An ancient Chinese beer recipe brewed 5,000 years ago calls for some unusual ingredients by today's standards: barley, broomcorn millets and Job’s tears, as well as bits of bulbous root vegetables such as snake gourd root, yam and lily.
US and Chinese researchers say they found traces of barley, millet, grain, and tubers used in fermentation. It was found on pottery discovered in Shaanxi province in northern China during an archaeological dig 10 years ago. The Yangshao people, who inhabited northeastern China, made their beer by following a complicated fermenting process of malting and mashing together starchy plants, not unlike today's methods. They added tubers — the snake gourd, yam and lily — to sweeten the concoction.
Researchers at Stanford University were able to piece together the formula for Neolithic beer by analyzing a yellowish residue found on the remains of various clay funnels, wide-mouthed pots and jars discovered at a Yangshao site, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.