Who was the first person in the world to get legless on alcohol? And how did he or she first get his or her hands upon the demon booze? Eve, we know, was the first person to eat an apple, and Adam, her husband, was the second. But alcohol, unlike apples, does not grow on trees, or not in a handy form. The fermentation of fruit in to alcohol occurs abundantly in nature. Fruit which is not consumed when it is ripe is attacked by yeast, one of nature's cleaners and recyclers. The yeast digests and decomposes the fruit to return it to the system from which it came, along the way producing two by-products: alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. Left to themselves, both will disappear in to the wide blue yonder. Someone somewhere thousands of years ago picked a load of fruit when it was abundant and stored it in a fired clay vessel for consumption later in leaner times. But we can only imagine his or her dismay when it was later discovered that the precious hoard of fruit had decomposed in to a sweet smelling mush. Then, temped by the smell, some of the juice was sipped and found to be equally pleasant. And, to top it off, it was also found to be intoxicating. By the time that he or she staggered out of the cave, the disappointment about the spoiled fruit was long forgotten. News of the discovery rapidly spread, and before long people all over the world were brewing wines, beers and what have you using local ingredients.
Brewing your own booze may or may not be cheaper than buying it in ready made, and it is certainly time consuming and prone to pitfalls, but doing it yourself, like chopping your own wood, growing your own fruit, vegetables and tobacco, or making your own crystal set, is immensely rewarding. It satisfies the survival instinct. Finally, brewing it yourself also makes you the master of your own destiny, so give it a try.
Beer barrels photo credit: © Henna / Wikimedia Commons