Field Museum's Wari Ale the latest homage to ancient brews

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Brewers in the recent craft-beer booms have turned to ancient civilizations' obscure, millennia-old recipes to set themselves apart.

The vast majority of modern beer is brewed primarily with barley, hops and yeast, but in the realm of antiquity-inspired beer, corn, rice, peppers and berries are fair game.

The latest homage was issued by the Field Museum in Chicago and was more than a decade in the making.

University of South Dakota anthropology professor Matthew Sayre unearthed pepper tree seed in southern Peru in 2002, but was unaware he'd stumbled upon a spent ingredient from a small 1,000-year-old brewery.

That discovery eventually became Wari Ale, inspired by the ingredients and brewing practices of the Wari people.

Other U.S. breweries, like Delaware's Dogfish Head, have been brewing with ancient grains for years.