Beer History: Jesus, Beer, and the Bible

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Throughout recorded history: brewers were performing their craft.  Let’s face it: beer has been enjoyed by the masses.  From the Sumerians 5-8000 years ago, right up to the modern micro-brew revolution. Beer has been an important part of our lives. Indeed, “Beer” is mentioned in the bible.

Deuteronomy 14:26 – “whatever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink (Beer), or for whatever thy soul desireth.”

It is even rumored that ole’ Noah himself had a few beers on his Ark.

Myself, and a few others, (if you do a google search) have been saying for years that Jesus may have actually turned water into “beer” not “wine” at the wedding feast in Galilee as written in John 2:1-12. (hmm I have a different theory more on that later.) It is well known that Jesus spoke in the ancient language, Aramaic. The Aramaic translation of ‘Strong Drink’ to Latin is literally bibere, or ‘beer’. It is also known that grains such as barley, wheat and corn were in abundance throughout the Middle East region where beer was commonly brewed. Thus it is believed King James, in 1604 defied the Pope and ordered the bible be translated into the English language, it is quite possible that the word strong drink, or beer, which at that time was considered a drink of the lower classes, was changed to wine, a drink enjoyed by royalty and wealthy aristocrats of King James’ time. You know to like; “Class up” the son of God

Imagine our cherished biblical figures from the Old and New Testament enjoying a beverage that was ancient even to them. Through the ages, beer has served mankind well as a nutritional beverage and even as a social lubricant. Beer has played an important role in many contexts relating to religion, medicine and myth. In fact, the oldest recorded recipe for any food source found is for beer. I dare speculate that the reason for this is that the water was so bad that the fermentation of beer was done and used as a primary drinking source as it was safer to drink beer than it was to drink the local water. Kind of like Mexico.

Personally? I think the whole Jesus story is a load of crap. I’m sure there was a wedding, and I’m sure maybe some guy named “Jesus” showed up… But he did not turn water into Wine or beer like magic. He and his buddies probably brought it though.

Modern day Jesus?

Think back to your younger days. Who was always the “hero” of any party story? They usually go like this:

The party was kind of lame. But then this dude we know named Joseph showed up.. Good ole’ Joe shows up with his buddy Paul and John and they are like “Hey buds, how about a few buds for this party?” and they plant a 30 pack of Bud in the cooler. Now it’s a party and Joe – is – a – god.

See? that’s probably much closer to what really happened with Jesus. I think he was some cool guy who just happened to show up and make friends with people and in his posse he had leads to good brews or he had friends who had beer on them.  and he’s like “Oh you feel down? here have a brew” and then this guy tells a story to this guy named paul who is writing a book about the legendary figure:

There I was feeling as if I was ill with boredom and this guy Joe showed up, said “Cheer up dude, have a few brews and smile” and suddenly after a few I’m feeling really good you know? It was like I was healed….

Meh…. I dunno…. Leave it to some guy who thinks everyone is wrong and thus converts these stories into a “God will punish you if you behave like that!” book and thus now Jesus is some saint who can perform miracles rather then a cool guy at a party.

Some guys even went so far as to change the recipe of beer. Yup! They did not bomb Pearl harbor as it was told in “Animal House.” but the Germans nearly ruined beer forever.

You see, back In 1516, a purity law called the Reinheitsgebot mandated that beer be made with only water, hops and barley. (The role of yeast hadn’t yet been discovered.) Thanks to that bit of brewing censorship and the bastardized recipes of modern brewing conglomerates, beer drinkers especially in America were subjected to bland lager for a very, long, long time.

Thankfully in America we have had a sort of “Enlightenment.” Beer is as varied as ever and the many styles, varieties, and flavors are almost overwhelming.  Who’s the hero of your party? and what beer did he bring?


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