What is the malted liquor,
what makes you drunker quicker
what comes in bottles or in cans?
In addition to being delicious, beer is ubiquitous. There is evidence of beer production almost as old as grain cultivation in the Middle East and in China. Beer-like beverages were made from any grain available; wheat and barley in the Middle East and Europe, rice in China, and maize in Pre-Colombian America. Other alcoholic beverages, such as wine and mead have origins almost as early, although more restricted in range.
One reason for the widespread success of beer is that drinking water has been generally unsafe for much of human history. The alcoholic content of beer, wine, or mead make it less prone to spoilage; therefore preserving it for long trips. Beers moderate alcohol content combines with its preservation to make it suitable for drinking every day. Studies have even found a negligible difference between hydration with water and a beverage with 2% alcohol (Medieval beers were probably pretty weak).
But what if the microbes that produced alcohol from sugars didn't exist? What else could humanity drink instead of beer?
- Alcoholic beverages do not exist. However, microbes that do some other reaction are acceptable.
- Just as beer can be made in almost any part of the world, the replacement beverage must be easily producible worldwide, with Neolithic technology.
- Just as beer resists spoilage, the replacement beverage must have some sort of chemical makeup that keeps it germ-free relative to pure water.
- Just like beer, it must be palatable to humans. Acquired tastes will make it delicious.