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04.06.2023 | טו סיון התשפג

New on the Market: Beer Produced from Ancient Yeast

A unique experience awaits beer enthusiasts and history lovers as a research team and brewery collaborate to recreate ancient flavors using yeast extracted from vessels dating back some 5,000 years

בירה משמרים עתיקים

A research team and a brewery are collaborating to recreate high-quality beer using yeast extracted from pottery dating back thousands of years. Leading this endeavour is Prof. Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University, along with researchers from the Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, and the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Microbiologists Prof. Ronen Hazan and Prof. Michael Klutstein of the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Dental Medicine successfully identified yeast on ancient beer and honey wine jugs discovered across Israel.

These vessels span different historical periods, ranging from 3,100 BC to the 4th century BCE, and were found in various locations such as Ein-Bashur in the Negev, excavations on HaMasger  Street in Tel Aviv, Tell es-Safi/Gath, and Ramat Rachel.

Beer was a popular beverage in ancient times, both locally and in various parts of the world. Evidence of an extensive beer industry has been discovered in Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt as early as the 4th millennium BCE. Beer held significant nutritional value and was consumed by men, women, and even children. It served religious, ritualistic, and even medicinal purposes.

After years of research and development, the Shikma Brewery recently introduced HaMishte beer, or "The Feast" a beer brewed using ancient yeast. The origins of this beer lie in a Philistine brewery discovered in Tell es-Safi/Gath, renowned for producing exceptional beer. HaMishte is a Belgian ale-style beer crafted using a combination of malt compositions, including Israeli barley malt, and classic hop varieties.  It boasts a caramel taste with subtle bitterness, a full-bodied profile, and an alcohol content of 4.7%.

The researchers aim to continue utilizing this unique method to recreate ancient flavours from various cultures.

For those interested in delving deeper into this topic, HaMishte exhibition, curated by Nurith Goshen, has opened at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on May 24th. The exhibition explores the culture of feasting throughout history and showcases rare archaeological artifacts related to feasting, including serving utensils, ancient banquet imagery, royal inscriptions, ancient recipes, contemporary artworks and items, and much more.