There’s nothing like playing a round of Dark Souls III with a fresh beer at your side (and trust me, anyone who’s played knows that drinking is going to be a thing). That sound of the bottle (or can) opening is music to the ears, and that first sip is enough to soothe the savage Ascian, but it leads me to wonder: Who really invented this stuff?
Its no surprise that beer is often associated as being masculine or “manly” but over the course of my legal drinking age I have discovered more and more women who swear by the stuff for all kinds of things. Cooking, nursing mothers in Ireland drink a dark stout to increase milk production, and some women even use it to bring life to limp, boring hair.
After further investigation, I have discovered that it was in fact WOMEN who invented the stuff (move over, boys!). Naturally, with this new information I wanted to puff out my chest and strut my stuff, but I settled for going to dinner. It was there I met Keirsten, my waitress who was an avid fan of the stuff as I was. I elected to get the beer flight, which came with four different 5oz choices to taste. Keirsten had taken the time to sit down with me and help me with my selection. My choices seemed endless, but regardless this was a quest I was destined to finish. We settled on a beer from France, from England, from Ireland and from Scotland and she let me sample a beer from Denmark. Admittedly, I felt accomplished, like one may feel after taking down Ultima Weapon.
However, I wanted to know the history, so I dug a little deeper. I stumbled upon some information that had given me the basic rundown. Beer was created about 800 BC in Ancient Sumeria, Egypt and Mesopotamia and was brewed by women because it fell into the same category as cooking, which was the job of the women of the society. Many historians agree like Professor Jeffrey Pilcher (University of Minnesota) who actually teaches his courses as such. When looking at the deity of the brew, it is almost always portrayed as a woman and is named Ninkasi.
In most of the ancient societies, beer was considered a gift from Ninkasi (it’s unclear as to whether there may have been another Goddess) and as time progressed to the Norse ages, women (historically) still ran taverns and exclusively brewed beer. Also, any equipment was theirs and by law remained on their property.
Continuing up the chain of time you encounter ale-wives in the Middle ages which only furthers the belief that women really did play a pivotal role in the production and distribution of beer. Even author Jane Peyton has spent countless hours doing research and came to the same conclusions.
With the industrial revolution, beer was brewed on a larger scale, it was less personal and more about getting the product out quicker and easier. With that turn of the century beer became to be more known as a “manly” drink, because it was created by machines that were made by men, and therefore it was advertised to men, leaving us poor little ladies out to dry (quite literally).
Yet with all the women I know, including myself, beer is a phenomenal beverage that is both familiar and comforting. There’s enough that we know to be our general go-to’s in selection, like Budweiser or Coors, to the more specialized and micro-brewed beer selections like Young’s Double Chocolate Stout (my personal favorite, considering I’m not a big dark beer person) to Magner’s Irish Cider, the choices are deliciously endless!
So, remember that when you’re doing your weekly D&D campaign or trolling around in World of Warcraft, that those special ladies in your life actually helped you deal with your nerd raging by creating that lovely, frothy, crisp beverage you’ve come to love!