year ago to visit the institute’s museum, where his imagination was captured by the history of beer.

“I was fascinated that people were brewing beer for thousands of years before they were writing,” Conway said. “The Sumerians were amazing. They gave us law, mathematics, cities, empires.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Tourism push plays up 'Only in Minnesota' ST. PAUL — (AP) — Say goodbye to "More to Explore." Minnesota tourism promoters ushered in a new slogan Thursday that focuses on "Only in Minnesota" experiences as part of their largest-ever advertising campaign. The revamped message kicks off a maj

    April 17, 2014

  • mfp ap pipeline photo Minnesota Pipe Line seeks to expand capacity MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Pipe Line Co. announced plans Thursday to nearly double the capacity of a crude oil pipeline that carries oil from Canada and North Dakota to the two refineries in the Twin Cities that produce most of Minnesota's and much

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holder asserts his commitment to fighting heroin WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has been crusading for more lenient treatment for nonviolent drug offenders, making it a top priority before he is expected to leave office this year. Recently, however, he has been forced to confront

    April 17, 2014

  • Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds ATLANTA — Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her speech, but she

    April 17, 2014

  • Tracking system nabbing drug dealers -- and law-abiding pilots LOS ANGELES — Ken Dobson, a retired police officer, said he received quite a welcome when he landed his single-engine Cessna in Detroit two days after leaving his home in Palm Desert, Calif. Five sheriff’s cars surrounded the plane and deputies got

    April 17, 2014

  • Hypersonic jets, lasers future for Air Force researchers WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — Air Force hypersonic weapons and fighter jets with lasers could fly in the skies of the future. Air Force Research Laboratory researchers have made top priorities of hypersonics, directed-energy weapons and au

    April 16, 2014

  • Dress codes: Where should schools set limits? EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — They're called leggings — popular fashion items that are tight-fitting pants to some, and glorified tights to others. Younger girls often wear them as pants with little fuss. But as those same girls approach middle school, legg

    April 16, 2014

  • On Vegas Strip, the Harmon tower set to fall -- with a whimper LAS VEGAS — One by one, the grand old dames of the Strip outlived their charms — the Dunes, Stardust and Aladdin — and down they came, thanks to some well-rigged dynamite, in a booming flash of bravado and showmanship that became this city’s staple —

    April 16, 2014

  • Man accused of abusing 2 girls in 'Maidens Group' MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Authorities were searching Tuesday for a self-professed minister accused of sexually abusing at least two girls in a "Maidens Group" at his religious fellowship in rural Minnesota, where he told one victim she would remain a virgin

    April 15, 2014

  • Deputy shot, wounded in Norman County PERLEY, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say a 19-year-old man from Fertile is under arrest for shooting a sheriff's deputy during a traffic stop in northwestern Minnesota. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says the Norman County deputy was wear

    April 15, 2014

Press-Plus Subscribe
Sign In
Featured Ads
AP Video