The ruler of Babylon, Hammurabi, who annexed Mesopotamia and the country of Assyrians, introduced the strictest law on beer consumption along with other laws. The Babylonians observed the purity of beer with great austerity.
"The Stone Monument” - the tractate, which was discovered in Suz, in 1903, on the present territory of Iraq, and which is kept in the Louver at present, tells us an incredible story.
The inscription made in one of the most ancient written languages – cuneiform, says that an indecent brewer, who would add water to the beer, would be punished most strictly: he would either be drowned in the barrel with the beer brewed by herself, or would be made to drink beer of his own make until the death came.
Such cruel methods of punishment were also extended to those sellers, who increased the price of the drink enormously. The oldest collected works, called Hamurrabi Code of Laws, was created 1700 years earlier B.C.
The pub owner, who would admit having political debates in his pub, would also be sentenced to death. From Hammurabi Code of Laws we can also learn, that all medicines were taken with beer.
Archaeologists think that beer was the most popular drink in ancient Babylon 6000-8000 years ago. The Babylonians used to crush barley and maize grain with stone, pour water, add some aromatic herbs and in a few days, a pleasant, invigorating drink would be ready.In an independent principality of Ur, in Mesopotamia, beer was made professionally for sale. It was produced in such quantities, that almost half of all the grain-crops were processed into malt. Hop was not used then.
We can assume, that the beer made by the Babylonians and Sumerians was of sweetish taste, without the bitterness, known to us, that comes from hop.On bas-relieves of the oldest burial places are still maintained the scenes of traditional rituals connected with beer. These pictures depict the priest sacrificing beer to the god. The priests spread the myths about the unique curative qualities of beer.The first brewers were not the priests, but women- housewives. Since they found out that beer making was a profitable business, and as men were mostly involved in trade, beer making and its selling became men’s domain entirely.
There are places discovered in Mesopotamia, near the city fortress wall, where people used to gather to drink beer. Traditionally, they were close to one of the breweries. In many places, they poured beer in solid vessels and then buried them deep in the ground, this way the drink got cooled easily and maintained its taste longer. As it seems, in those times people drank beer in a reclined position. The owners of the breweries often represented one of the oldest professions, and were considered the priests of the goddess Ishtar.