Dogfish Head brewery is known for making exotic beer with ingredients like crystallized ginger or water from Antarctica, so it might not sound surprising that one of its recent creations is a brew flavored simply by grapes and flowers. It’s not the recipe that makes this beer so special; it’s where that recipe was found: a Neolithic burial site in China.
Using techniques like infrared spectrometry and gas chromatography Dogfish Head owner Sam Calagione created Chateau Jiahu by figuring out what used to be inside the ancient pottery he comes across.
About 10 years ago, he set out to find some of this primordial crockery on a trip to China. In one town, he found pottery from an early Neolithic burial site. The pieces were about 9,000 years old — as were the skeletons they were found with.
“Probably, all beer thousands of years ago — to our modern palates — would have tasted spoiled,” Calagione says. “In fact, in a lot of hieroglyphics, people are shown drinking beer using straws because they were trying to avoid the chunks of solids and wild yeast.”
Jiahu is being billed as “the oldest-known fermented recipe in the history of mankind.” how do you challenge that?