Chateau Jiahu: It’s Not Just New, It’s Neolithic!

First there was the discovery of the oldest drinkable champagne in the World. Now, Dogfish Head brewery has released the oldest beer in the world made from ingredients found in a Neolithic burial site in China — beer with an original expiration date of around 7,000 BC. It is now the basis of Chateau Jiahu. They may want to steal the slogan from Abbott Beer: Some Things Get Better Given Longer.

Dogfish Head owner Sam Calagione warns that “[p]robably, all beer thousands of years ago — to our modern palates — would have tasted spoiled. 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.”

Using infrared spectrometry, gas chromatography and other techniques, scientists were able to deduce the ingredients found in pots from a burial site in Henan province. What is fascinating is that the find suggests that humans started making beer not long after settling down and developing agriculture. The ancient Joe-Six-Packs made the beer from rice, grapes, hawthorn berries, honey and chrysanthemum flowers.

They are still looking for evidence of ancient Nachos.

Source: NPR

16 thoughts on “Chateau Jiahu: It’s Not Just New, It’s Neolithic!”

  1. Brew dog has made quite a name for themselves with the ABV war.. I had hair of the dog dave at 29%, and it was explosion of flavors.. Quite sharp but the finish was of very dark fruit like plum and prunes.. I would think that BD’s would need some time!

  2. Byron,

    I want to make clear the link provided above was solely for informational purposes and not intended as beer making (or consuming) advice.

  3. Byron,

    I don’t really have time to do much in the way of research, but I’d think there’s SOME Belgian beer with Lavender (just because of the location and the fact those crazy Belgians put everything in their beer). I’d dig around and see if there’s any consensus in recipes on how much\when to add them. Mead makers might be better source for use info.

    What you may want to do is buy a few different styles of beer, take a swig, sniff some lavender (or maybe taste some dried stuff). That’ll get you a rough idea of what flavors go together.

  4. Gyges/harlan:

    I was thinking something along the style of a Belgium (the blonde ale you mention) but wouldn’t the low hop or the dry hops be the way to go? Lavender, at least fresh is quite potent and might compete too much with a flowery hop or even make the beer a ladies sachet. At least in my mind.

    Your thoughts?

    I guess I could brew three small batches and see which one turned out the best and then make a large batch of the one I like. But that would take a while to figure out so give me your best estimate of the way to go.

  5. I would dry hop with the lavender I think that would be your best bet.. Split the batch out of the primary and dry hop half with lavender, and the other with a very floral hop like sterling or saaz..

  6. Byron,

    Hmmm, not sure that I’ve seen a Lavender beer… but off hand:
    I’d start with a low hopped style (maybe forgo the hops entirely, but you’ll have to drink the beer more quickly), maybe a Blonde ale?

  7. ‘By the way what do you think a lavender beer would taste like? Do you think it would be any good? I have a bunch of lavender around the house and was thinking of doing something with it. I had thought about making some oil but then I read about Heather Ale and I thought why not have an excuse to make some beer. :)’

    Are you kidding? I’d love to have some purple beer!

    It sounds much more pleasant than the Yahoo…

  8. Gygers:

    that Williams Bros. Beer looks good. where can I get some? Would Whole Foods have it or maybe Total Beverage?

    By the way what do you think a lavender beer would taste like? Do you think it would be any good? I have a bunch of lavender around the house and was thinking of doing something with it. I had thought about making some oil but then I read about Heather Ale and I thought why not have an excuse to make some beer. 🙂

  9. I’m not a beer drinker normally but this sounds kind of yummy….

    ‘Sah’tae- “modern update on a 9th century Finnish proto-beer.
    Brewed with rye, we caramelize the wort with white hot river rocks, then ferment it with a German Weizen yeast. In addition to juniper berries foraged directly from the Finnish country-side we added a sort of tea made with black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper.”’

  10. Chateau’s Jiahu been available (just not easy to find) at least a year, probably more. It’s part of series from Dogfish Head (descriptions come from Dogfish Head’s website):

    Midas touch- “This recipe is the actual oldest-known fermented beverage in the world! It is an ancient Turkish recipe using the original ingredients from the 2700 year old drinking vessels discovered in the tomb of King Midas.”

    Theobroma- “This beer is based on chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras which revealed the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilizations to toast special occasions.”

    Sah’tae- “modern update on a 9th century Finnish proto-beer.
    Brewed with rye, we caramelize the wort with white hot river rocks, then ferment it with a German Weizen yeast. In addition to juniper berries foraged directly from the Finnish country-side we added a sort of tea made with black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper.”

    I don’t like everything the brewery makes, but they are worth seeking out if you posses an adventurous pallet. For hop heads, 120 Min. IPA is the best balanced imperial IPA on the market.

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