Brewing House and Breweries

Brewing House

At a site called Eberdingen-Hochdorf in southwest Germany, archeologists excavated the remains of brewery dated to between 600 and 400 BC. The findings included unusually well-preserved grains of partially germinated barley, indicating that malting activities had taken place there.   At this site, slow fires were used to dry the malt after germination. Other ancient methods of drying malt include sun-drying (possible only in hot, dry climates) and laying malted grain on hot stones.


In the eighth and ninth centuries A.D., monasteries in Europe emerged as the first large scale brewers. It was only in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries that brewing developed as commercial venture.   Both monastic and commercial brewers were taxed on their production. This tax was largely based on the state control of gruit, a flavoring agent probably composed of a mixture of dried herbs, including wild rosemary and bog myrtle (Mirica gale). It was not until around 1300 that beer flavored with hops (which also served to better preserve the beer) was imported in large quantities from Hamburg.

A sketch of a grain barn, with parts labeled: threshing/malting floor, storage area, winnowing area, etc.
Plan of Grain Barn

Dineley, Merryn. Barley, Malt and Ale in the Neolithic, (BAR International Series no. 1213), British Archaeological Reports: Oxford, 2004. Crerar TP521.D564 2004

A rough sketch of two figures stirring a large vat.
Sketch of Beer Brewing

Unger, Richard W. A History of Brewing in Holland, 900-1900, Brill: Leiden, 2001. Crerar and Regenstein TP573.N4 U54 2001.