It is strange to consider beer as a text. Yet if we are to seek a deeper understanding of the world around us, all human endeavor is encoded with symbolism. The particular emphasis here is to see how the drink of the common man is more than just the golden suds that have been ubiquitous in American culture for over a century and half. Humans have been drinking beer for over six millennia; it is the first beverage specifically created by humans. Predating wine, coffee, tea, and soda; beer is second only to water in terms of historic beverages consumed by man. Every major civilization has had within it some form of fermented beverage, typically dependent on the ingredients at hand. Mesopotamians were conveniently blessed with an abundance of barley amid the Fertile Crescent, near the ancient rivers of the Tigris and Euphrates. Ancient Chinese drinkers could enjoy a beverage made from fermented rice, millet and sorghum. The men and women who built the Great Pyramids in Egypt subsisted upon a diet of two to three pints of unfiltered beer daily. So long as sugars and yeast could meet, the chemical process of fermentation could take place.
Eric Ortega, “The Golden State of Brewing; California’s Economic and Cultural Influence in the American Brewing Industry” (Master’s thesis, California State University, Fullerton, 2015), 1.