Roald Hoffmann, host
Chateau Jiahu, Vintage 7000 BC
This evening, you will have the chance to taste Chateau Jiahu, the most ancient, chemically-attested alcoholic beverage in the world, dating back to about 7000 B.C. It is a mixed fermented beverage of malted rice, wild-flower honey, and white grapes, fermented on a sake yeast with hawthorn berries. Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum�s Biomolecular Archaeology laboratory will discuss how his lab and colleagues resurrected ancient Chinese and Near Eastern beverages.
Darrin Siegfried, wine expert and restaurateur, former Sommelier Society of America President, will comment on the qualities of the new old wines, and lead the tasting. Music will be provided by Katie Down, playing water � whoops, wine � glasses. And choreographer and dancer Rachel Cohen will invest the peaceful glade of the Cornelia Street Caf� with her troupe of possessed women. Any bulls nearby may be sacrificed, for this night Dionysus rules!
Usually Entertaining Science has just one show. This time, by popular demand, there will be two shows, at 6 PM and at 8: 30PM. When you call the caf� for a reservation, please specify the show.
We append a joint communique from Patrick McGovern and Dogfish Head, the great Delaware brewery, whose master brewers were responsible for reconstructing this ancient recipe:
9000 years old, Chateau Jiahu stands apart as the most ancient, chemically-attested alcoholic beverage in the world. The pottery vessels that held the chemical clues were painstakingly excavated inside tombs and houses by Chinese archaeologists at the early Neolithic site of Jiahu in the Yellow River Basin. Some tombs also yielded flutes made from the forelimbs of the revered red-crowned crane--among the oldest known playable musical insttruments ever discovered. The re-creation of this historic beverage is based on state-of-the-art microanalysis of pottery residues by laboratories at the University of Pennsylvania Museum and elsewhere. The modern "Neolithic-inspired" interpretation was brewed by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Delaware.
�It�s pretty amazing to consider that the birth of this 'beer' pretty much coincided with the birth of complex societies�, says Dogfish Head President Sam Calagione. �It was about 10,000 years ago that humans transitioned from hunter-gatherer nomads to settled, crop-harvesting communities. I�m sure beverages like Chateau Jiahu helped convince our ancestors that the reward of growing crops like rice and barley was worth the wait.�
In keeping with the ancient organic evidence Chateau Jiahu is brewed with malted rice, white grapes, wildflower amber honey, and fermented on a sake yeast with hawthorn berries. The result is a refreshing, dry, and fruity nectar unlike anything the world has seen�at least in ninety-or-so centuries. Melding the flavors and aromatic nuances of ale, mead, cider, and sake to 9% alc. by vol. this hybrid beverage pairs perfectly with spicy Asian and South-American cuisines, curries, and BBQ.
Tonight will be its first tasting. Later this year it will be loosed on the general public in champagne bottles.
Added by this is emily on October 10, 2006