This is a great question!!! I can't wait to see what people turn up. I was thinking about this recently as I was reading through a book I was given entitled "How to make fine wines and beers at home for less than 10 cents per gallon", copywrited 1968... (don't have the author's name in memory, but I'll post when I get home).
It is really fascinating. He describes many different kinds of beer. In many cases he talks about the addition of grapes (or rather grape juice) to the wort for makeing beer. I was wondering how accurate it was.
In another case he describes "the finest beer in the world" as a Imperial Vienna (or something like that) where they add fresh concord grape juice to the beer just before serving...
Another interesting "fact" in the book is that Canada prohibited the sale of any American beer, due to the poor quality... I suspected this was an economic issue rather than a quality issue, if it were true... I found this document supporting the fact that American beer was effectively prohibited in Canada... http://www.dfait.gc.ca/department/hi...?intRefid=4770
He also talks about the lasting effects of prohibition on American Beer (i. e. breweries felt compelled to keep beer "light" so as not to reinvigorate the temperance movement again).
Anyway, the book got me to thinking... when did beer start, and how has it evolved?
I've read about early brewers (I think I even read a handwritten brewing recipe/ instructions from either Ben Franklin or George Washington)... a quick jaunt on the information superhighway led me to this:
About half=way down the page is "George's recipe":
To Make Small Beer:
Take a large siffer full of bran hops to your taste-boil these 3 hours. Then strain our 30 gall[o]n into a cooler put in 3 gall[o]n molasses while the beer is scalding hot or rather draw the molasses into the cooler. Strain the beer on it while boiling hot, let this stand till it is little more than blood warm. Then put in a quart of ye[a]st if the weather is very cold cover it over with a blank[et] let it work in the cask-Leave the bung open till it is almost done working-Bottle it that day week it was brewed.”
I wonder what a "cooler" was to him?