“I will summon brewers and cupbearers
To serve us floods of beer and keep it passing round!
What pleasure! What delight!
Blissfully to take it in,
To sing jubilantly of this noble liquor,
Our hearts enchanted and our souls radiant!”
— Sumerian drinking song
On evening of Thursday, October 8th, the Akron-Kent Society of the AIA held its not-quite-annual fundraiser. Our theme this year was “A Sumerian Beer Feast” and the feast capped off a week of beer-related activities including Dr. Christine Hastorf’s lecture on the archaeology of beer and a tour and tasting at the Thirsty Dog Brewery discussed in earlier posts.
The Sumerian Beer Feast program included wonderful musical entertainment by harpist Francesca Indorf (below, left) of the Watercolors Trio, a dramatic modern rendition of a segment of the ancient Gilgamesh Epic by Justin Hale (below, right) of the New World Performance Laboratory, and a brief presentation on the importance of food, feasting, and beer globally by Dr. Isa Rodriguez-Soto of the UA Department of Anthropology and Classical Studies.
The food for the feast was prepared by UA student chefs under the watchful eye of their mentor Ken Diederich. The menu was fantastic and everyone ate their share of the expertly-prepared dishes inspired by ancient ingredients and recipes. The fare included an ancient grain salad with barley, bulgar, and lentils, a lamb and carob stew, pigeon with herbs, roasted root vegetables, barley porridge, fruits and cheese. We were all happy Sumerians after that feast!
In order to celebrate in appropriate style, we had two beers on tap for the evening, one was a pre-Prohibition style beer and the other was a Mayan beer, both from the Thirsty Dog Brewery in Akron. While we didn’t follow any ancient recipe in preparing the beer, we did attempt to get at the communal nature of drinking the beer. Guests were offered the chance to drink their beer from shared Sumerian-inspired beer-pots made by KSU graduate student Michelle Bebber employing copper straws, in the ancient fashion. The beer drinking sets were then auctioned off as part of the fundraiser — a few lucky people went home with a truly unique gift.
In the end, we raised enough funds to cover our program costs for the year and a good time was had by all. Many thanks to those who volunteered their time and energy and helped in putting together the Sumerian Beer Feast and making it memorable. Also thanks to Klansee Stevens for the photographs shown here of our successful fundraiser.