It is hard to pinpoint an exact time of the first appearance of beer, but the earliest proof that we found was in what we call now Iran, 3400 B.C. Now this is proof that people like drinking from the beginning of times.
The popularity of alcoholic drinks was driven by the uncertain quality of the water supply. Although people didn’t understand the science, there was a clear indication that drinking water increased the likelihood of contracting diseases like cholera.
You are asking what made beer so popular and easy to obtain? The answer will surprise you. About beer and churches, two things that are not going together in our times, but were in hand in hand in the early stages of history. Because churches and monasteries were a bog source of labour, they were popular in having and making their own products as well.
It may be a surprise, but the coming of Christianity saw a tremendous increase in the brewing of beer, largely because monks played such a role in its production.
In the beginning monks were providing water, shelter and food to the travellers that were stopping in their vicinity. Because of the water supplies back then, the monasteries were brewing their own beer. A lot of people were calling this a “liquid sandwich”. The practice evolved and the monks eventually began to sell the beer in what were rather like medieval pubs.
From there, more changes happened from the beer produced then to what we are drinking now. Nothing happens out of nowhere and at a fast forward speed, but all in good time, beer slowly becomes science, more than art. Many of these ancient beers were flavoured with unusual additives such as mandrake, dates and olive oil.
Nowadays, small breweries are repairing, making a fuss over the mass produced ones.
The way to make the beer was different from empire to empire, era to era and so on. The Egyptians were one of the biggest consumers of this drink. In this empire, beer was also a way of paying the workers. In those times, everybody was drinking it, even children, and to be honest it was better than dying from some stomach illness because of the bacteria that the water had.
In conclusion, beer has been with us for a long time. Since the humans changed from the hunting and gathering to cultivating and growing together in one place. It went through a lot of processes to become what we are calling now “a beer” and it will evolve even more.