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Ancient Chinese Alcohols Inspire New Beer at Chicago's Field Museum

Chicago's Field Museum has bottled the beer in collaboration with Off Color Brewing.

Crossing cultures and centuries to recreate flavors from ancient Chinese alcohols was a challenge for Off Color Brewing. While sourcing ingredients Laffler found that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deemed some of the ingredients and flavorings necessary for brewing the alcohols are not currently legal.The end result of the Off Color brewing process is a modern recreation of Chang and a stronger, drier herbal version of Li, a low alcohol rice or millet-based beer with a flavor profile of peaches and lemon rind with aromas of tea, bubblegum, and sake followed by a complex fruit, herbal, and floral character. The finish, as the alcohol evaporates off the tongue, leaves hints of nectar, honey, and perfumed rice. [Xinhua]

Last year, museum researchers used findings from an archeological dig in Peru to help Off Color make “Wari,” a pink-hued concoction inspired by the kind of brew you might find during the reign of the Wari Empire from 600 to 1,000 AD. This time around, the science and brewing collaborators looked even further back into history, utilizing discoveries uncovered in Chinese artifacts excavated at digs in Taixi and a Changzikou tomb that were from the Late Shang/Western Zhou Dynasties (c.1600 and 722 BCE). The resulting beer, “QingMing,” was unveiled during an event at the museum earlier this month. [Food & Wine]

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