Brewing the Silk Road: Experimental Fermentations in Ancient Chinese Koji Beer and Mongolian Fermented Milk

While most histories of fermentation in Asia focus on non-alcoholic food products (tofu, soy sauce, etc), Central and East Asia have a thriving history of alcoholic fermentation and drinking culture. Beer archaeologist Lucas Livingston leads a lively presentation exploring the history of brewing and drinking culture in China and Central Asia from the dawn of civilization through the heyday of the famed Silk Road. Learn how to homebrew these ancient beverages, including 3,500 year old Chinese millet & rice beer, Genghis Khan’s fermented milk, and ancient Anatolian oenobeer.

About the Speaker

Lucas Livingston serves on the Chicago Brewseum Board of Directors and is the creator and host of the Ancient Art Podcast at During his two-decade tenure as an art historian, lecturer, and director of lifelong learning with the Art Institute of Chicago, his passion for antiquity thrust him down the rabbit hole of experimental homebrewing and beer archaeology. He has spoken and published on beer history for many world-renowned cultural organizations and universities.

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