02 January 2008

Pueblo Indians Made Beer from Corn

FOXNews.com recently reported on a new study that suggests Pueblo Indians brewed their own type of corn beer 800 years ago. FOXNew's lead paragraph concludes "contradicting claims that the group remained dry until their first meeting with the Europeans."

"A thousand years ago," the story continues, "traditional Native American farming villages were already scattered across parts of New Mexico, Arizona and northern Mexico, divided among several tribes including the Apache, Pueblo, Navajo and the Tarahumara. Many of the tribes living in Mexico and some in Arizona are known to have produced a weak beer called tiswin, made by fermenting kernels of corn, but no evidence has ever been found that the same thing happened in New Mexico." Until now. A pot shard was found and scanned. Scientists found small amounts of fermented residue common in beer production.

I don't know why everyone assumed the Pueblos were dry. The Maya made a ceremonial wine called balche from honey and the bark of a tree. Other native wines were made with fruits like pineapple, guava, cactus fruit, and mesquite pods. In central Mexico they made a mescal wine, the predecessor to todays tequila and mescal. Pulque was made from the sap of the mescal plants.

Corn was used to make beer from Peru to Northern Mexico, diverting as much as 30% of their corn crop to beer production. This corn beer was usually a ceremonial beer, not something consumed everyday. (The preceeding from " 'Native' Brewing in America" by William Lintzinger, published in Zymurgy Fall 1980 (Vol. 3 No. 3)

Most of the alcoholic drinks were produced by people living in well established communities, once again proving Micheal Jackson's assertion that grain production for alcohol production is the drink that civilized humanity.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:39

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