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A Brewery Recreated 2,000-Year-Old 'Biblical Beer'

Israel’s smallest brewery took wheat that was the same strain used for beer in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago and produced five gallons of “Biblical Beer.”
Photo via Flickr user Mark Seton

We've heard about some seriously aged wine, but this is ridiculous.

Herzl Beer, a brewery in Jerusalem, has created a craft beer that it says dates back to the time of Jesus. Or at least it tastes just like beer from that era. Don't get too excited, though: The brewers drank up the whole line and don't plan to make any more.

Israel's smallest brewery took wheat that was the same strain used for beer in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago and produced five gallons of "Biblical Beer." Tel Aviv University geneticists have confirmed the strain's provenance; in fact, 11 pounds of grain were donated by the University.

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Itai Gutman, the owner of Herzl Beer, told The Jerusalem Post, "I found this article about these guys at the Tel Aviv University that made the genome of the model of wheat, the same grain I used and just made a light bulb light up and I just contacted them and within a few days I had several kilograms of this material, we just started to process and eventually is this beer that we're drinking."

READ MORE: How Beer Made from Leftover Bread Could Help End Global Food Waste

What does the Bible-era beer taste like? Maybe not what you'd expect. Reuters reports that there's a hint of honey and berries in the cloudy—and flat—nectar. Hmmmm. At 3 percent alcohol, the stuff was nevertheless easy to drink. Gutman drank the results of the experiment—which took six months in all—with a bunch of friends.

"We were curious about being able to come up with the first 'biblical' beer," he says. Nevertheless, he's pretty certain that, "It's really not the kind of flavor that has a market." We're not sure that's a stunning endorsement, but taste was never the go-to for this particular beer. Instead, the brew was meant to evoke something that might have actually touched the lips of the Son of God himself.

But wait: Did Jesus actually drink beer? Experts from the Jewish Museum in Munich say he probably did. Even though beer is not all over the Bible—as wine is—beer was in fact brought over from Egypt by the ancient Israelites.

So, the new WWJD? It's not "What would Jesus do?" but "What would Jesus drink?"

Time to order new bumper stickers.