Beer Curious

It seems that the ancient Tibetans were putting all parts of beer to use...It is clear from the various ancient records that Tibetans practiced rudimentary healing methods over thousands of years, using commonly available materials such as the residue of chang... aka – beer, as fomentation (application of warm wet coverings to parts of the body that are swollen or sore) and applying it mixed with melted butter against hemorrhoids. Next time you sit down for a beer, think about that....

Recently some beer drinkers in Jiahu, China were mucking around in a Neolithic village and with the help of some molecular archaeological work with preserved pottery found at the site, they managed to discover what beer drinking staff at the Czech Beer Guide have long in Asia. Naturally we were not surprised by the findings that the neolithic pre-cursors to the Chinese were brewing an ale based on a mixture of fermented rice, honey and fruit that was crafted in clay pots roughly 9,000 years ago, very similar to the barley beers and grape wines common to the Middle East in that era.

Now from neolithic China to...well you decide...The Maasai of Kenya are an intriguing lot. They have a honey beer but from what they do with it I would suspect it may not be as fine as some of the honey beers available here in Bohemia.

Far beyond their incessant fixation on cattle is a more fascinating yet unique phenomenon. On matters of love and marriage, the Maasai stand in a class of their own. Indeed, the Maasai are arguably one of those few tribes that have persistently withstood western influence. Humm... When a man has passed the test to marry, he becomes a junior elder, and is free to enjoy sex with the wives of any of his comrades. ....OK. To win a girl’s hand in marriage, a man has to prove his valor. Entertainment shows that precede marriage for instance have been used to ascertain this. No movie, popcorn and beer here nope. Here, men interested in the same girl compete in the game of high jumping. Ultimately, the highest jumper is rewarded with a bride (but only after winning the approval of elders and showing the capacity to pay dowry). Wedding preparations then begin. Newly circumcised girls, (ouch!) wear a unique headdress to show that they are now ready for marriage. Men begin to show interest by popping marriage proposals while others approach the family of the girl with gifts. However, some girls, as young as 10 years old, are forcefully circumcised and married off to men far older than they are. Yep, withstood western influence all right.

Now enter the honey beer, honey! Marriage among the Maasai is impossible without bride price. As soon as he settles this, the groom arrives at the bride’s home with his best man to take his bride to her new home after her father and a member of his age-set bless the marriage by spitting milk and honey beer onto the bride. So from this, we beer lovers can with our increased powers of deduction conclude that Kenyan honey beer may not be so sweet after all, regardless of how much the Maasai have remained apart from western influence...