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Cheers to Science! A Drinkable Feast of Beer, Biotechnology and Archaeology

Thursday, May 31, 2012
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Brewing beer might well be humankind’s first biotechnology, representing our first attempt to harness the power of living organisms. Dating back as early as 9000 BC, the craft galvanized the cultivation of barley and wheat, transformed hunter-gatherers into farmers and fueled the building of monumental structures, such as the pyramids, whose workers received five liters of beer per day as compensation. What did those ancient brews taste like? How were they made? Advanced scientific tools and new archaeological finds offer up tantalizing clues—and tasty results. Join biomolecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern and pioneering brewmaster Sam Calagione as they explore ancient ales from around the world and retrace their journey to Italy to reconstruct an Etruscan fermented beverage circa 800 to 700 BC. This rare brew features an exotic combination of ingredients: hazelnuts, pomegranates, grapes, wild flower honey, frankincense, barley, wheat, and even a few hops. Following the talk and tasting, head up to Eataly’s rooftop brewery, La Birreria, to sample a first-run batch of this prehistoric ale before fermentation. It’s a sensational evening of artisanal snacks, Dogfish Head Ancient Ales and fascinating science.

Participants

Sam CalagioneBrewer

When Sam Calagione opened Dogfish Head in 1995, it was the smallest commercial brewery in America. Today Dogfish is among the country’s fastest-growing breweries. He is the author of Brewing Up a Business and Extreme Brewing, and co-authored He Said Beer, She Said Wine.

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Patrick McGovernBiomolecular Archaeologist

Patrick McGovern is the scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, where he is also an adjunct professor of anthropology.

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Location