Close Menu

Archival Brewing recreates ‘extinct beer’ from archaeological dig

Michigan’s Archival Brewing is following an ancient technique to recreate a beer it hopes to bring back from the past.

The beer will be made using amphoras — 4-inch thick terracotta pots — known to be one of the oldest-known fermentation and shipping vessels for wine and beer dating back to the Neolithic era.

According to local reports, the brewery owner Levi Knoll and lead brewer Jake Steele have been looking at ways to use three amphoras that Knoll bought when the brewery opened in 2021.

The 800-litre amphoras are currently ageing the brewery’s Scottish heather ale, named Take it to the Grave, which has been fermenting since early February.

The recipe, which Knoll said people long-thought to be extinct, has been recreated by experts who analysed scrapings from clay vessels found during Scottish archaeological digs.

The recipe dates back to the Picts who were were says to be an ancient tribe who lived in the Scottish Highlands and according to Scottish folklore, were the keepers of the heather ale recipe.

According to legend, in the fourth century, a Scottish king wiped out the Picts, except for one family who held onto the “secret recipe” and refused to give it up, hence the name for the beer being “Take it to the Grave”.

Knoll also added that although amphoras are more commonly used to age wine nowadays, only a handful of breweries across the US are currently using them.

Knoll added: “It is similar to ageing the beer in wood (barrels), but won’t impart that wood flavour, but more of the earthy mineral flavors into the beer, which is what our goal is – to be reminiscent and be as close to possible of this beer style from history.”

Archival Brewing has said that its Take it to the Grave beer is expected to debut this spring.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No