“It virtually sealed everything in, there was no oxygen getting in and it was completely intact,” Mike Nash, a marine archaeologist who salvaged the wreck, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
David Thurrowgood, a chemist-turned-conservator, came across the beer bottles salvaged from the wreck nearly two years ago in storage at a Tasmanian museum, and wondered if the centuries-old liquid could still contain real yeast.
“At that point I was getting really excited,” Mr Thurrowgood told ABC. “That gave us a chance to possibly have access to the oldest beer in the world. I thought we might be able to culture that yeast and recreate beer that hasn’t been on the planet for 220 years.”
The vessels, in various forms which suggests they had different uses in the production of the beer, date to a Neolithic period of Chinese history and a culture known as ‘Yangshao’, which existed in the area around the Yellow River in the modern provinces of Shaanxi, Henan and Shanxi.The discovery is the first known evidence of beer production in China and is also the earliest-known evidence of barley use, which also means the crop appeared in the area 1,000 years earlier than previous estimates had placed it.
So now for the $125 question: what does it taste like? The head distiller calls out “light floral notes, little honeysuckle, citrus, almost like an Asian pear.” It reminded me a little bit of sherry on first sip. Later, in martini form, it most poignantly recalled how glasses filled with well-made 80-proof liquor tend to make you tipsy before you know it.
Quote of the century – “In my forties, I turned to wine with a passion,” he continues. “I tested 34 Côtes du Rhones in search of a house wine I could afford … I could have become a wine snob, but didn’t. The escape was narrow, but my salvation was several near-bankruptcies …. I will not be stopping on the way home from the office for one of the syrupy California ‘cabs’ so favored by nitwits …. Money can distort the buying and drinking of wine just as it distorts art in the gallery and auction businesses.”
Sam Cullen, 28, set out on his mission to visit one pub at all 270 underground stations in March 2013, starting at The Fountains Abbey at Paddington Station. This is where the first train on what is now the London Underground departed on 9 January 1863.
What is natural wine?One of the challenges for natural wine has been the lack of a universally accepted definition. There are lots of opinions on the subject but most would agree that natural wine starts with sustainable viticulture – usually based on organic or biodynamic principles, with a focus on biodiversity – and minimal intervention in the winery. Most avoid the rectification of sugars or acidity, eschew cultivated yeasts and use little to no sulphur dioxide.