There were wheat, barley, pulses [i.e. legumes], and barleywine in the mixing bowl and grainy things [floating] at the brim. Straight straws, some bigger and some smaller, were placed inside. When thirsty, one puts it [the straw] in the mouth and sucks. If someone did not pour water over it, it is thoroughly undiluted [very strong], but very pleasant to one who has acquired the taste.
Despite the Greeks’ propensity for well-kicking and ass-kicking the Persians, they were not altogether opposed to working with their one-time enemies. Several thousand Greeks were hired by the Persian Cyrus the Younger to help him seize his brother’s kingship, Game of Thrones-style. When Cyrus died in battle, the Greeks abandoned the mission and fought their way home via the Black Sea.
In this text, Xenophon and his troops are quartering (or, “drachma”-ing, as the Greeks might say) at an Armenian village after a snow storm and long march. These ancestors-of-the-Kardashians lived underground and they drank quite a lot. They also lived with their animals. Sounds like a reality show.
Will chickpeas be the newest, popular adjunct? Or, will straws be the hottest beer accessory since the koozy? One thing is clear: Armenia is the hipster Belgium. They made beer before it was cool (and delicious). I offer a vigorous high-five to the first homebrewer who can recreate and send in this recipe. Remember to include the floaty bits!
Xenophon (ca. 430-354 BCE)
Xenophon, student of Socrates (most famous quote: “all we are, is dust in the wind”). OG 1%er. The dude loved the rich (“oligarchy”) and the Spartans.
Recreating Xenophon’s Armenian Beer
Germinating and Drying
Brew Day (All Lentil Beer and Pseudo-Xenophon)
Fermenting and Tasting
Part 2: Grains/Pulses remaining in the Brew
Part 2: Fermentation and Tasting
Part 3: Spontaneous Fermentation (Brew Day)
A New Fermentation Technique?
Spontaneous Fermentation Check-in (3 weeks)
Xenophon. Source: Bibliothek des allgemeinen und praktischen Wissens. Bd. 5″ (1905), Abriß der Weltliteratur, Seite 46/Public Domain.