Brewing beer may be humankind’s first biotechnology, representing our earliest attempt to harness the power of living organisms. Dating back to 9000 BC, the craft galvanized the cultivation of barley and wheat, transforming hunter-gatherers into farmers. What did those ancient brews taste like? Find out when you join biomolecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern and pioneering brewmaster Sam Calagione as they explore ancient ales from around the world and retrace their journey to reconstruct a 3,500 year old Nordic Grog. It’s a sensational evening of science, talk, and tasting inspired by the innovative practices of our prehistoric ancestors.
This program is part of The World Science Festival’s Night at the Bell House in association with NPR’s Ask Me Another.
When Dogfish Head opened in 1995 it was the smallest commercial brewery in America making 10 gallons of beer at a time. Flash-forward and Dogfish is now among the fastest growing breweries in the country. Since the day Dogfish opened, Sam has focused on brewing strong, exotic beers as the motto “Off-centered ales for off-centered people” attests to. Dogfish has grown into a 200+ person company — selling beer in 30 states — with a brewpub/distillery in Rehoboth Beach and production brewery in Milton, Delaware. Sam was Chairman of the Board for the Brewers Association in 2012/2013 and was a finalist in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 for a James Beard Foundation Award in the Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional category. He authored Brewing up a Business and Extreme Brewing, and co-authored He Said Beer, She Said Wine. Sam lives with his family in beautiful Lewes, Delaware.
Patrick E. McGovern is the scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, where he is also an adjunct professor of anthropology. In the popular imagination, he is known as the “Indiana Jones of ancient ales, wines, and extreme beverages.” Over the past two decades, he has pioneered the exciting interdisciplinary field of biomolecular archaeology which is yielding whole new chapters concerning our human ancestry, medical practice, and of course what our ancient ancestors were eating and drinking. His laboratory discovered the earliest chemically attested alcoholic beverage in the world, the earliest grape wine and barley beer from the Middle East, and some of the earliest chocolate from the Americas. He is well known for his books, Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture and most recently, Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages.