Brewery Revives 2,500-Year-Old Alcoholic Beverage Found In Ancient Burial Plot

Image courtesy of yoshiffles

If you thought making beer out of a 260-year-old recipe was neat, the revival of an alcoholic brew after a few thousand years is probably going to pique your interest: after archaeologists uncovered the remains of an alcoholic beverage in an ancient burial plot, a Milwaukee brewery took up the task of bringing the brew back to life.

An archaeologist and anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, along with others on her team, found the remnants of the beverage in a cauldron found at an Iron Age burial plot in modern day Germany, dating back to 400 or 450 B.C.

“We actually were able, ultimately, to derive at least some sense of what the contents were in a bronze cauldron,” Bettina Arnold told WUWM’s Lake Effect (via NPR’s The Salt).

She teamed up with Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee to bring the brew back to life*, using a recipe inspired by the materials they found on the cauldron.

“The honey, which is definitely present… and then as a bittering and preservative agent — not hops… but meadowsweet,” Arnold explains, noting that mint also showed up in the brew.

So what was the booze originally? It’s thought to be a drink called a “brag got,” which, as the cellar master at Lakefront explains, is “a blend of barley and honey as the two sugar ingredients to create the beverage.”

“The result was smooth and pleasant — almost like a dry port, but with a minty, herbal tinge to it. It also packed an alcoholic kick,” NPR’s Bonnie North says of the final product, which she sampled.

The brew will likely never make it to store shelves, Lakefront’s Chris Ranson says, despite the fact that it’s drinkable and “very cool to taste… I don’t think people would be interested in purchasing it to drink.”

*Beverage in photo above is not an ancient brew, it’s modern beer.

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