Jerusalem craft brewery recreates Jesus-era ‘biblical beer’

A Jerusalem craft brewery has created a "biblical beer" with the same ingredients used to make beer in the time of Jesus. (Illustrative photo.) Credit: Quinn Dombrowski via

Beer is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages, and a common drink consumed by people throughout history. In biblical times, although wine was considered a sacred drink in Judaism and Christianity, beer was also frequently consumed.

Modern beer, however, is not necessarily the same as ancient beer. So what did beer actually taste like in biblical times?

One Jerusalem-based craft brewery, in collaboration with Tel Aviv University, has decided to find out by producing a beer that presumably closely resembles the taste of the beer imbibed in the Holy Land during the era of Jesus.

According to university geneticists, Herzl Brewery's concoction uses a strain of wheat used in the region 2,000 years ago. The brewery produced five gallons of this "biblical beer" from 11 pounds of grain donated by the university, mixed with the other typical beer ingredients of hops, yeast, and water. The result is a flavor melange of berries and honey, with 3 percent alcohol content. (That's relatively low alcohol content, so perhaps the drinkers of yore strove not to get too drunk.)

"We were curious about being able to come up with the first 'biblical' beer," Herzl Brewery owner Itai Gutman told Reuters. "It's really not the kind of flavor that has a market."

Well, there certainly won't be a "biblical beer" market this month for those who strictly observe Passover's kosher laws. Instead, there happens to be a gluten-free beer option that might indeed pass muster for kosher-for-Passover drinkers, the Times of Israel reports here.



Posted on April 19, 2016 .