Brewing has been a human activity ever since the beginning of urbanization and civilization in the Neolithic period. Beer is a product valued by its physico-chemical properties (i.e. quality) as much as by its entanglement with religious, culinary and ethnic distinctiveness (i.e. tradition). Accordingly, the history of beer brewing is not only one of scientific and technological advancement, but also the tale of people themselves: their governance, their economy, their rites and their daily life. It encompasses grain markets as well as alchemy.
~ Franz G. Meussdoerffer, A Comprehensive History of Beer Brewing