2018 AMMA MeadCon

2018 MeadCon Tuesday March 13 Wednesday March 14 Thursday March 15

Ancient Brews Rediscovered and Re-Created

Patrick McGovern takes us on a fascinating journey through time to the dawn of brewing when our ancestors might well have made a Palaeo-brew of wild fruits, honey, cereals, and botanicals.  Early beverage-makers must have marveled at the magical process of fermentation.  Their amazement grew as they drank the mind-altering drinks, which were to become the medicines, religious symbols, and social lubricants of later cultures.

McGovern recounts how the re-created Ancient Ales and Spirits of Dogfish Head Brewery came about as he circles the globe—to China, Turkey, Egypt, Italy, Scandinavia, Honduras, Peru, and Mexico.  He interweaves archaeology and science, and tells the stories and struggles in making the most authentic versions of these liquid time capsules as possible.  Accompanying homebrew interpretations–brimming with unusual spicy, fruity, and malty aromas and tastes–and matching meal recipes help bring the past alive, as our senses and imaginations travel “Back to the Future.”

Patrick E. McGovern is the Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, where he is also an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology.  Over the past two decades, he has pioneered the interdisciplinary field of Biomolecular Archaeology.  His laboratory discovered the earliest chemically attested alcoholic beverage in the world (ca. 7000 B.C., from China), as well as the earliest grape wine, barley beer, mead, and fermented chocolate beverages.  He has published three books on ancient alcoholic beverages: Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture (Princeton University, 2003/2006), recently translated into French as Naissance de la vigne et du vin (Paris: Libre & Solidaire, 2015), Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages (Berkeley: University of California, 2009/2010), and Ancient Brews Rediscovered and Re-Created (New York: WW Norton, 2017), together with numerous articles (see http://www.penn.museum/sites/biomoleculararchaeology/).

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