Newsletter: A beer by any other name…

Early depiction of beer production (ca 2600 BC)

As many people know, beer (or beer-like beverages) date back to the earliest days of agriculture.  In fact, some beer enthusiasts believe that the shift from hunter/gatherer to agricultural societies was brought about by the desire to create beer.  While it’s all well and good to happen across the stray patch of ancient grain, and then put it in water and let wild yeasts do their thing, think about how much of it you could have if there was a steady grain supply!  In fact, it is quite tempting to assert that early writing systems developed due to the need to keep track of beer.  But if you are going to track it, you need to name it…

Ask the Brewer

How did beer come to be called beer?

This is actually a question with no definitive answer, though there are several theories as to where the word beer comes from.  When we look back at some of the earliest known beer production (with the ancient Sumerians), there were multiple names for beverages fermented from grain, including “sikaru”, “dida”, or “ebir”.

Moving forward in time, the Ancient Egyptian’s word for beer was “zytum”, and later when brewing was passed on to the Greeks, their word was “zythos”.  The Greeks, however, favored wine over beer, as did the Romans who followed them.  The Romans word for beer was “cerevisia”, which is Latin, and has a direct link to the modern word for beer in Spanish or Portugese which is “cerveza”.  The latin verb for drink, however, is “bibere“, which gets us closer to “beer”.

There is a possibility that “bibere” was borrowed in the 6th century by German monks, and from there went on to become the Old English word “beor“, Old Frisian “biar”, Middle Dutch “bier”, Old High German “bior” and German “Bier“.

Another suggestion is that it comes from Proto-Germanic beuwo” for barley.  This theory also holds some merit, as the English word “Ale” is derived from the Germanic word “ol”, both of which refer to fermented grain beverages.

Regardless of the history, from our perspective, a beer by any other name is still just as delicious.

Taproom Tidings

We are pleased to say that our Roasted Coffee Ale is back in the regular rotation for this weekend.  In addition, we are going to continue forward with our Grapefruit IPA as everyone seems to be digging it.

On Friday (9/16) we will have Patacones joining us with their authentic Colombian Street Food, and on Saturday (9/17) Soup Coupe will be here with their tasty lettuce wraps and hearty soup selection, just the thing for when night-time temperatures are dipping into the 50s.

Final Thoughts

On Saturday, September 17th, we will be at two different beer events, The Autumn Brew Review in Minnesota and the Great Lakes Brew Fest in Wisconsin.  ABR is happening at the historic Grain Belt Brewing Complex in Northeast Minneapolis, and celebrates the fine art of craft brewing.  GLBF is at the Racine Zoo in Wisconsin, and benefits the Kilties Drum and Bugle Corps.


On a final note, our beer will be one of the featured taps the next three Fridays at the the Kellogg Craft Beer Overlook.  This outdoor beer garden will be running three consecutive Fridays in downtown St. Paul, from 3PM to 7PM, and will have live music, food, and delicious beverages, all overlooking the river.

As always, if you have questions, drop us a note via Email, Facebook or Twitter.