Pleasant Vices: Beer

In episode 3 of the Pleasant Vices series I'm joined by brewer Michaela Charles and beverage consultant Susan Boyle as we make an ancient Egyptian beer. 

Using traditional methods and ingredients, we aimed to get as close as possible to a beer the ancient Egyptians would have drunk. Our research started in the British Museum collection, with further input from curators and physical anthropologists to focus our findings. Combined with archaeological reports and chemical analysis of pots we refined our method, which was guided by an ancient Sumerian poem, the Hymn to Ninkasi (the goddess of beer).

When I began this project, I believed (like many of my contemporaries) that ancient Egyptian beer would be revolting. I expected a thick, tasteless, gruel-like mixture that was mildly alcoholic. But the brewers on the team thought otherwise – quite rightly they argued there was no way the Egyptians would be making beer in such quantities if it was not good. But to all of our surprise, it didn’t just work, but it was absolutely delicious!

If you like what you've seen and would like to know more, pop over to the British Museum blog for my latest post about the project. Or if you'd like to have a go at make an ancient Egyptian style drink, check out recipe three in the Pleasant Vices series, my version of a Henket... for all those who don't have a large terracotta pot on hand to brew your own ancient Egyptian beer.

Pleasant Vices: Beer
Part three of a four-part YouTube series
Commissioned and produced by the British Museum
In collaboration with, and hosted by, Tasha Marks
(Episode 4: Sugar out 31 May 2018)

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