Barley, one of the more popular grains for making beer in the ancient world, was (and is) the main ingredient. The Hebrew Bible records barley as one of the most abundant and important crops of ancient Israel. It is one of the seven species of plants with which the Promised Land is blessed (Deuteronomy 8:8). In fact, it was so common that its price was approximately half that of wheat (2 Kings 7:1,16,18; cf. Revelation 6:6). There is no doubt that ancient Israel, like its neighbors, planted,harvested and consumed mass quantities of barley.
The process for making beer was different in the ancient world from that used today, and it didn’t include the addition of hops or carbonation. Beer was often produced by creating a bread or cake made from malted barley or wheat. The bread was then placed in water, forming a sweet liquid known as a wort. In a few days, after adding yeast, the carbohydrates would be converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide, which would cause the liquid to bubble, indicating fermentation. Thus the wait from the time it was produced until the time it was consumed would have been only a few days. Moreover, beer did not keep well, so it was made for immediate consumption.
Michael M. Homan, “Did the Ancient Israelites Drink Beer?”, Biblical Archaeology Review vol. 36, no. 5 (September/October 2010), 51.