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28 June 2008
Archaeologists to demonstrate ancient brewing

Last summer two Irish archaeologists proposed a theory which made worldwide headlines. They suggested that one of the most common archaeological monuments in the Irish landscape may have been used for brewing a Bronze Age Beer. They will demonstrate and discuss their experiments and research (and distribute tasters of the brew) into the enigmatic site that is the fulacht fiadh at the World Archaeological Congress 'Fringe' at UCD on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th July.
     Billy Quinn and Declan Moore, two archaeologists with Moore Archaeological & Environmental Services (Moore Group) in Galway, believe that an extensive brewing tradition existed in Ireland as far back as 2500 BCE. These ubiquitous monuments, which are visible in the landscape as small, horseshoe-shaped grass-covered mounds, have been conventionally thought of by archaeologists as ancient cooking spots, saunas or industrial sites. However, Quinn and Moore believe that they may have also been used as breweries.
     According to Quinn "The tradition of brewing in Ireland has a long history, we think that the fulacht may have been used as a kitchen sink, for cooking, dying, many uses, but that a primary use was the brewing of ale." To prove their theory, Quinn & Moore set out to recreate the process. They used an old wooden trough filled with water and added heated stones. After achieving an optimum temperature of 60-70C they began to add milled barley and after approx 45 minutes simply baled the final product into fermentation vessels. They added natural wild flavourings and then added yeast after cooling the vessels in a bath of cold water for several hours. Through their experiments, they discovered that the process of brewing ale in a fulacht using hot rock technology is a simple process. To produce the ale took only a few hours, followed by a few-days wait to allow for fermentation.
     For additional information on ancient Irish beer, contact Declan or Billy or visit www.mooregroup.ie/beer/index.html or Moore Group's blog at mooregroup.wordpress.com/.

>Source: PR Inside (27 June 2008)

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