Patrick E. McGovern's new book Ancient Brews takes you on a journey through history in an attempt to find out about the oldest fermented beverages, and how they were used.
In his adventures, he plays the role of "part modern scientists and part Indiana Jones". Mcgovern attempts to piece together the oldest recipes in history, as he uses modern science and traverses archaeological findings to. He describes himself as being a combination of "archaeologist and chemist" and searches for the most undisturbed samples to test for, especially the best options- "an undisturbed tomb or habitation in the desert. Intact shipwrecks, which have sunk hundreds (ideally thousands) of feet to oxygen-free levels beneath the surface..."
Patrick McGovern works with Dogfish Head brewing to develop some of the finds. The book includes recipes for home brewers, as well as historic backgrounds. Some of the highlights include Midas Touch: An Elixir Fit for a Middle Eastern King and Chateau Jiahu: A Neolithic Brew to Settle Down with in China.
The Jihau discovery is the world's earliest known fermented beverage owing to the remarkable preservation of the findings. The author states that his "microbiological colleague in Beijing" had written to let him know that "you are now a celebrity of the CCP- the Chinese Communist Part." Newspapers in China had hailed the scientific findings, but it was short lived: "My superstar status diminished when editorials began appearing that complained about an American company 'stealing' the ancient recipe and making money from a Chinese invention" (pg. 76).