History, for all its glories, does not often come alive. We can read accounts of day to day life in ancient civilizations, but does that really tell us anything? If I’m learning about the agricultural struggles of the Mayans while perusing their Wikipedia entry on my iPhone as I use the restroom at Target, do I really end up with any lasting, palpable sense of their culture?
Museums and memorials alleviate this problem to some extent. The ability to see things, to hold them in our hands, offers a greater depth of experience and gets us closer to the historical truth of whole cultures and their artifacts. But this transformation is short-lived. The museum’s spell is easily broken by the neon nights of modern life. Our brief, empathetic understanding of what came before is replaced by the altogether modern question of "What’s next?"
Well, Great Lakes Brewing Company wants to change that. Co-owner Pat Conway is undertaking a truly legendary brewing mission. His goal? To recreate the earliest known recorded beer recipe in history. Initially brewed in the long-faded empire of Sumeria (think roughly southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq, a very desirable zip code in the Cradle of Civilization), this beer is a tangible link to the Past with a capital "P." Every attempt was made to avoid historical anachronisms (i.e. goodbye steel tanks, hello porcelain jars), so each sip is a time machine powered by authentic taste and impeccable brewmanship.
So what’s the moral of this story? Drinking beer can be just as educational as going to a museum? Sounds good to me.