Tuesday Beer Trivia: Historic Beverages & Unusual Ingredients

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Test your knowledge on some of the oldest ingredients used in fermentation in this week’s Tuesday Beer Trivia quiz.

People have been figuring out ways to ferment plants, fruits, and vegetables native to their geographical areas for thousands of years. Test your knowledge on some of the oldest methods in this week’s trivia.

After you take the Beer Trivia quiz below, scroll down to the “Beer Trivia Answer Explanations” section to learn more about unusual ingredients.

Beer Trivia Answer Explanations

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The following explanations were taken from Pallet magazine.

Question 1: 

In the wild, rats and parakeets pick up the seeds and disperse them from the mother plant. But if there are people around—particularly the Pehuenche people, who inhabit the tree’s native region in the Andes—the seeds were collected to make a ceremonial alcoholic drink called mundai. To make it, the seeds are boiled and allowed to ferment naturally for a few days. To speed up fermentation, they can be chewed up and spit back into the mixture, which adds enzymes to break down the starches.

Question 2: 

After stomping the ripe bananas, Ugandans would filter the juice through grass and leave it to ferment in a gourd, to which sorghum flour may be added. After a couple of days, the sweet and sour banana beer is ready to drink. It can be bottled and stored for two to three days at most due to the volatile nature of the bananas. While Ugandan beer is usually a homemade affair, brewers like Wells & Young Brewing Company in the UK make their own commercial version of the banana beer.

Question 3: 

Also called “wine bamboo,” this fast growing member of the grass family is used for fencing, basketry, tools, erosion control, and booze. In Tanzania, the young shoots are bashed twice a week so that sap can flow. It ferments naturally in a matter of hours. Women of Tanzania sell ulanzi in their villages by the liter during rainy season, the only time during which the bamboo is harvested.

Question 4: 

Sweet potatoes. One of the earliest alcoholic beverages made with sweet potatoes was “mobbie” (or “small beer”) made in Barbados as early as 1652. The best known sweet potato spirit is the Japanese shochu , a distilled beverage of up to 35% alcohol that can be made from sweet potatoes, rice, buckwheat, and other ingredients.

Question 5: 

The strawberry tree is a type of madrone, one of the 14 species found throughout Europe and North America. Most madrones are small, beautiful trees with glossy, narrow leaves and reddish, peeling bark. None of them produce particularly tasty fruit even though they are related to the huckleberry, blueberry, and cranberry.