Sep 26, 2023

Czech Scientists Use Pollen to Make ‘Celtic’ Beer

Veronica Vedernikova

Veronica Vedernikova

A small brewery has worked with Czech scientists to make the country’s first ‘Celtic beer’ in order to recreate the taste of an ancient alcoholic brew.

The beer, called TauriALE, was created through the laboratory analysis of pollen taken from an early Celtic burial site in Moravia.

Scientists from Charles University in Prague and Palacký University in Olomouc had made excavations at an archaeological site dating back to the early Iron Age, and were able to extract pollen.

The Brno Botanical Institute then analysed the pollen and revealed traces of millet and herbs, which were commonly used by Celts to brew beer.

Zuzana Golec-Mírová told the publication that prehistoric beer had ingredients for taste and preservations, and there was meadowsweet, sage, mugwort and other ingredients to make the sour bitter taste of beer.

She said that the discovery of clover though was “unexpected” as that wasn’t usually in beer, but the scientists believe that it was found in honey, which could have been used to sweeten the beer.

Golec-Mírová also said that the ingredients for brewing were placed into graves as burial gifts which was “quite usual” to equip the dead with such products, and to “have something to eat and drink in the afterlife”.

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The first brew of TauriALE was created with micro-brewery Lesia, enabling the flavours of the Celts to be tasted by consumers.

Archaeologist Martin Golec shows the first Celtic beer in the Czech Republic, newly produced based on pollen samples taken from the burial site in the Býčí skála cave in the background.

She said: “It’s a little bit different from today’s beers because it is not based on hops.

“The herbs give it a bitter and sour flavour and the taste is similar to gruit, which is a type of hop-free beer.”

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