Beer is sacred. It’s been central to social and spiritual celebrations for millennia. Some historians even attribute beer to the basis of civilization.
Much of what we know about beer’s ancient history traces back to the Hymn to Ninkasi, a 5,000-year-old ode to brewing etched into clay tablets found in modern-day Iraq.
The Hymn to Ninkasi dates back to the 18th century B.C. As legend has it, the hymn links two Sumerian drinking songs that describe the process of making beer and praise Ninkasi for bringing a “blissful mood” and “happy liver” to the Sumerian people.
Of course, historically-inclined beer nerds will have already heard of Ninkasi, the ancient Sumerian goddess of beer. After all, there’s a brewery named after her, Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene, Ore.; a famous portrait of her hangs in Founders Brewing; and countless interpretations of her image exist in breweries and beer stores across the country.
Ninkasi is not only the goddess of beer and brewing, but of fertility, harvest, drunkenness, seduction, and war. The mother of all creation, she brought life, grain, and beer to Earth, and more beer to the heavens. Here, we’ve illustrated her legacy with a printable infographic.