sábado, 19 de abril de 2014

A taste of Bronze Age Brew (Denmark)

A modern interpretation of Denmark’s oldest known beer is now on sale at the Danish National Museum. Named “Egtved Girl’s Brew” it is based on the residue analysis of a fermented drink found in 1921 within the grave of a young female from the Bronze Age.
Egtved Girl was buried on a summers day in 1371 BCE. She was provided with a range of rich grave goods including a bronze dagger and a belt disk, but there was also something within the grave to quench her thirst in the afterlife.

A kind of beer

Today, only a brown residue remains, but analyses showed the drink – contained within a bark bucket – was a type of beer consisting of wheat malt, honey, bog myrtle and lingonberries or cranberries. With the scientific analysis identifying the list of ingredients, the Danish National Museum and Skands Brewery began the process of developing a modern version of the “funeral feast” brew. But the task wasn’t simple, says curator at the National Museum, Peter Steen Henriksen, who also happens to be a great beer enthusiast:
“We had the “basiclist” for the beer, but the challenge was to find the relationship between the ingredients, and we had to taste our way to a result. So, is our new brew the drink Egtved girl’s people took to their graves? We cannot know for certain, but it’s an educated guess”, says Henriksen  but “working with a skilled brewer has been crucial for the result”.

Transforming the ingredient list

Birthe Skands from Skands Brewery in Brondby’s brewer, agreed to transform the ingredient list obtained from the Bronze Age residue into a quality beer that would be appreciated by contemporary taste buds.
“I think it was a very exciting challenge,”  she explained, “we already had a list of ingredients to be used, but some can be difficult to work with. Too much honey makes the beer too sweet, too much Mose-pors (Sweet Gale) would make it too strong. The idea is to create a balanced beer”.
“Egtved Girl’s Brew” can be purchased in the museum shop at the National Museum, online at Museumsbutikken.dk

Facts about Egtved Girl
She was laid out on a cow hide around 1371 BC in an oak coffin, which was covered with a stone cairn.
Dressed in a short tunic and a corded knee-length skirt, on her stomach was a bronze belt plate decorated with spirals and on each arm she wore a bronze bracelet.
A small bundle of clothing contained the cremated bones of a 5-6-year-old child. A few bones from the same child were found in a birch bark box.
By Egtved girl’s head the small birch bark box also contained an awl, bronze pins and a hair net.
A small bark bucket containing the fermented drink.
She was 16-18 years old when she died – based on evidence from her teeth. They are among the last remains of her along with the hair, brain and some skin, as the bones have all but dissolved in the same acidic soil that preserved the organic material.
The grave was excavated in 1921 and is now on display at the National Museum of Denmark.

Source: Past Horizons: http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/04/2014/a-taste-of-bronze-age-brew

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