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Beer 101: A Primer and Tasting: Home

Beer is more popular than ever and the craft brew business is vibrant in the Hudson Valley.

Beer 101: Saturday, February 20

The Library District welcomes the CIA's spirits master Douglass Miller for a primer on beer.  What is beer?  What makes one beer different from another?  Why the interest in beer now?  Miller's presenation will be followed by some sampling of Hudson River Valley craft beers.  You must be 21 to sample and ID must be presented.

To register for the event, click here.

Beer Books at the Library

History of Beer (thank you Wikipedia!)

Beer is one of the oldest beverages humans have produced, dating back to at least the fifth millennium BC and recorded in the written history of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. As almost any cereal containing certain sugars can undergo spontaneous fermentation due to wild yeasts in the air, it is possible that beer-like beverages were independently developed throughout the world soon after a tribe or culture had domesticated cereal. Chemical tests of ancient pottery jars reveal that beer was produced as far back as about 7,000 years ago in what is today Iran. This discovery reveals one of the earliest known uses of fermentation and is the earliest evidence of brewing to date. In Mesopotamia, the oldest evidence of beer is believed to be a 6,000-year-old Sumerian tablet depicting people drinking a beverage through reed straws from a communal bowl. A 3900-year-old Sumerian poem honoring Ninkasi the patron goddess of brewing, contains the oldest surviving beer recipe, describing the production of beer from barley via bread.

The invention of bread and beer has been argued to be responsible for humanity's ability to develop technology and build civilization.  The earliest chemically confirmed barley beer to date was discovered at Godin Tepe in the central Zagros Mountains of Iran, where fragments of a jug, at least 5,000 years old was found to be coated with beerstone, a by-product of the brewing process.

Beer may have been known in Neolithic Europe as far back as 5,000 years ago, and was mainly brewed on a domestic scale.

Beer produced before the Industrial Revolution continued to be made and sold on a domestic scale, although by the 7th century AD beer was also being produced and sold by European monasteries. During the Industrial Revolution, the production of beer moved from artisanal manufacture to industrial manufacture, and domestic manufacture ceased to be significant by the end of the 19th century.  The development of hydrometers and thermometers changed brewing by allowing the brewer more control of the process, and greater knowledge of the results.

Today, the brewing industry is a global business, consisting of several dominant multinational companies and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brewpubs to regional breweries.  More than 35 billion gallons are sold per year producing total global revenues of $294.5 billion in 2006.

Douglass Miller

Professional Background:  Assistant Director of Food and Beverage, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Santa Barbara, CA. PM Manager, California Bistro, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Aviara, CA. Opening Room Service Manager, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, San Francisco, CA. Room Service Manager, Executive Steward, Assistant Restaurant Manager, Assistant Lobby Lounge Manager, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Las Vegas, NV. Assistant Bar Manager, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, NYC. Opening Manager, Closing Manager, Coco Pazzo Restaurant, Washington, DC. Assistant PM Restaurant Manager, Bristol Grill; Banquet Manager; Wyndham Bristol Hotel, Washington, DC.

Awards:  CIA Faculty Member of the Year, 2014. Second place, United States Bartender's Guild—New York Chapter and Four Roses Bourbon Drink Challenge, 2013.

Member:  United States Bartenders' Guild, Certified Spirits Professional.

Librarian