Episode 189: Intoxication & Civilization: Beer's Ancient Past

Solid Comfort, 1906

Solid Comfort, 1906. A man enjoys a cigar and a bottle of Schlitz. Library of Congress.

This show takes on the frothy subject of beer, and explores the science, culture, and history behind the suds.

"Intoxication and Civilization: Beer’s Ancient Past" features beer and wine archaeologist Patrick E. McGovern and chemist, professor, and home brewer Roger Barth.

Our guests discuss the science behind beer, how modern craft breweries can help us understand ancient beers, and how technology has allowed us to drink like an ancient king. They also discuss the spiritual side of beer and the role beer has played in human evolution.

Show Clock:

00:07 Introduction

00:57 Bob and Michal go to beer school

07:12 The Big Bang of beer

10:20 The cultural side of beer

14:25 Watch the full webcast on Vimeo

14:53 Did beer help us become chemists?

17:00 How technology helped us drink like an ancient king

21:39 Communal beer

25:36 Beer and the Industrial Revolution

28:28 Spirituality and beer


Hosts: Michal Meyer and Bob Kenworthy

Producer: Mariel Carr

Guests: Patrick E. McGovern and Roger Barth

Music Credits:

"Take Me Higher," Jahzzar

"Green Lights," Jahzzar

"Bill Pickett," Robodub

"Portasound Dub" Robodub

"Watch the Road Bub," All Urban Outfield

"Seconde Introspection," Horten V3

"Devil with the Devil," The Underscore Orkestra

"Foods that start with Q," All Urban Outfield

"The Plaintive Heating Griddle," Ergo Phizmiz

"Elephant," Moana

"Sunny Day," The Rabbits

"Nia," Dubh Thrian

"Sonstiges," Podington Bear

All songs from

Links to show content:

VIDEO: Behind the scenes at Dogfish Head Brewery

VIDEO from NPR: Glimpse the History of Life in a Beer



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